Team building is important for uniting coworkers, working on strengths and weaknesses, and boosting employee morale.
If the phrase “team bonding” has you thinking of trust falls or the name game, you’re not alone. So how can we elevate team building exercises from the same old thing to something fresh and exciting?
Believe it or not, activities do exist that are fun, unique, and great at bringing coworkers together. They can range from a simple game to start off a meeting, to a day-long offsite. For team bonding ideas that are actually enjoyable, look no further.
Team building exercises don't have to exclusively focus on work. You could try a game like “Two Truths and a Lie” before kicking off your next meeting.
Each person tells two truths and one lie about themselves, and the others in the group have to guess which is the lie. This is a fun way to learn interesting tidbits about each other.
Another simple but awesome way to ease into a meeting is asking each team member a silly or thought-provoking question.
At Justworks, every new employee is introduced to the company at the weekly all hands meeting and has to answer the question of what was their first concert. It's a fun way to get a peek into new employees' personalities.
Sometimes it's worth taking a hint from Jimmy Fallon. Split your office up into teams, have them pick songs a day or two in advance, put on a show, and vote! Yes, this one is quite silly, but is guaranteed to bring people together.
Whether it’s taking a day to volunteer each year, partnering with a non-profit that ties into your corporate philanthropy, or implementing an Adopt-a-Family program in your office for the holidays, doing good together will help you grow as a team.
A great way to encourage this is by offering paid time off for volunteering that’s separate from regular vacation time. Justworks employees, for example, get five days (40 hours) per year of paid volunteer time.
Related Article: Crafting a PTO Policy for Your Growing Business
A good old fashioned scavenger hunt always brings out the teamwork in everyone. Sure it involves some work to set up, but the rewards make it worth the time.
In certain cities, like New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., you can take your team to a famous museum for a tour with Museum Hack. This company designs scavenger hunts tailored to your team building goals. You also get to see cool parts of the museum that the general public does not.
This activity is a great way to work through problems in a constructive manner. Have everyone write down an issue at work that has been bothering them, like a difficult problem on a certain project, on a small piece of paper. Then toss all the papers in a hat.
Separate the team into groups, and one by one, have each group grab a few problems at random and brainstorm solutions. After some time has passed, each team can read their problems and solutions aloud to the group. It’s a great way to get help, work together, and build strength within your team.
Compile some office and non-office related questions, split up into teams, appoint a moderator or question reader, and have a trivia day!
You could include observational questions, like “How many desks are in the office?”; questions specific to your team members, like “How many people in the office were born in the spring?”; or even, “When was our company founded?”
Throw in some inside jokes and pop culture questions as well. Have snacks of course, and prizes for the winners. This activity will get people comfortable and having fun.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out this post from SnackNation: 59 Employee Engagement Ideas You Need to Know About
Cooking with a group takes teamwork, patience, and precision. It's a great way to strengthen your team.
You could take a class at a local restaurant, or work with a company that specializes in company events. Some programs even offer challenges you might see on a cooking show, with mystery ingredients and culinary scavenger hunts.
This is another team building exercise that’s actually, well, exercise. It’s competitive and fun - and you can even tie in philanthropy by doing a run like Relay for Life, or a similar event that supports a cause that’s important to your team.
Bear in mind that an activity like this may not be inclusive of certain folks with injuries or disabilities, or people who just don’t like running. You might consider pairing this with another activity that everyone can participate in and enjoy.
Write some work-related subjects on poster board or post-its, then have everyone pick one and share a memory related to that topic.
Some subjects can include, “late night,” “work travel,” “working together,” “my first day,” etc. This one really gets people bonding and feeling positive about the company by sharing their experiences.
Keep this seasonal activity in mind when the holidays roll around. Whether it’s asking everyone to decorate their door in a holiday theme, or having each team or row of desks compete against each other in a creativity contest, you’re bound to have fun. Make sure the decorations are representative of all the traditions your coworkers celebrate, and not just one group or religion.
Whether you organize your own or find a venue that can help you out, having a day of sporting events is fun, competitive, and takes a boatload of teamwork. Get creative with the types of activities on the schedule so that everyone can feel included. Not everything has to be an athletic contest - try the egg drop game, or even a round of charades or pictionary.
If Office Olympics feels too complicated to organize, consider taking teams out for fun group activities like bowling or mini golf.
While we’re on the subject of activities that are competitive and fun, another option is hosting a board game event. It’s easy to host in the office, super inclusive, and easy on the budget too.
Pick up a few of your favorite board games, or ask your team for suggestions. Split people into groups, and try having them rotate so everyone gets a chance to play different games. You could hold the board game break during work hours so everyone can attend, or make it part of an after-work happy hour.
The ropes course: a true team building classic. Maybe you remember them from a long-ago school field trip, but they’re great for adult team building, too. A ropes course will have coworkers depending on each other, physically and mentally.
Plus, they’re fun. Who wouldn’t rather be on a zip line than in the office?
Update: Looking for more ways to create a great work environment for your entire team? Check out our post on offering employee benefits in a multigenerational workplace.
Survey your team on what type of activities they'd actually be interested in doing. People come up with creative, awesome ideas - some of which may surprise you. You’ll end up planning something they’ll really like. And hopefully, your team will bond, grow, and have fun.
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