Team building activities aren’t just fun ways to pass the time at a retreat or work-related event. They add value to your workgroup and your organization. By working together on tasks and challenges, your team strengthens a wide range of skills, such as:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
What’s more, team-building activities for work events and retreats help bring team members together. By strengthening work relationships, team-building activities help create a more positive and harmonious environment at the workplace.
Are you planning a team-building event this year? If so, you might wonder which activities and games you should do. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most popular and effective team-building activities below.
Team-building Activities for Work Groups and Teams
Activity 1: Two Truths, One Lie
This classic team-building exercise encourages participants to learn more about each other. It’s great for breaking the ice, and your team is sure to have a few laughs trying to figure out what’s true and what’s not about their co-workers.
What You’ll Need:
Paper and pens
1. Have each group member tell two facts and one false statement about themselves. Participants can use the paper and pens to write them down beforehand so they will remember what to say when it’s their turn to speak.
2. The rest of the team tries to determine which statements are true and which are false.
3. When someone gets it right, the speaker is encouraged to share the backstory behind their statements. Not only does this lead to shared laughs, but it also helps build trust and connection within the team.
Activity 2: Show and Tell
Remember the fun Show and Tell sessions you used to have at school? This activity is just like that.
Show and Tell is an excellent way for team members to learn more about each other while building trust. What’s more, it can be done virtually through a conferencing or video call app. This makes it ideal for remote workgroups.
What You’ll Need:
Something participants want to talk about and show to their co-workers
1. Before the day of the activity, ask team members to bring something unique to work. Or, if you’re doing the exercise remotely, ask the participants to prepare a special object they want to show their co-workers. This could be anything, from a favorite book to a photo of a beloved pet, as long as it’s work-appropriate.
2. During the Show and Tell activity, allow each participant two minutes to show and discuss their loved or special object.
3. Allow other participants to ask the speaker questions about what they showed.
Activity 3: Office FM
Who doesn’t love music? This activity harnesses the power of music to bring people together, boost morale and create a positive work environment. Best of all, you can do this regularly.
What You’ll Need:
- Access to a music streaming app
- Earphones for each team member
1. Office FM is not a game per se but a collaborative project that involves music. To start, create a playlist on a streaming service and invite team members to contribute to it.
2. To make it more interesting, team leaders can suggest a theme every week. Alternatively, team members can take turns choosing a theme.
3. Each team member should contribute two songs each to the playlist.
4. The playlist should be made visible to everyone on the team. Earphones are a must, as playing music over speakers at the office can be distracting.
Activity 4: Blindfolded Retriever
This activity helps improve communication and listening skills. What’s more, it’s sure to get everybody laughing and having fun.
What You’ll Need:
- Any object (but make sure it doesn’t have sharp corners)
- Two or more blindfolds
1. Designate a starting line for the game.
2. Divide the team into smaller groups.
3. One member of each group must be blindfolded. Once this is done, you or the facilitator should put the object somewhere in the room.
4. On the word “Go,” teams must guide their blindfolded co-worker to the object. Note that the other team members must stay within the starting line, and they can only give commands verbally. They cannot use touch to guide the blindfolded teammate to the goal.
5. Whoever gets to the object first is the winner!
Activity 5: All Tied Up
How well does your team work together? Find out in one of the most fun team-building activities you can try. Not only is it entertaining: “All Tied Up” challenges participants’ collaborative skills and patience at the same time.
What You’ll Need:
- Rope or string
1. Divide the team into smaller groups or pairs if there aren’t enough people.
2. Have participants in each group stand in a circle, facing inward. Then, tie their hands together so everyone is “all tied up.”
3. Have each group or pair perform a simple task while tied together. Some examples are:
- Tying each other’s shoelaces
- Wrapping a gift
- Drawing a picture
- Pouring a cup of water from a pitcher
Activity 6: Scavenger Hunt
One of the great things about this activity is that almost everyone has played one form or another. Scavenger Hunts are great for teaching problem-solving abilities and deductive reasoning.
Don’t hesitate to be creative with the clues and hiding places!
What You’ll Need:
Objects to hide and find (to make it more fun, use interesting things, like toys and stuffed animals)
1. Create clues that are relevant to the objects. For instance, a hint for a baseball could be “something round and stitched together.”
2. Hide objects throughout the designated game area. This could be indoors, such as in a conference room or event hall, or outdoors, such as a park.
3. Set a duration for the game. Depending on how many objects need to be found and the size of the groups, this could take anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours.
4. Split your team into groups, and provide each one with the first clue.
5. Once the item is found, the clue for the next object is given.
6. The goal of the activity is to find all the items on the list as quickly as possible. So, the team that finds all the hidden objects fastest wins.
Activity 7: Office Escape
Escape rooms are for more than just friend groups eager for adventure. They’re also perfect for team bonding activities.
An escape room is a game wherein players are locked into a room. To get out, they have to find clues and solve puzzles before the timer runs out.
You can set up your own escape room at your workplace. While it won’t be as realistic as commercial escape rooms, it can still be a challenging and engaging activity that will thrill your team. What’s more, escape rooms are great for strengthening critical thinking and problem-solving skills, improving communication and fostering teamwork.
What You’ll Need
- A large, enclosed space, like a conference room or empty office
- A storyline – You can develop one yourself or search online for possible storylines. Some popular themes are fantasy, thriller and murder-mystery.
- Challenges, puzzles and riddles
1. First, draft a storyline. It helps to identify the objective first, such as solving a crime or developing a cure for a zombie virus. Then, create riddles, puzzles and quests that, when solved, will get participants all the way to their goal.
2. Once your escape room has been set up, brief your team on the story, the objective and the time limit.
3. Participants must work as a team to solve the challenges, complete their mission and exit the escape room.
Activity 8: Do Volunteer Work as a Team
Team-building activities for work don’t always have to involve games and challenges. Volunteering together can be a great way to strengthen your team’s bonds while making a difference in the community.
With so many nonprofit organizations looking for helping hands, you will be able to find the perfect volunteer opportunity for your team easily. Some examples of charitable team-building activities you can do are:
- Volunteering at a local food bank
- Helping out at charity events, such as 5k races and benefit concerts
- Holding a food drive
- Putting together care packages for low-income families in the community
- Picking up litter at a local park
Team volunteering helps improve your team’s effectiveness and ability to work together for a common goal. Also, participants can leverage their skills in new ways to help others in need.
For instance, your marketing team can help make flyers for and advertise fundraising events. Additionally, volunteering together boosts morale and creates a sense of pride and accomplishment as a team.
Activity 9: What’s In Your Wallet/Bag?
This activity serves as a great icebreaker, making it ideal for teams with a mixture of new hires and seasoned employees. It empowers participants to find common ground with their co-workers as well as assists with relationship-building and promoting a positive work environment.
What You’ll Need:
Participants should have their wallets, bags or purses with them during the game.
1. This game is best for smaller groups. If you have a large team, you may split it into groups of three or four.
2. Ask each participant to take out their wallet, bag or purse, find one item that is important to them and share a story explaining why they chose it.
3. Give each participant one minute to talk.
Participants will have a great time listening to the stories behind the things their co-workers deem essential, such as a picture of their pet, the movie ticket from their first date with their spouse or a bag of candy. After the activity, participants will have learned something new about their co-workers, allowing them to connect on a deeper level and making talking to each other at work less awkward.
Activity 10: Hold a Team-Building Retreat
A team-building retreat, whether it takes place on a single day or over the course of a few days, is a great way to show your employees that you value them and their work. It’s like a mini-holiday that takes them out of their daily routine while helping strengthen team skills, boosting morale and improving communication.
Organizing a team-building retreat can be challenging, especially if you have a large team. You’d have to book a venue and hotel rooms, find transportation, arrange for catering and perform a myriad of other tasks to ensure the retreat is a success.
Fortunately, companies such as Group Dynamix can take care of the planning and organizing for you and your team. All you need to do is show up!
Get the Most Out of Team Building Activities for Work With a Debrief
After a team-building activity, it’s essential to take some time to debrief the participants. A debrief allows them to reflect on and discuss their experiences as well as explore how they can apply the insights they’ve learned to their work.
During the debriefing, the facilitator should ask probing questions to help focus the discussion. Some questions you could ask are:
- How do you feel now that the activity is finished?
- What did you learn about your teammates?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- How can you apply what you’ve learned to your work?
- What are your key takeaways from this activity?
- Would you do anything differently next time?
- Did you listen to others in the team?
- How did you communicate your ideas?
The debriefing should be a positive experience, and participants should feel free to answer honestly. Create a safe space so that they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, and show that you’re paying attention to their answers by asking follow-up questions.
When done correctly, a debriefing can help you build a stronger, more connected team.
Get Expert Help With Organizing Your Team-building Event
Group Dynamix is a company that specializes in organizing and hosting team-building events that connect participants in meaningful and engaging ways. Professional facilitators lead our fun, interactive and purposeful events to ensure a seamless and stress-free experience for our clients. If you have specific needs or goals, you can rely on us to tailor our events to meet them.