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Tips for Online Team Building Bingo

Tom Wright  •  Updated Dec 12, 2021

Looking for a morale-boosting activity for your next virtual meeting? Online team building bingo is an excellent choice.

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Looking for a morale-boosting activity for your next virtual meeting? Online team building bingo is an excellent choice.

Bingo is simple, it’s randomized, and almost everyone already knows how to play. It’s also an easy game to play in teams, enhancing the team building effects even further. When it comes to choosing online team building games, bingo is an obvious contender.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of running a successful online team building bingo game—including essential supplies, potential topics, step-by-step gameplay, and prizes—and explain why bingo should be at the top of your list of virtual team building activities.

If your monthly staff meeting needs some pep in its step, a quick round of bingo is sure to please!

How Do You Play Team Building Bingo Online?

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Online team building games can sound intimidating, but running a virtual game isn’t as hard as it sounds. Let’s explore everything you’ll need for your next rollicking bingo game.

Online Team Building Bingo Essentials

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Luckily, bingo doesn’t require many specialized materials, even if the game is virtual. With the following checklist, you’ll have everything you need to make your next bingo game a success:

  • Bingo cards
    • A standard bingo card has the word “BINGO” at the top with five squares under each letter.
    • Most standard bingo cards have a Free Space in the center square.
    • The bingo cards should be randomized, and different cards should have different items inside the squares (more on that later).
    • For virtual bingo, simply create a PDF of each bingo card and send it to each employee to use during the meeting.
  • Bingo chips
    • In physical bingo, players mark the squares that have been called aloud with chips, tokens, or coins.
    • In virtual bingo, you can create a PDF stamp for your players to use or teach them how to use a document drawing tool.
  • A clue randomizer
    • Physical bingo games use specialized ball spinners with a hand crank.
    • During your online team building bingo game, the game master can use a computer-based randomizer tool (like random.org) or a physical drawing tool, like slips of paper in a hat.
  • Prizes
    • Think of a few simple prizes to give away for first, second, and third place winners. We’ll discuss prizes in more detail below.

With all of the following supplies, your online team building game is sure to be a hit.

What Should Be in the Squares?

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When creating your randomized bingo cards, you have a few options for what to put inside the squares. Let’s explore some:

  • Standard bingo numbers
    • You can, of course, run a standard bingo game with normal cards and balls.
    • In this case, you should fill the 25 squares under “BINGO” with randomly-generated numbers.
    • Remember that the game master will have to randomize balls with both a letter (one of the letters in “BINGO”) and a number.
  • Company trivia
    • You can spice up a normal bingo game by filling the bingo card squares with company trivia.
    • If you take this route, your randomized “balls” won’t have to include letters. Simply create a bank of trivia questions and answers, and randomize the answers’ locations on each card. Make sure to create enough clues that the same answers won’t be on all of the cards.
    • Some sample trivia questions could be:
      • What year was the company founded?
      • How long has the company been on the Fortune 500 list?
      • Where was the company’s first office established?
      • How many company branches have office pets?
  • Employee trivia
    • Using fun facts about company employees (with their consent, of course) can help everyone get to know each other. A la “Two Truths and a Lie,” the employees will learn new things about one of their colleagues.
    • Like the company trivia option, your bingo “balls” won’t have to include letters. Simply scatter correct answers randomly around each bingo card and ensure that every card has slightly different answer options. You can even create clues with more than one correct answer!
    • Some sample employee trivia questions could be:
      • Which employee has a dog named Crepe?
      • Who has been on three Alaskan cruises?
      • Who at the company has the longest last name?
      • Which employee has worked at the most company locations?
  • Industry knowledge trivia
    • Use trivia questions pertaining to your industry to test employees’ knowledge and even tie in some professional development.
    • If you run an electrical engineering firm, for instance, you could use elements of your local building code, the completion years of past projects, or question banks from your licensing exam as clues.
    • If you choose to put employees into teams for gameplay, evenly balance the teams with seasoned experts and industry newcomers.

While these are only three options for the types of content you can include on your bingo cards, use your imagination to create a fun, engaging bingo game.

How to Run an Online Team Building Bingo Game

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Running a bingo game is pretty straightforward, but the rules will slightly change depending on the type of information you choose to include on your bingo card.

And, if you employ a large number of people, it might make more sense for your company to assemble teams. This could enhance the team building element of the game and give employees the chance to get to know one another better.

As always, in order to call “Bingo,” players must have one chip in every letter’s column, and those chips must form a straight or diagonal line.

But, the rules change slightly if you choose to incorporate trivia—company, employee, industry, or any other kind—into the bingo cards.

When an employee or their team calls “Bingo,” they’ll have to read their squares out loud to ensure that their answers to the trivia questions are correct. If the answers aren’t correct, the employee or team will be disqualified, and the game will continue until “Bingo” is called again, and all responses are correct.

Even if one employee or group calls “Bingo,” and all of their answers are correct, you can award second and third place prizes to the next two players or teams who call in with correct answers. Or, to keep the party going, you can run multiple games, each with its own sets of bingo cards.

Prizes

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One of the most important elements of any team building game is giving prizes to winning players or teams. Since bingo is a low-stakes game, you can keep the prizes low-key. Or, you can raise the stakes with more substantial prizes. Better yet, you could give out a grand prize for first place, a slightly smaller prize for second place, and a small prize for third place.

Let’s explore some prize ideas for future virtual team building activities:

  • Small prizes
    • Physical trinkets
      • Paperweights
      • Snow globes
      • Mugs
      • Branded pens
    • Free company apparel, like embroidered polos
    • “Lunch on the boss,” for one person, or a free lunch reimbursed by the company
  • Moderately sized prizes
    • A short period of paid time off—perhaps a day or two workdays
    • A new office desk chair
    • A pizza or ice cream party for the winning team’s office location
    • Two tickets to an upcoming sports game, entertainment event, or concert (be sure to stipulate a price limit)
  • Grand prizes
    • A few days of paid time off
    • A catered lunch from a restaurant local to the winning team’s office
    • A new piece of office furniture or a new computer
    • Gift cards in large denominations

There are countless options for bingo game prizes, but be sure to choose gifts with the appropriate magnitude: they should be significant enough to encourage friendly competition, but not expensive enough to blow your team building budget for the year.

Why is Bingo a Great Online Team Building Game?

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There are numerous ways to run a fun and unique online team building bingo game, but why host online team building games in the first place?

It Helps Players Get to Know Each Other

Games make excellent ice-breakers. Especially if you choose to group your employees into teams, players will get to know people with whom they’ve never spoken or with whom they only have an email relationship.

By giving your employees a chance to get to know each other, you provide future networking opportunities and foster relationships that strengthen your company. Strong teams, after all, are vital to a company’s success.

Plus, if you choose a moderately sized or sizeable grand prize for the first-place winner, you could offer further team building opportunities. Pizza parties, ice cream parties, or catered lunches are the perfect time for employees (especially recent hires) to join or create an office community.

Want to ensure that your players leave the meeting with a new fun fact about a colleague? Try employee trivia bingo. If you can collect especially unique trivia clues from your employees for use in the game, these can become future conversation starters long after the meeting ends.

Introducing players to each other and facilitating strong bonds between company employees encourages camaraderie and improves team dynamics across your entire staff.

Prizes Boost Morale

If employees attend a meeting and take time away from more critical tasks to engage with company leadership or news, they should be rewarded for their attendance.

While you should consider giving some sort of incentive to all attendees (such as a few hours of paid time off or a small one-time bonus), the promise of taking home a prize after winning a rollicking game of bingo will cheer up your employees, ignite their competitive spirit, and get them excited about the game.

If your company has multiple branches, offering a prize to an entire branch—like a pizza party, an ice cream social, or a catered lunch—is guaranteed to motivate every player and encourage them to cheer on colleagues at the same branch.

Even winning a small prize can boost morale. After winning a game or experiencing a success, the brain releases dopamine, which excites neurons in the reward network of the brain. Happiness is chemical, and with virtual team building activities, you can utilize basic brain chemistry to boost the mood of game-winners, potentially creating a ripple effect.

Ultimately, you want your next company meeting to begin and end with smiling attendees. By providing a prize, you can boost the mood of your entire team.

It Teaches Your Employees About Your Company

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How many of your employees could pass a basic pop quiz about your company’s history? If you don’t think many could, consider choosing company trivia for your next online team building bingo game.

By using company trivia as bingo clues, you reward knowledgeable employees while showing the uninitiated just how far the company has come. You can even include some innocuous trivia about the CEO or a few department heads to build their personas and improve employees’ perceptions.

Plus, by arming your employees with background knowledge of your company, you can trust them to represent the brand well at their next networking event, conference, or sales pitch. They’ll be more confident and empowered when asked questions about the company’s origins, and that’s good for the entire organization.

When you learn more about a company or develop more familiarity with its leadership, you form an emotional bond with it. These bonds result in improved worker morale, employee loyalty, and respect for the chain of command.

If your bingo game precedes a major announcement during a company meeting, consider theming your trivia clues.

For instance, if you plan on opening an office in a new location, use trivia clues that might give your employees an inkling of the big announcement. You’ll increase their investment in the announcement while educating them about one element of the company’s history.

Online Team Building Bingo: An Excellent Icebreaker for the Next Meeting

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Whether you’re seeking to foster more bonds between your employees, improve company morale, or preface a big company announcement, an online team building bingo game is an excellent way to open up your next meeting.

Bingo is a simple game, but there are many ways to make it a unique and engaging competition—especially if you offer prizes.

Ultimately, online team building games and other virtual team building activities are beneficial for both company leadership and employees. Armed with our complete guide, your next staff meeting is sure to be fun, engaging, and effective.