Team building activities for work are especially important now, when many are working from home. Select one from our exciting list and "just do it"!
When teams work well together the result is a more productive, successful, and efficient team that is inherently happier and more pleasant to work with. However, team building can be tough in the workplace, as typically people are not too enthusiastic to participate in the organized activities.
Whether it is specifically your job to try to inspire people to be enthusiastic towards team building, or you just believe that your colleagues/team members would benefit from team building, coming up with activities that are fun give you the best chance of getting as many people as possible involved. Now that remote working is becoming more mainstream, even staying at home is no excuse not to get involved in the activities! Fun is not just limited to children to enjoy.
Do not fall into the cliches of attempting to organize hotdog eating contests, or egg and spoon races or anything antiquated like that. Ideally try to aim for an activity that can become the standard team building activity for your office or team, in other words an activity that you can do repeatedly that won’t be boring. Alternatives and add-ins can be used to liven the activities up and keep them fresh, and even a mix of in-person and remote employees can join in. Also check out our list of the virtual team building activities.
In order to facilitate this need of team building activities and to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the best options for your particular team, we have put together three categories of activities/exercises so you can be sure that you are choosing correctly.
Remember, you are not limited to just one activity, variety is the spice of life!
Team Building Activities
Team building activities are sure to make work-life more fun! It’s a way of getting to know your colleagues along with working on some skills together. These activities make sure that everyone is involved and once completed, all of the participants will be left with some new skills, fresh bonds and new perspectives that will be sure to increase morale.
Materials needed: one key, one rope, plus five to 10 clues or puzzles which will determine the length of the game
How to play: Bring the entire team in a large room or empty space and shut them in (don't actually lock them in but just pretend!). Before they are “locked” in the room, choose one of the players to be the zombie, they will have to play the part - arms outstretched, dead eyes, moaning, the whole works. This volunteer zombie will be kept in the corner of the room tied up with a rope that is just a foot long.
One the activity begins, after every five minutes another foot of rope will be left out, leaving the hungry zombie with more room to roam. The aim of the game is to solve the clues or puzzles to unlock the door before the zombie has enough rope to get to them and eat them. Escape while you can!
Materials needed: One large and one small bucket, one bungee cord loop, one rope, eight bungee cords, eight plastic balls (tennis balls will also work)
How to play: The rope is used to make a circle that is eight feet in diameter on the ground and this is what designates the toxic waste zone. The zone can be made bigger than this if you would like to increase the difficulty. Place the balls in the small bucket and position the bucket in the middle of the circle. The larger bucket is to be placed about 30 feet away. The bucket represents the toxic waste.
Teams and/or members have to use the bungee cords to come up with a way to get the “toxic waste” from the smaller bucket to the large one, with a specified time limit (a time of 15 or 20 minutes usually works for this). Any player that enters the toxic waste zone can either be “injured” where they will have to keep their arms behind their back for the rest of the game, or “dead” where they are completely out of the game. Any balls that are dropped will similarly cause an injury and if the bucket of toxic waste spills everyone dies.
Solution: Connect all of the bungee cords to the bungee loop, and have eight players pull on the cords and stretch the loop out. The stretched out bungee loop can then be guided over the toxic waste bucket in the radiation zone (without any player stepping inside) and lowered down. Allow the bungee loop to contract once around the bucket, and the loop will grip the bucket allowing it to be lifted off of the ground. This contraption can then be used to transfer the balls from the small bucket into the large bucket, therefore completing the game.
Materials needed: Construction materials for each team, these can include toothpicks, sticky notes, card stock, and rubber bands, and an electric fan
How to play: Teams of four or five players will now transform into arctic explorers that are travelling across the frozen lands. Each team will have a leader that they can select themselves, that will guide their journey. Suddenly, a storm hits! Now each team will have to construct shelter for themselves in order to survive. Unfortunately, the leader’s hands cannot work due to frostbite, so they cannot help physically with putting up the shelter, and worse again, the rest of the team cannot see as they have snow blindness! The leader has to instruct the rest of the team on how to build the structure, while the electric fan provides wind that will knock shelters of insufficient strength.
Each team will be handed their materials and a timer, and the difficulty of this challenge can be modified with more robust construction materials, using a higher fan speed, and having the fan running while the teams build their structures.
Materials needed: Some common office materials/items, and an empty room.
How to play: Use office chairs, boxes, water bottles and pretty much anything else to construct an obstacle course with “mines” in your office. Teams of two will compete in this challenge and one partner will be blindfolded. The player that is not blindfolded will guide the blind player through the obstacle course without stepping on any of the mines. The player that is able to see cannot enter the course, and must only use verbal instruction to guide.
To step up the difficulty on this challenge, you can have multiple teams trying to navigate through the course at the same time so it will be more confusing for the blinded player.
Team Bonding Activities
Team bonding activities take getting to know your team members and colleagues to the next level. These are activities that players can put more of their personality into and show more of who they are. This will no doubt strengthen the bonds in your team or office as at the end everyone will know each other a little better.
Battle of the Airbands
Materials needed: Smartphone, mp3 player, or speakers
How to play: if you are familiar with the Jimmy Fallon show, you will know of the famous lip syncing battles that take place. Carry this concept over to a battle of full bands. Teams of three to four people will compete against each other, and they will come up with who is the singer, guitarist, drummer, and whatever else they desire in their band, go crazy!
Each team will need some time to rehearse (in a separate room, if they are being very competitive!), and they will then perform their (well known and safe for work) song that they have chosen. If you are organized and give the teams a couple of days in advance, then they can bring in whatever props that they want to use during their performance.
Once the performances are complete, the teams will vote on the act that they think should win, and no team can vote for themselves.
Office Trivia (Remote Suitable)
Materials needed: 20 to 25 trivia questions regarding your specific workplace
How to play: This is an extremely quick and easy team bonding activity that can also be adapted for those who are working remotely. Create a number of questions that directly relate to your particular workplace and have fun testing everyone’s knowledge. You would be surprised about what people don’t know! Examples:
- What is the colour of the tiles in the Kitchen?
- How many people work in the IT department?
- How many windows are in the office?
- In what month are there the most birthdays in the office?
- What brand are the office computers?
Quick to set up, and fun for everyone to play including those not physically in the office. Be sure not to include any personal questions or any questions related to anyone working in the office.
Materials needed: Some free time during the day!
How to play: There are many different types of community services programs that you can take part in during the work day, or even on the holidays! You can organize a beach clean up, Adopt-a-Family programs during the weekends, or participate in a community “beautification” project. The name of the game here is to find something that appeals to you and your team and that you will all enjoy doing. Everyone will enjoy some time out of the office, and giving back to the community will put some “feel good” into everyone.
Materials needed: Brushes and paint, tarp or drop cloth, and some canvases that are pre-drawn.
How to play: Each member of the team will receive a brush and canvas, and will create their own masterpiece. The more colorful, the better! Once they are all completed, they can be combined to make one big, vibrant mural, or dotted throughout the office to be a constant reminder of the unity in the office.
Company Coat of Arms
Materials needed: Markers, pens, paper.
How to play: The principle of this game is simple. Each team is to create a coat of arms for the company. There will be three spaces, one including a recent achievement, one that reflects the company values, and one that represents the future of the company. The winner will be proudly displayed in the office!
Team Building Exercises
These exercises are designed to make everyone in the office better at working together. Each exercise takes a large amount of cooperation and teamwork, and this will in turn make all of the participants more comfortable working together. These exercises are not meant to be difficult, fun and exciting for those who are participating!
Back to Back Drawing
Materials needed: Markers/pens, paper, basic shapes or simple line drawings on paper
How to play: Split the entire group into teams of two, and have them sit back to back either on the ground or in chairs. One member of each team will get the pen and paper, and the other will receive the basic shape or simple line drawing. The player with the drawing must do their best to describe the picture to the other player, who must attempt to draw the shape.
You obviously cannot tell the other player simply what it is, you must describe the shape or drawing or instruct them how to draw it. This will be done under a time limit, and at the end all of the teams will compare the attempted drawings and see which team had the best communication.
Salt and Pepper
Materials needed: A pen, small piece of paper for every player, tape, list of well known pairs i.e. salt and pepper, fish and chips, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese.
How to play: On the sheets of paper, write one half of the aforementioned duos, (fish on one, chips on another, etc. etc.). Every player will have one sheet of paper tapes to their back, giving them an item or identity that they must try to find out. Everyone must mingle and chat to each other in an attempt to find out what is on their back.
The catch: the players are only allowed to ask each other yes or no questions. Once someone figures out what is on their back, they must then find the other half of their pair. They can then sit down and talk about three things that they share in common while the rest of the players figure themselves out!
Afternoon at the Races
Materials needed: A pinewood derby car kit for every team, a start and finish line made from any materials or just a chalk line on the ground.
How to play: Each team will construct their own mini pinewood car using the kit provided. Once built, the teams can then race against each other to see who is the fastest. To add another level, allow the teams to come up with themes for their teams with mascots and everything! A reception can be held with snacks and drinks before the big race. No drinking and driving!
Paper Plane Contest
Materials needed: Card stock, measuring stick, a long hallway and tape to make the launch line.
How to play: This can be played either inside or outside. Every team receives their own stack of card stock with which to create a paper plane out of. You can show them some different options or let them do the research themselves. They must come to a decision on which design they think will go the farthest, and they create that design. Once built, the teams can decorate their planes and see which design flies the farthest and crowns the paper plane champion!
Materials needed: Video conferencing program, internet connection.
How to play: Teams of two will work together here, to play catchphrase, or pretty much any other classic party game of your choice! For Catchphrase, the player will have to describe the catchphrase that they have in mind by only using physical gestures, and some verbal cues. You may not say words that rhyme with the phrase, or ones that start with the same letter etc.
When a team guesses correctly, it is then their turn to play. If no correct answer is submitted by the time the clock runs us, the team that came up with the catchphrase gets a point. Each team has only one guess, and teams are allowed to confer with each other. The first team to seven points wins!
Want more? Check out our article on remote team building activities!
So, what do you think of these team building activities for work? Will you be using any of these in your office or team? If you have any suggestions for any activities that should be included in this list please let us know. Clinked would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!
Read more about team building:
- Fun Office Games: Small Fun Activities for Employees
- Virtual Team Building Activities
- Problem Solving Team Building Activities
- Joke of the Day for Work: Best Work Appropriate Jokes
Images sources: Pexels and the Clinked team (main image)!