Workstations Online

Workstations Online

4 - 20 participants

A popular and challenging virtual team problem solving game with powerful messages about managing team communication.

Dive into a captivating virtual team challenge with Workstations. This game is not just about problem-solving; it's a deep dive into the intricacies of team communication. Participants must strategize, using only verbal communication, to manage and categorize individual inputs and foster shared understanding. Each player receives a unique link, revealing task details through images of playing cards.

Ideal as an introductory team exercise or ice-breaker, Workstations is especially suited for groups unfamiliar with each other's working styles.

While the exercise necessitates both task and group leadership, it also sharpens critical thinking. Merely sharing the card details won't reveal the solutions. Instead, teams must collaboratively interpret the combined information to deduce answers to the posed questions. This immersive experience mirrors real-world challenges teams often encounter, offering insights into effective problem-solving dynamics.

  • Virtual Team Icebreaker Activity
  • Improve Virtual Teamworking Skills
  • Practice Managing Information & Communication in a Virtual Environment
  • Provide Opportunities to Use Distributed Information to Solve Problems 
  • Build Strategic Thinking Skills
  • Improve Critical Thinking & Problem Solving Skills
  • Build Online Team Communication Skills

Workstations is closely related to our Celtic Cross activity.

Workstations is an immersive virtual team challenge designed to hone team communication and problem-solving skills. Participants, armed only with verbal communication and unique task details presented on images of playing cards, must collaboratively interpret and strategize to deduce answers to posed questions. Beyond mere problem-solving, this game delves deep into the intricacies of team dynamics, making it an invaluable tool for groups aiming to enhance their collaborative efforts.

  1. Team Building: Workstations serves as an excellent platform for teams to understand each other's working styles, especially for groups that haven't previously collaborated. It fosters trust, mutual understanding, and camaraderie.
  2. Communication Training: The game pinpoints common communication pitfalls and challenges teams to overcome them. It emphasizes the importance of clear, concise verbal communication and the need to manage and categorize individual inputs effectively.
  3. Leadership Development: Workstations can be used to identify emerging leaders within a group. Those who exhibit strong group leadership skills, effective task management, and the ability to guide discussions will stand out, providing valuable insights for future team configurations.
  4. Critical Thinking Enhancement: The game pushes participants to think beyond the obvious. Simply sharing card details isn't enough; teams must engage in deep analytical thinking to deduce the correct answers.
  5. Ice-Breaker for New Teams: For teams that are just forming or integrating new members, Workstations provides a fun, engaging way to break the ice, helping members get to know each other's strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles.

  1. Enhanced Team Dynamics: Teams emerge from the game with a clearer understanding of each member's strengths and areas for improvement. The experience fosters a deeper appreciation for collaborative efforts and highlights the importance of every member's contribution.
  2. Improved Communication: Participants gain insights into the value of clear verbal communication. They learn the pitfalls of ambiguity and the importance of ensuring that every team member is on the same page.
  3. Identification of Leaders: The game naturally allows leaders to emerge, providing teams and organizations with insights into potential candidates for leadership roles or further development.
  4. Sharpened Critical Thinking: Teams learn the value of looking beyond the obvious, understanding that sometimes the answers lie not in what is directly presented but in how different pieces of information intersect and relate.
  5. Real-world Problem-Solving Insights: The challenges faced in Workstations mirror many real-world problems, teaching teams that sometimes the path to a solution requires a blend of individual contributions, collaborative efforts, and out-of-the-box thinking.
Workstations is a team communication and information-sharing activity, ideal for groups inexperienced in working remotely together.
It can be run with virtual participants using any simple video conferencing solution like Zoom, Google Meet etc.

Workstations is based on the original physical Workstations activity from RSVP Design which uses 30 x different playing cards with a live co-located working group, and minimal set-up. This virtual version requires little advance planning and preparation too and can be completed successfully without losing focus on the learning objectives of the original physical activity.

In Workstations the team members are required to share information verbally in order to solve a ‘matrix puzzle’ - although the objectives of the task are not explicitly stated by the facilitator, providing for a potentially uncertain and ambiguous initial stage of team working.

They must share information on each of the cards they have been given, then use a process of elimination, logical and critical thinking to identify the answer to two tasks. The team members will only uncover this if the individual holding information on three 'key' cards used to explicitly state the task objectives, shares that information with the team.

The difficulty can be increased by setting a rule that participants should not write anything down - the group must identify other ways of remembering and sorting key information. Each person must contribute and all participants hold important information necessary for the team to be successful.

Team members working together tend to move at different paces and have different strategies for remembering information. Can they, together, develop an approach that everyone understands and which supports different individual needs? Can they be sure by the end of the activity that everyone has the full picture so that they can correctly complete their individual parts in the implementation process?

The exercise is designed to last up to 35 minutes, followed by a 25 minute review to highlight the learning points.


Fully remote/virtual activity
To all subscribers
Activity created
Average duration
60 mins
4 - 20

Such a good exercise! Thanks for your help last week. I have just run Online Workstations and it was great

Anj Jowitt BSc (Hons) MSc
Director, Dolphin Team Development Ltd.

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