When it’s done right, team building is a great way to foster connections at work, improve employee retention, and gain insights into how your team members work together. For leadership teams, these activities are an opportunity to develop management skills and connect with their teams. They also help large organizations and remote teams interact. After all, it’s key that leaders understand their people, and any activity that can help team members get to know one another is a good place to start.
But we’ve all had experiences with team building activities that feel like a waste of time. Poorly planned team building can lead to frustration and eye rolling, and it’s a fast way for leadership to seem out of touch. Sometimes team-building activities can even cross a line from boring and out of touch into uncomfortable and exclusionary. To avoid these outcomes, it’s important to try to think creatively. Team building takes effort, and it’s more than just a box to tick.
Creating fun team building activities takes time and creative thinking, but it is ideal for team bonding and strengthening company culture. Whether you have a team building session with a fun game, teams compete at office trivia or a scavenger hunt, or other team building activities, make sure fun is at the center of your solution.
Try A Winning Team Building Event
Focus on team-building exercises that let your colleagues know each other, develop leadership skills, relate to the actual jobs they do, and foster collaboration. With these activities, you can develop a roster of simple team-building exercises to increase team performance – some without even leaving your office. This is a win for senior leadership or people teams actively working on team performance management.
Breakfast or Lunch
Let’s start with a very basic exercise: get your team together for a meal. With free food and good conversation, you can bring your team together. Make sure team members eat together instead of hiding away at their desks, and provide conversation starters. Giving your team a chance to sit and talk casually can build comfort and cohesion, and contribute to creating a resilient team.
Find One Thing in Common with Team Members
Even if your team members have known each other for a while, they might not know about one another’s lives outside of work. Ask participants to find one thing in common with everyone. You can specify that it be work experience or something unrelated to work. It’s a great way to deepen connections and spark conversations outside of the activity. This is also a great team-building activity that you can do with remote teams.
Take Your Coworker to Work Day
Especially in a larger company, employees might not know what their colleagues’ day-to-day looks like. A take your coworker to work day can be a fun opportunity for two employees to get to know each other better, but also to understand their colleagues’ roles and responsibilities. Have employees shadow each other and report back on what they learned. What comes out of a Take Your Coworker To Work Day might surprise you!
Company Book Club
A company-wide book club is a great team-building opportunity, whether the book you choose is related to your company’s work or not. Inspirational business books are an excellent choice. You might even invite the author to visit the discussion or video chat with your team! Consider purchasing copies of the book for the entire company, and planning book-related activities for discussion day.
Use the H3 sections below to create additional team building activity ideas for the article. Create a title and 1-2 short paragraphs for each section. Add additional H3s as needed based on your research.
Favorite Things Exchange
Give your team a chance to share something important with a Favorite Things Exchange. Give each member a budget, and encourage them to buy three of their favorite items – this could be a favorite book, snack, even a plant (or set the parameter to be a favorite item that helps them with their job). Then, each team member shares with the group about their item, which will let everyone get to know them a bit better. At the end of the meeting, allow each team member to pick 3 new favorite items shared by their co-workers to bring home. This encourages follow up conversations between staff members, collaboration, and cohesion.
Murder Mystery Activity
Murder Mystery Activities are a fun, unique, and interactive way to get your team working together. There are many different sleuthing stories available online – follow the script and find the murderer together! Not only will your team have fun playing together and solving the pretend-crime, but you may also see a development in calculation and problem solving skills as staff members gather the evidence. If your team can’t meet in person, try utilizing a Virtual Escape Room to have the same unique team problem solving experience online.
Working together to volunteer with a non-profit is a great way to boost team morale while also benefiting the community. While volunteering, your team can gain responsibility as a group and build memories that could never happen inside the corporate framework. This is also a chance to encourage staff to connect with the company’s social values. Clean up a park near your office, collect donations for school supplies for students at a nearby school, or visit a local homeless shelter together to pass out meals.
Get to know the values and interests of your team members through an afternoon of fun and interactive lunch presentations. Ask volunteers to prepare a 2-5 minute informational presentation on something they care about outside of work. Ideas include best hikes in your area, a non-profit they volunteer, top books they read in the last year, the options are endless! Encourage them to be creative and have fun with their topics and images. Creating a sense of whimsy, while also getting to know one another, will encourage camaraderie, and you may even learn something new.
Trivia is an exciting way to get your team’s competitive streak fired up! Perfect for an out of office happy hour, or even as a quick way to break the ice before a meeting. There are even some options that integrate into Slack or Microsoft Teams to send your teams a daily trivia question, which will keep staff members engaged and working together. Try coming up with a series of questions about your company or workplace to get everyone playing along. When setting up your teams, try to intermix staff members and departments so folks can get to know someone new. Amp up the competition by providing a prize to the winning team!
A scavenger hunt is a fun team building exercise that promotes relationship building and communication skills. This is a great activity to break up a meeting with, or to help learn more about team dynamics. As it gets folks active and thinking creatively, new skills are developed. Some ideas for scavenger hunt items include:
- Snap a pic of a coworker wearing the company logo
- Find 2 different colored staplers
- Find the best screen saver
- Take a photo with the biggest office plant
Coffee + Introduction Hour
Studies show that workplace training, mentorship, and ally networks are helpful interventions to improve staff member well-being. Create spaces for co-workers to get together and build connections. This could look like scheduling coffee hours with staff members, intermixing workplace experience, life experience, and more. When staff members can build relationships, they also build trust within the team.
Running Club, Yoga, and Nature Outings
Physical activity has so many mental and physical benefits – reduced stress, increased energy, and more motivation, to name a few. Encourage your teams to take time together to enjoy physical activity to have these effects team-wide. A running club could meet regularly to build relationships, bring in a yoga teacher for a work retreat, or take your team and their family members on a hike to explore your local nature. Be sure to consider the accessibility of your physical activities, and provide alternatives and transportation as needed, so people aren’t left out.
Learning together is one of the best ways to increase collaboration between team members. And, there’s a reason that “breaking bread” is such an important way to affirm trust, confidence, and connection. If you notice a sense of disconnect between team members, consider signing up for a cooking class for your next team building activity. Learning a new skill together will increase team performance, collaboration, and sharing a meal together will help bring your team closer, making them more effective at work.
Core Values Exercise
Identifying personal values is a powerful individual exercise, and even more powerful when you open it up to team values. Begin this exercise by printing and sharing a list of “core values” with your team. Give everyone time to read through, and highlight each of the values that resonate with them. Then, group similar values together into five groups. When you have your five groups, identify an overarching theme or word that sums up the value. Next, create an action statement using this word, for example “act with mindfulness,” or “promote joy.” Go around and have the group share their personal values, then work together as a team to repeat the exercise and identify the team’s values.
Try a Team-Building Activity During a Regular Meeting
Team building isn’t necessarily something that needs to be done as a standalone activity. You can introduce team-building activities into your daily work plan, including before meetings. Icebreaker games are a good way to loosen up before a long meeting, or even in the middle of a meeting as a break. Be sure to tailor your icebreaker activities to the meeting and the attendees.
Overall Intention and Impact
The intention of team building exercises is to deepen team connections, facilitate communication, and increase collaboration. Make sure the activities you’re choosing meet the needs of your employees, and provides an environment that nurtures a positive environment. No matter which team building activity you choose, it won’t matter who won at trivia or which book the book club is reading if your goals are getting met.
Use metrics to determine the success of your teams, get employee feedback on how they felt about the activities, and keep trying. If a team-building activity is a dud, try again!
Contact us to request a demo to see how RallyBright can help your team!