Team building activities for the office

No matter how large or small your office, a team that works well together will always be more effective, successful, and productive. Employees working in a close-knit team will also be happier and less likely to leave for new job opportunities.

Team building activities are a great way to get employees to connect, get to know one another, and work better together. Thankfully, it’s easy to implement team building games and challenges into any workweek. Taking the time to plan even small team activities at work on a regular basis will help make the office a more positive place to work.

Team Building Activities At Work

Team building is essential in the workplace for various reasons. Regardless of whether your team building exercise is five minutes long or fills up a weekend work retreat, the benefits of team activities are undeniable.

For starters, team building helps build employee morale. When employees succeed as a team, they’re more confident and invested in motivating fellow team members. These activities also build trust among co-workers who may not otherwise know one another well.

Team building activities also boost creativity. Taking employees out of mundane office environments and giving them an out-of-the-box activity to perform stimulates their creative side. Rather than doing the usual office tasks, they can stretch their creative muscles and think of new, innovative ways to solve problems, which ultimately transfers back to the workplace.

Since team building exercises foster problem-solving skills, it’s important to pick activities that force team members to work together. On a team, team members gain the necessary skills to consult with and solve issues with others, which helps overcome social barriers.

After a team building activity, employees are more productive. Performing the same tasks in the office every day can get mind-numbing, which reduces productivity. When you break up the workweek with an exciting team building activity, employees have an opportunity to get a mental break from the mundane. Plus, team building games give employees a chance to identify ways to improve certain office practices or policies that are inhibiting productivity, which is beneficial for everyone.

Here are some ideas for team building exercises: 

Scavenger hunt

This team building activity takes extra planning, but the payoff is worth it. Come up with a list of funny tasks each team needs to complete as a group. These can include tasks like finding a specific object around the office, taking a selfie with a complete stranger, or completing an alphabet hunt around the building.

There are a few rules you’ll want to stick to when planning an office scavenger hunt. For starters, the longer the hunt, the better. You may be tempted to do a shorter list, but participants will have more fun and enjoy more time getting to know one another when there’s more to do.

It’s also important to set a time limit on the scavenger hunt. Simple hunts around the office may only take two to three hours to complete, while a longer outdoor hunt around the office building or around town can take a couple of days. Split your office up into teams and give them ample time to work together toward completing the scavenger hunt.

Since the scavenger hunt is about employees getting to know one another, you’ll want to incorporate activities that require team interaction. For example, some of the items on the list may include:

  • Take a picture of an item from a co-worker’s desk.
  • Take a picture of the entire team posing as Charlie’s Angels.
  • Take a picture of at least six different shoes.
  • Create a list of the team’s favorite literary quotes.
  • Create a sculpture using only office supplies from your desks.
  • Take a group photo of the team on their lunch break.

The more you make the scavenger hunt personal, the more opportunities the group has to get to know one another and learn about each other’s strengths.

While it’s certainly acceptable to engage employees in a scavenger hunt for bragging rights alone, offering a prize is a good way to get the teams more invested in the activity. Even something small like a coffee shop gift card or an extra-long lunch break can be motivation enough. Plus, if the prize is something that encourages the group to spend more time together, such as the boss treating them to lunch at a restaurant, the bonding can continue long after the game is over.

Mine field

A popular team building activity, Mine Field is designed to boost communication and trust. This activity can be done in the office or outside; just be sure there is ample space for groups to walk around safely.

Scatter “mines” around the course. Mines can be cones, foam noodles, bowling pins, hula-hoops, balls, or any similar items. Divide the office into teams of two. Each pair will consist of one blindfolded team member and one team member responsible for helping the blindfolded teammate navigate the mine field.

The blindfolded teammate will need to listen carefully to his or her partner, who should be giving clear verbal instructions of where to step from the sidelines. Participants should be given a brief period before the game to decide on their verbal cues. The penalty for hitting a mine could be a simple restart or time penalty. Once the first team member completes the course, the second should have a turn.

Egg drop

You’ve probably heard of the egg drop activity in school. It’s a highly effective challenge where groups of three to five people are given an uncooked egg and must build something to keep the egg from cracking when dropped. If you have access to your office building’s roof or balcony, it’s a simple enough activity to pull off.

After splitting everyone into teams and giving each group an egg, encourage the teams to scour the office and their desks for supplies. One rule could be that groups are only allowed to use office supplies, not any personal items brought from home, but your rules can vary. Some great suggestions for supplies include straws, pencils, paper clips, tape, plastic forks, newspapers, packing material, and rubber bands.

This activity works as a team building game because the group must work together to solve a problem. The more people involved in the activity, the better.

Once the contraptions are completed, gather the entire office outside to watch the eggs fall. The ones that survive win!

Game of Possibilities

Don’t have much time to plan large-scale team building exercises? The Game of Possibilities is a great indoor option. In fact, it takes just minutes to complete and serves as a great starter to the workday.

You will need some materials from around the office, such as napkins or paper towels. Give each group an item and have one person at a time stand and demonstrate a use for that item without speaking. Each demonstration must be original, and the uses demonstrated should be as creative and wacky as possible. For example, one team member might show the paper towel being used as a bib, while another balls it up and aims for the trash can.

Participants have to consider infinite ways to use an everyday item and how basic materials can be used to solve problems. The humor involved is also a good way to motivate the entire office.

Use what you have

A more challenging team building activity is using what you have to reach a common goal. For instance, the goal might be to build a device that can move a ball from point A to point B without any electricity. Divide the office into teams of three to five and create a pile of available supplies in a central location. If you’d like, you can also give everyone a certain amount of time to go outside the office and hunt for supplies.

Using only paper clips, staplers, packing material, boxes, and other items around the office, teams will need to work together to create an object that involves movement. Since this isn’t an easy task, you will want to allow plenty of time for teams to complete their projects, but be sure to set a time limit.

The best part is during the final reveal when everyone showcases their creation. It’s a team building event and competition all rolled into one!

Boost your office’s productivity, performance, and communication with these fun team building activities. Once you see their immediate benefits, you’ll want to incorporate them into your workweek more often.

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