Categories Virtual events

How to Plan a Virtual Scavenger Hunt for a Remote Team

virtual scavenger hunt: team playing virtual game

Remote work is here to stay. Remote employees are more productive, less stressed, and more loyal. But remote teams can risk burnout and isolation.

Fun team-building events can help. Plus, teams that communicate informally are more productive.

A virtual scavenger hunt can boost morale and give employees a fun way to socialize. Here’s how to plan one for your remote team.

What Are Virtual Scavenger Hunts?

virtual scavenger hunt: person using Gather for virtual gaming

In virtual scavenger hunts, participants work together to find items, solve puzzles, and decipher clues. The first team to finish is the winner.

Why Plan a Virtual Scavenger Hunt?

Virtual scavenger hunts are gaining popularity as people search for new ways to hang out online. They’re entertaining and create memorable experiences with friends, family members, and coworkers.

Online scavenger hunts are a great team-building exercise. They encourage creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and strong relationships.

Your coworkers work together, socialize, and build company culture. Plus, it’s a perfect icebreaker activity for new employees.

How to Prep for the Game

virtual scavenger hunt: screenshot of a team playing on Gather

In a DIY virtual scavenger hunt, you’ll give teams a list of things they must rush to find. You can also create extra challenges to keep things interesting.

As the moderator, you’ll set rules, keep score, and judge the competition.

1. Set the Rules

Use the following rules as a basis for your scavenger hunt:

  • The team with the most items when time ends wins the round.
  • All items must be found at your location.
  • You can only use each item once.
  • Send all photo and video submissions to the judge by the end of the time limit.
  • If there’s a tie, the team that submits all objects, photos, and videos first wins.

Feel free to customize this online game and include additional rules.

2. Organize Rounds

Based on the amount of time you’ve set aside for the hunt (we recommend a max of one to two hours total), decide the number of rounds and how long each will last. 

Mix up your rounds. For example, include speed rounds where teams have two minutes to collect as many household items as possible. They’ll need to think fast and assign items to different team members.

In longer rounds of 10 minutes, you can reveal a list of clues. This gives enough time to discuss and solve challenges together.

For example, a clue for a deck of cards could be “You can cut and hold me, but you can’t eat me.” Or, put jumper cables on the list and give a clue like “I always jump but you won’t find legs.”

3. Create a Point System

Outline how you’ll award points. Here are some options:

  • Top three teams: Give points to the first, second, and third place teams for each round. For example, first place gets three points, second place two points, and third place one point.
  • First place only: There’s only one point given per round — winner takes all.
  • One point per item/challenge: Give one point for each item or challenge. You can assign more points for items that are difficult to find. Add all points at the end of the game to determine the winner.

Feel free to award bonus points for random things to make your virtual scavenger hunt more fun. For example, set a theme and tell participants to dress up in their best related costume for extra points. A tropical vacation, favorite movie, or upcoming holidays are all great themes to follow.

4. Form a Scavenger Hunt List of Items and Challenges

Include a range of objects. Keep in mind, participants must be able to find items in their homes.

Here’s a short list of scavenger hunt items to get you started:

  • Board game
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper clip
  • Ugly sweater
  • CD
  • Baked goods
  • Musical instrument
  • Movie ticket stub
  • Takeout menu
  • An object you can’t live without
  • Something older than you

Use real-life items and digital challenges to keep the scavenger hunt game engaging. For instance, create tasks that involve social media or Google:

  • Take a selfie with your pet.
  • Perform a popular TikTok dance.
  • Find a celebrity on IMDB from the same hometown as everyone on the team.
  • Pick an embarrassing high school photo.

There are other virtual scavenger hunt ideas, like finding items that start with each letter of the alphabet. Who knows what contestants will come up with!

5. Pick a Virtual Platform

Choose a virtual app to host your scavenger hunt. It should allow teammates to talk in small groups through video chat, messaging, and screen sharing.

Gather brings people together in an immersive online world. Each team can organically separate into breakout rooms where they work together during the scavenger hunt.

You can also use Gather to host the entire virtual scavenger hunt experience.

Open the Gather app to create a new space. Choose a template, like “Mystery Mansion”.

virtual scavenger hunt: screenshot of templates to use in Gather

Select the “Build” option and choose objects to hide around the map. For example, hide an acoustic guitar, coffee pot, or ship painting.

screenshot of objects to use in Gather

Then follow the same steps mentioned above. Set scavenger hunt rules, create a point system, and organize a list of items.

sample of a virtual room in Gather

Gamers will explore a virtual world as they race to find objects first.

6. Choose the Day and Time

Pick an appropriate day and time for the virtual team-building activity. Avoid busy times like right before long holiday weekends. Employees may be rushing to complete work before enjoying a relaxing break. 

Fridays can work as long as you schedule it before mid-afternoon. You don’t want to mess with anyone’s weekend plans. Mid-week is a safer choice.

The easiest way to schedule a remote scavenger hunt is to send a poll to teammates with preferred dates and times. Let the vote decide.

7. Start Your Hunt

  • Choose teams randomly beforehand, or pick names out of a hat during the call.
  • Have participants turn on their cameras. Go over the rules, point system, and prizes.
  • Screenshare a digital timer or show a physical timer on your video chat.
  • Share the list of items with all teams at the same time. Each round begins as soon as you set the challenge.
  • Encourage people to ask you any questions during the game.
  • Tally points after each round. You can show a leaderboard or wait to announce points at the end of the game.

8. Award Prizes

Make an incentive for winning the scavenger hunt. Award prizes to individuals or the entire winning group.

For example, gift cards are a great gift for individual winners.

You could also give a prize to the entire team. For instance, an online group cooking class or mixology lesson.

You can share the best pictures from team submissions after the game. You’re bound to come across funny moments that everyone would love to see. Who wouldn’t want to see embarrassing highschool photos or a video of coworkers attempting a TikTok dance?

Work Hard, Play Hard

Virtual scavenger hunts give your remote team a chance to mingle and take a break. Set work aside and have a laugh.

Other social events can build team camaraderie, like virtual happy hours. These require less planning and can be held more often.

You can also bring your team together on a daily basis using a virtual office. A virtual platform like Gather allows you to customize your office, hold meetings, and work side-by-side in a fun online setting.