Everyone who has worked in an office would have been part of team-building activities at some point in time. The Harvard Business Review report shows that when teams socialize more often, communication improves by more than 50%!Team building activities for work are widely encouraged in every organization, primarily because they encourage a sense of positivity and a feel-good factor within the workplace. When these team activities are well-planned and organized to perfection, they bring out the best in your employees and create everlasting bonds.
I’ll be going into a few extremely engaging team-buildingactivities at work that will create an immersive and enjoyable experience for you, your team, and coworkers.
1. What is Effective Team Building?
Effective team-building exercises are planned to bring people in the office closer, have them interact with others, discover their strengths or weaknesses and improve the spirit of collaboration. Team building activities for work isn’t just about sharing stories with your coworker from the opposite cubicle. It’s about getting to know the people belonging to various departments, on a more humane level.
During these activities, discussion around work and that important meeting take a backseat. People share their personal stories, play games, have a laugh together and enjoy the moment. These interactions help build newer relationships and forges trust amongst your employees. Once a camaraderie is well established, productivity levels will surge, there will be increased communication and work will definitely get done faster.
Although the intent behind team building is to improve relationships at work, the risk is a mismatch in expectations versus reality. Most activities demand participation rather than encourage it naturally. As a result, employees feel coerced or pressured into doing group activities for things that they have no interest in, as evidenced by anecdotes supplied by people working in different offices. The key to team building activities at work is to reach a consensus on the ones everyone will truly enjoy being part of.
2. Team Building Activities at Work
2.1. Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles have always been engaging everyone, but have you tried it as a group exercise in your office? They are a great way to get entire teams behind solving puzzles, as they collaborate and coordinate with each other to join all the pieces before the timer runs out.
The timer isn’t a necessity, but it gives that sense of urgency and gets the entire team moving faster across the puzzle pieces. Once completed, you can ask the employees about what strategy they took, how they managed the situation, and the unique thought processes that helped to achieve the goal.
2.2. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunts are really taking off these days and you are really missing out on a lot of fun if you’ve never tried it before at your office. The game is very simple. You can give the employees a list of items that can be found around the office. They have to hunt these items before the clock runs out.
To make the game even more engaging, you can divide your employees in teams of two, where you pair up one new employee with a veteran. This can help them navigate their ways around the workplace, know the ins and outs of the entire floor, and gets them motivated to explore sections that they have never been to before!
2.3. Organize Interactive Board Games
Playing board games with our family members was always a blast.. That’s why board games can be an incredible tool for effective team bonding. There are a huge variety of board games, and you can be spoilt for choice.
We recommend you try playing games like Monopoly, Jenga, Guess Who and Connect 4. Besides doubling up on the fun factor, these games can help you see which strategies your employees are using and how methodical they are. Plus you can also gauge their analytical abilities.
2.4. Take Group Classes Outside the Office
Going to different classes together can help you create an unbreakable bond with your co-workers. There are loads of classes for you to choose from – improv, cooking, painting, music instruments etc. These classes are great for large groups, because they require you to work with others, motivate you to bring out your best self, help you get out of your comfort zone and force you to mix with the entire office.
We recommend you try out an improv class, because they need you to think sharply and on the spot. It also improves your communication skills, makes you confident and helps you overcome roadblocks as a team.
2.5. Egg Drop Challenge
The egg drop challenge promotes creative problem solving, and is a deceptively easy game to play. All you need is a carton of eggs, and a few office stationery, such as newspapers, printed pages, cardboard containers, etc. to get the activity started.
The goal is to make teams out of your colleagues, and each team has to construct a structure that can keep an egg safe when dropped from a fixed height. In case there’s a tie between the teams, the height can be gradually increased until we have one proud winner.
2.6. Blind Drawing Competition
You may or may not be an expert in drawing, but can you draw a masterpiece when you can’t even see it? This might seem like a challenge, but it can be easy when you trust and understand your partner.
To start off, each team will have two members, who will have to sit with their backs facing each other. One of them will be handed a pen & paper and has to draw the image that the other person describes. The person who’s drawing cannot see the image. It is a great exercise for developing effective leadership skills within your team.
2.7. The Blindfold Pick Up
This is a team bonding exercise that can be done both inside the office or an open space, if available. Once you have set up the teams, it’s time to place a couple of objects on the floor. One participant from each team enters the ring, with a blindfold across his/her eyes and has to locate the item that their respective team member is calling out.
The trick here is that no item will be explicitly called out by its name. Instead, the blindfolded person will be given its description, and they have to gauge accordingly. This activity forces your coworkers to be proactive, think on their feet. It improves communication significantly.
2.8. Office Trivia Quiz
How well do your employees know your office? It’s time to find out. For your next team building activity, you could arrange the office trivia quiz. Here you can ask your coworkers some questions regarding your office. The questions can be anything – but the theme has to be around the office or some it’s employees. Here are a few examples:
- When is the company’s founder’s birthday?
- Who in the office is a relative of Oprah Winfrey?
- In which city did the company open its first office?
- Which employee from the office won a cake baking competition in 2019?
- When did the current CEO join the company?
2.9. Perform Community Service Together
If the members in your office are willing, and deeply care about a cause, then volunteering can be a great way to improve the team’s cohesiveness. The biggest positive here is that you’ll bond better with your coworkers, and you’ll get the opportunity to do some good for the ones who are less privileged than us. Having a positive impact on the community will definitely put a smile on everyone’s face.
2.10. Set Up a Literature Club
Starting a literature club in your office is another great idea for a team building exercise. To make it a success, give the same book to a group of people and give them a few weeks to finish it. Once they have completed, they can have discussion over the various characters, how they felt reading it, if they agree with the author or not, and other aspects of the book (accompanied with delicious snacks, of course).
This activity will be an uplifting experience for many, and the members who usually do not get a chance to speak or shy away from communicating will finally have a chance to freely express their opinions.
2.11. Organize Sports Competitions
In case you have a lot of athletes in the office, or just people who are really interested in a particular sport, you can surely go ahead and organize an office wide sports competition. Sports such as basketball, soccer, baseball, dodgeball, table tennis and many more are quite easy to organize and require very little expenditure.
If you don’t want to break a sweat but still want to play, even then you can have fun with your team. Games such as foosball, skeeball and other arcade games will provide you with the same levels of adrenaline as their outdoor counterparts. Sports can induce friendly competitiveness, leadership, and determination while boosting the physical and mental strength of your employees.
2.12. Solve the Human Knot
The Human Knot is a game that’s usually popular at camping trips, but you can also have fun with it in the office. After all, it’s an activity where people come together and untangle their problems, quite literally. To play it, get everyone in a small circle and have them interlock their hands with other hands.
The goal is to untangle your hands out of the bundle without breaking the chain. To take the difficulty levels up a notch, you can prevent people from speaking or even add a time limit.
2.13. The Frostbite Conundrum
This is one of our favourites and we recommend that you try it out in your next activity. The Frostbite Conundrum can act as a great collaboration and problem solving exercise. First of all, create teams of 4 or 5 people and get each of them to select a leader. The game starts with a snowstorm, which gives a chilly frostbite to the leader. Thus, he can only speak, and not help the others.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team has snow blindness which has made them unable to see. The leader shouts out instructions on how to build a shelter with the office equipment that will be provided to them before the event begins. Once finished, turn on that extremely windy electric fan and see if it can withstand the freezing winds of the ice caps!
2.14. Map Your Way Through the Minefield
For this simple but dangerous sounding game, you’ll need an empty office corridor or just a plain room. Within the empty space, fill the space up with usual office equipment, like chairs, stationary, bottles, boxes etc. These will be the mines. Now divide the teams into pairs, where one person has to be blindfolded and walk through the open space, while the other one gives instructions so that none of the mines go off.
In case you want to make it even more challenging, you could send two teams into the minefield at the same time. In that case it will be more difficult to send out instructions and there might be miscommunication.
2.15. Surviving the Plane Crash
What happens when all of your office employees get in a plane crash and get deserted on a strange island? Time to find out. In this exercise, a group of employees will figure out the 12 most important things that they should keep with them, which would aid in their survival. This game focuses on negotiation tactics and improves communication. ‘Survival of the Smartest’ as we like to call it.
2.16. Create the Team Logo
‘Create the team logo’ is a creative team building activity that will be well taken by the artists in your office. You just need to have a few art materials, such as colourful paper, glitter, sketch pens, pins and you’ll be ready. Now you have to divide the teams and ask them to create a flag, or an emblem, or any form of logo, that depicts the values they stand up for and gives them an identity. This is a relaxing game and creates an opportunity to express themselves with art.
2.17. Never a Loser
This team building activity is centred around motivating your fellow employees and learning to look for the positives in every scenario. To start off, one person comes forward and describes that time in their life where they lost something. It can be anything – personal loss, academic, career-wise or otherwise.
Once they have spoken, another member comes forward and tells the previous person how they have benefited from that loss, and how it has helped them shape up to be a better person. This activity brings everyone in the office closer, creates a bond of mutual trust, and adds empathy.
2.18. Mystery Dinner Date
In this activity, everyone gets to gorge on food and drinks while the company pays the bill. There’s no such thing as a free lunch? Think again. For this team bonding activity, simply invite members of different teams to go out on lunch together.
The mystery here is that employees are only told about the date and time of the dinner. Then, when the date actually comes, they’ll be given mails which tell them where the dinner is being hosted and who they have to go with. The objective here is to ensure that all the team members can come out of their comfort zone, and get to know each other outside the office.
2.19. The Human Birthday Calendar
The Human Birthday Calendar game is all about coordination and leadership skills. Divide the teams into groups, usually of 10 people and ask them to stand in the order of their birthdays (date and month). The only catch here is that no one can speak up, all the arrangements have to be done through sign language. As you may have guessed, the team that gets into the right sequence at the earliest emerges as a winner.
2.20. Find Out My Name
This game will help you find out certain stereotypes that you make and generate friendly conversation with people in your office whom you have never met before. Just get a few sticky notes and write names of famous artists, movie stars or politicians on them.
Stick them on everyone’s forehead and let them mingle with each other. They shouldn’t know what’s on their forehead, but they have to talk to the other person based on that person’s sticky note character. It’s a great game for introducing new employees around the office and can be a great ice breaker.
2.21. Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is a very popular game and all of us have played it in childhood. Being a very interactive game, it will allow the introverts in your group to speak up and make them more confident. To make it a success, get a group of people (almost 10) and make them sit in a circle. Now, one of them has to say 3 statements out loud, from which 1 will be a lie and the others will be true. Everyone else has to find out the lie.
Yet another extremely popular game, charades can boost your non verbal communication skills. To play it, get a few paper chits and write the names of a few popular movies that come to your mind. Next, divide your employees into teams. From each team, a person comes forward and has to open a chit to see the name. Now the chosen person gives out non-verbal cues, while the rest of the team tries to guess the right answer.
2.23. A Wall of Memories
The Wall of Memories is all about making you feel good about the workplace and creates an environment where everyone appreciates each other. People start recognizing each other’s efforts. Hand out a sheet of paper to everyone in the room, and give them a few minutes to note down a few happy memories that they’ve shared with the people present in the room.
Once done, hand out new sheets of paper and ask them to create drawings of the memories they have just drawn. They can even take help from the people who were mentioned on the note. Now everyone can come up and tape their memories to a wall. You could also ask them to share their memories with the rest of the group. It’s an amazing exercise for sowing positive and warm relationships in your office.
2.24. Tied Together Tasks
For this exercise, divide the employees into groups of 10-12 people. Now it’s time to tie their hands. To do this, ask the team members to hold out their hands next to each other. Each arm should be tied to a different member. Now assign the entire group a single (and simple) task, for example:
- Fold the t-shirt
- Gift wrap a box
- Pour water in cups for everyone
- Type a mail to another person
2.25. Paper Plane Competition
Playable both indoors and outdoors, a paper plane competition will surely get everyone going as the entire office tries to outdo each other. Before everyone starts off on making their planes, show them a few designs that can be doable, so that everyone gets a better idea.
You could also add some glitter or colours to the planes to up the glamour quotient. Now it’s time for the competition. Take your plane to an open area or a long corridor, and let it fly. The one that goes the farthest gets all the bragging rights!
3.1. What are some fun work activities?
Here are a few more fun work activities that you should definitely try out:
- Foodie tour around the office neighborhood
- Group yoga sessions
- Price is Right Guessing Game
- Shark Tank – Office Edition
- Old school video games
3.2. What are 5 team-building activities?
Check out these really cool team building activities:
- Office Escape Room Game
- The game of life’s highlights
- The Barter Puzzle
- Find the active listener
- Cultural diversity parties
3.3. What are some team-building activities for small groups?
Team building activities are usually just as fun, if not more. Here are a few ideas:
- The Lean Walk
- The leaning tower of Feetza
- River crossing game
- Card games
- Company Concentration Challenge