How to host your own office Olympics

Get employees to team up and compete together with these entertaining office Olympics event ideas

While work is the priority at any office, sometimes employees just need to let off a little steam. Whether you’re looking for a fun team-building activity, or you want to reward your employees for a job well done, hosting an office Olympics tournament is a great idea. Coworkers will be able to work together and cheer each other on while demonstrating their unique skills. Plus, it gets everyone in a good mood and allows for a much-needed break from all that hard work.

Deciding to host an office Olympics is one thing, but coming up with ideas for the various challenges is another. Fortunately, we’ve put together this great guide to help you coordinate a fun and fabulous event for your employees.

Office Olympic activities

Ready to start the games? First, you’ll want to come up with a plan so that your event stays on schedule and entertains employees throughout. Here’s our guide to making sure your office Olympics run smoothly and results in a fun time for everyone in the workplace.

Setting up

Before the games actually begin, you’ll want to take a little time to get things set up. This will result in an orderly game that moves along, so employees don’t get bored in between events. Plus, it makes the whole thing more fun when you take time to put in some unique little details. Here’s how to set things up.

  • Create a schedule of events. Choose the events you want to include in your office Olympics (see the next section for activity ideas). Then, create a general timeline of how the events should flow. Remember to leave enough time for introducing and explaining each event before the competition starts. Hang up a sign with the schedule; employees will appreciate having an idea of what to expect.
  • Split everyone up into teams. To avoid certain employees feeling left out, either run only individual competitions (with no team events), or split everyone up into teams before the games begin. You can group teams by department or mix and match so people get to know one another better. Designate a team leader for each team. Then, assign team names, let teams decide on names on their own, or designate each team a country to represent.
  • Keep score. You’ll want to create a sign or use a marker board to list the team names and keep track of who gets gold, silver, and bronze for each event. Assign points to each place (three points for gold, two for silver, one for bronze) and update the scoreboard throughout the event.
  • Collect prizes. Come up with prizes for winners. Have gifts for the gold, silver, and bronze medal winning teams. It’s nice to also offer a little something to teams that didn’t win, like a small gift card or treat.
  • Get into the Olympic spirit. The event will be even more memorable for employees if you take the time to add in some unique details. For example, you could make toy medals to hand out after each event and create small platforms for the winners to stand on as they receive them. You could also use a candle for an Olympic torch ceremony before the games begin and play some inspiring opening ceremony music. Get creative and have a little fun with it!

Choosing your events

Now that you’ve set everything up, it’s time to come up with some office Olympics event ideas. There are plenty of activities you can use for this, so feel free to come up with your own. However, some of the most enjoyable ideas involve an office-related twist on actual Olympic events. Here are some of the top ideas for office Olympics activities.

  • Desk chair soccer. If you have a more open office space, set up a field and two goal areas in an open area of the office. Have two teams compete against one another in a soccer game while being confined to their office chairs. Use a lightweight ball to avoid injuries and broken office equipment, and have a referee on hand to keep the play clean.
  • Pencil javelin. Place a trash bin apart from a marked line. Have contestants take turns standing behind the line and throwing a sharpened pencil toward the bin. Award points for each time they get it inside.
  • Rubber band archery. Bring out a big pile of rubber bands. Use a piece of paper or marker board to create a target. Have the contestants stand about 8-10 feet back from the target. Once you say “go,” give them 30 seconds to hit the target as many times as they can by shooting rubber bands off their fingers. This video shows how dramatic this event can be while using pretty standard office supplies:
  • Mental gymnastics. This is like a game of charades in your office Olympics. Create a set of cards that list various Olympic events. Have each team designate one person who will act out the cards. Give each team one minute to guess as many of the events as they can. No words or clues are allowed other than acting out the event.
  • Relay tic tac toe. Get everyone’s heartbeat up while playing a fast-paced game of strategy. Make two teams, each with 3 colored towels or T-shirts to use as game pieces. Arrange a 3×3 grid on the floor, and have one person from each team go out to place a piece before running back to hand off to the next person. This encourages team strategizing while keeping things fun and fast-paced. Watch this video for an example:

It’s important to keep in mind what type of activities you think your employees will enjoy. Those who are more active and competitive might like things like desk chair soccer. Those who prefer not to run around or risk a potential bruise should stick to events like rubber band archery. You can also arrange various activities so that just one or two members can participate in each event; that way, those who aren’t interested in that particular challenge can focus on cheering on the team rather than participating.

Safety is an issue in every office, of course, so if you don’t have the space to safely host some of the above activities, skip them or substitute some with your own ideas. There’s no limit to the many creative office Olympics-themed activities you can come up with.

The awards ceremony

Once the games have concluded, it’s a great idea to have an awards ceremony to give the victors their recognition. As mentioned above, it’s a smart idea to have something to offer every participant, not only the gold, silver, and bronze medalists. You can have all the teams parade into the awards location and play the Olympic anthem to create a fun and festive atmosphere.

Combine your awards ceremony with some light snacks and drinks to make it a special social event where employees can relax after the events have concluded. After all, those many challenges, races, and competitions can certainly work up an appetite. And don’t forget to take some photos to commemorate the occasion. Hopefully, this is an event that the employees at your office will enjoy so much that they won’t want to wait another four years to host the next one.

If you’re thinking about having an Olympics event at your office, be sure to use this guide. Your employees are likely to appreciate that you put so much time and effort into planning this fun event for their benefit. Be sure to clue everyone in regarding your plans so they can start getting excited about the fun office Olympics activities to come.

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