A well-coordinated team is more efficient, productive, and successful — not to mention healthier and more enjoyable to work with.
However, team building at work can be complex, particularly since standard team building exercises elicit more eye rolls than high-fives from coworkers.
Whether you were recruited to put together some team-building efforts or believe your company needs to get together and have fun, workplace team-building activities are the answer.
Hence, we created this post to inspire you to take your workplace team-building activities to the next level.
Our post includes the following:
- What’s a team building activity?
- What’s the purpose of team building activities?
- Main types of team building activities
- Communication team building activities
- Trust-building activities
- Problem-solving team building activities
- Adaptability & planning team building activities
Let’s get reading!
Table of Contents
What’s a Team Building Activity?
What’s the Purpose of Team Building Activities?
4 Main Types of Team Building Activities
9 Communication Team Building Activities
9 Problem-solving Team Building Activities
7 Adaptability & Planning Team Building Activities
What’s a Team Building Activity?
A team building activity is any exercise or activity that builds trust among colleagues and enables individuals to bring their entire range of abilities, personalities, and identities to work.
For example, Build a Tower is a great game to break the ice or involve the whole team.
Divide the whole team into four or five smaller groups, and challenge each group to construct the tallest tower possible using only things they can find in the room.
Encourage team members to be imaginative while constructing their towers, and encourage dialogue so that teams may think and plan together.
Set a height objective for the tower and award the first team who completes a structurally sound building.
Since everyone builds their tower together, this game encourages teamwork and inclusivity.
Teams will also discuss innovative ideas and solutions to build the highest skyscraper possible while protecting it from collapsing.
This is a great team-building activity that involves both ingenuity and creativity.
What’s the Purpose of Team Building Activities?
Achieving outcomes is one of the most compelling motivations for team building activities.
Teams can end up developing a great sense of communication, management, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills.
Moreover, a tight-knit team will guarantee productivity and a pleasant working atmosphere.
Here are nine compelling reasons to begin team building:
- Networking, socializing, and getting to know one another
- Increasing team performance and teamwork
- Celebration, team spirit, entertainment, and inspiration
- Collaboration and promoting creative thinking
- Developing better communication and collaboration
- Improving the company culture
- Creating cross-departmental connections
- Unleashing your leadership skills potential
- Increasing staff morale and engagement
To back up the above-mentioned, a survey by Team Building Hub has confirmed the following:
- 63% of leaders said that team communication increased after engaging in team building activities
- 55% of executives believe that investing more in team building will boost team culture
- 68% of team leaders rank “creating an excellent team culture” as one of their top three objectives; it was ranked the first objective by 27% of those polled
- 73% of employees wish their firm would spend more on team development
- 59% of remote teams employed virtual team building to overcome the limitations of working remotely during COVID-19
4 Main Types of Team Building Activities
Many firms nowadays form diverse teams and depend on the participation of team members to achieve both business and common goals.
Managers must guarantee that their teams operate at their most tremendous capacity by reducing friction among team members.
Therefore, team building exercises are excellent for bringing team members together and training them on how to deal with their colleagues’ personalities, abilities, and shortcomings.
Effective team building tactics may help workers collaborate and play to the strengths of each member.
Moreover, leaders can pick from four team building approaches to assist their teams in achieving specific objectives.
1. Communication activities
One of the critical goals of team building activities is to increase workplace communication.
Exercises can help workers feel more at ease, making communication more fluid and natural.
Overall, communication is essential for good corporate operations and an open team atmosphere, whether they speak in-person or over email and using internal communication tools.
2. Trust-building activities
Trust is essential for any group because it helps guarantee that each member remains calm while participating in a team building activity.
A more relaxed dynamic can be created if each team member trusts that all other members are competent enough to execute their various roles.
Furthermore, trust can have a significant impact on productivity during team-building activities.
3. Problem-solving and decision-making activities
It’s sometimes beneficial for teams to examine their internal dynamics and identify issues inside the workplace, such as process strategy, low morale, or a lack of communication.
The problem-solving and decision-making-based team development method is intended to do just that.
This method often includes an outside consultant at a retreat.
Furthermore, the team leader guides teams through a sequence of tasks that help them focus on problems and work collaboratively to solve them.
This strategy can be an excellent way to help teams relax and increase interpersonal connections by openly addressing the entire group’s difficulties.
4. Adaptability and planning activities
These team development activities concentrate on the characteristics of planning and adaptability to change.
When faced with complex tasks or choices, these are crucial skills for entire teams.
Moreover, this sort of team building activity aims to demonstrate the significance of planning before executing a solution.
9 Communication Team Building Activities
Your team members must express their demands and updates when working as a group.
Having excellent communication skills is vital for all teams– whether they’re entirely remote, hybrid, or working physically in the office.
Communication team-building exercises emphasize the development of such abilities in enjoyable games that require individuals to use language to describe themselves.
1. Barter Puzzle
This exercise involves 4 small groups, each with a jigsaw puzzle.
Divide your participants into equal-sized groups and offer each one a jigsaw puzzle of the same difficulty level.
The groups will then compete to determine who can finish their puzzles the fastest.
In addition, the surprise is that certain parts will be mixed in with other groups’ puzzles.
The teams must locate the mismatched pieces and devise a strategy to reclaim their own.
They can use whatever means they desire, such as negotiating, trading components, or exchanging team members.
2. Island Survival Game
Divide 5-10 people into teams, then provide them with a scenario where they are stuck on an island after a shipwreck and find goods washing up on the beach.
Give them a list of 20 objects and tell them they can only retain five.
Moreover, they must then collaborate to decide which objects to retain.
When everyone is through, each group presents to the other groups the objects they retained and why.
This exercise not only helps team members develop communication skills, but it also leads to better collaboration and teamwork.
3. Back-to-Back Drawing
You’ll need an even number of team members for this exercise so that everyone has a partner.
Sit or stand back to back after everyone has been paired off. You may draw on a whiteboard or with a pen and sheets of paper.
One person will play the role of the speaker, while the other will play the part of the listener.
For five to ten minutes, the speaker will explain a geometric picture drawn from a prepared deck of cards, and the listener will attempt to remove the image based only on the speaker’s description.
Following that, describe the efforts taken to ensure the instructions were clear and how this may be inferred in real-life encounters.
The individual sketching may also discuss what was helpful about the directions and what they would have done differently if they had been allowed to communicate back to the speaker.
4. Virtual Escape Room
Since physical escape rooms are no longer accessible due to the pandemic, a virtual escape room delivers the mystery to your employees’ homes!
Based on the escape room you pick, team members must navigate several areas, solve riddles, investigate a murder, and much more.
It’s as much fun as it sounds and fosters employee teamwork and communication.
The problem-solving game Frostbite requires effective communication.
In this game, participants are arctic adventurers who must construct a shelter to endure the severe winter cold.
The group facilitator, however, has frostbitten hands, and the rest of the party is snowblind due to an unexpected snowstorm.
Moreover, the teammates who are ‘following’ are blindfolded, and the leader must guide the group through the process of creating a shelter.
Players can construct whole tents or shelter replicas out of cards and tape.
The gamemaster then puts on a fan before the shelter to see whether it can resist the frigid winds.
6. Zen Counting Game
For this activity, arrange your team in a circle facing one another.
Start counting from one to ten in no particular order — or higher if you have additional team members — with each member uttering just one number.
If someone speaks over someone else or repeats a number, the activity is reset to one.
Additionally, this practice promotes quiet and motivates team members to pay careful attention to one another, which enhances employee engagement.
7. The Human Knot
This activity will require 8-20 people.
Make a circle with all your participants facing each other and close enough to be shoulder-to-shoulder.
Everyone will extend their right hand and hold the hand of the person across from them.
The group must figure out a way to unravel the arm knot in a certain period of time without ever separating their hands.
8. Lip Reading Liars
One of the most entertaining team communication games is Lip Reading Liars.
This game may be played in-person, online, or in a mixed work context.
The idea behind this game is that chosen players must figure out the meaning of a scene without using sound.
Per round, one or two players either wear noise-canceling earbuds or turn off their computer’s sound.
Then, 2-4 more participants act out a scenario for three minutes or less.
Also, to figure out the intricacies of the situation, the interpreters must attempt to analyze lips and body language.
When the sketch is over, listeners remove their headphones, restart the audio, and recap the situation.
9. What’s My Name Game
You’ve probably heard of this game before.
It goes by several names, and the higher the number of participants, the better it becomes.
What’s My Name is a game in which each participant is given the name of a person, dead or living, and must display that name on their back, head, or other portion of their body such that only the other participants can read it.
These names can be written on index cards or Post-it cards.
After giving each team member a name, the players’ mix, treating their colleagues the way they would treat the person mentioned on that coworker’s card.
They may also inquire about their own concealed identity until they figure it out.
Moreover, What’s My Name features no intricate rules or competitive elements.
It’s an empathy-builder (which is a necessary component of excellent corporate culture) that allows team members to experience what it’s like to be treated in the manner that someone widely different from them would be handled every day.
10 Trust-Building Activities
One of the simplest methods to boost employee morale is to schedule trust-building events regularly.
Based on the size of your firm, you may want to do it once a month or once a quarter.
1. Blindfolded Cooking
This trust-building exercise is similar to the trust walk; only you’re cooking instead of strolling.
This one may be a tad more challenging to pull off without planning, but it’s well worth it since it’s so much fun and fosters a lot of trust and connection among team members.
First, decide what you want to cook or bake; baking can be more straightforward since it does not require knives or cutting.
Then divide your squad into 2-4 groups.
Blindfold one or two teammates (depending on the group size).
Then, let the other team members read the recipe and offer directions while the blind member performs the activities.
2. The 5-minute lecture
Each team member has 5 minutes to lecture on any subject of their choice during this trust-building exercise (give team members at least a week to prepare).
The subject might be anything they are interested in or are passionate about, such as history or science; it can also be about them.
The team members then deliver their lectures to the remainder of the group.
Based on the size of the team and their schedule, this may be done all at once or spaced out over a few weeks.
This task is straightforward online, making it ideal for distant teams.
When someone is enthusiastic about something, you get to know a different side of them than when they are just doing their job.
3. Dragon’s Tower
This game requires numerous teams of 3 members each.
The team members are then divided into three groups: the quiet one, the talker, and the tracker.
Make the quiet one face the action area, and the talker face the silent one.
Also, the tracker must go from one side of the activity area to the other, obtain an item, and return it.
The quiet one observes the tracker’s actions and communicates with the talker via nonverbal signals.
Then, the talker interprets the tracker’s motions into spoken commands. The first team to recover and return their item wins.
4. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts can be an excellent ice breaker for new teams and hires to get to know their team.
The game requires them to identify things around the workplace and ask seasoned staff office trivia such as “When was [company] founded?” or “Who was our first customer?” or “How many people are working on the marketing team?”
Of course, new hires won’t be as experienced as other team members, so set up old workers with newer ones.
Moreover, this activity will inspire employees to start building blocks for a more friendly foundation rather than just focusing on their typical job.
5. Brainstorming Session
Brainstorming can undoubtedly be work-focused, typically the most significant kind.
The idea is to focus these brainstorming sessions on larger team objectives rather than day-to-day results.
Perhaps you might establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the remainder of the quarter.
Maybe you’d like to brainstorm some fresh campaign concepts.
In addition, perhaps your team’s approach has become stale, and you’re seeking methods to revitalize it.
Whatever your purpose, consider arranging your discourse using one of the following ideas:
An idea board: It’s the most basic form of brainstorming.
Give everyone a schedule ahead of time and ask them to bring three to 5 suggestions to the meeting.
Then, discuss them and invite others to add their comments, questions, or concerns.
Fist to five: Gather everyone’s ideas for an issue, then go through them one by one by sticking up a fist or several fingers up to five.
A fist indicates opposition, whereas five fingers up indicate enthusiasm.
Then, have everyone explain why they picked the fingers they did.
6. Take an Improv Class
An improv class allows coworkers to communicate in novel and exciting ways while learning more about one another.
It also motivates individuals to work together and take risks together.
Improv comedy may not be everyone’s first option, but it can provide a comfort zone and a delightful atmosphere for employees to open up, which may gradually build psychological security.
7. Lunch-and-Learn Event
Your team will likely be full of unspoken talent; harness those talents to bring everyone together.
Perhaps someone is an excellent knitter, knows another language, or is an Excel whiz.
Allow them to conduct a “lunch and learn” event during which they teach the rest of the team a new skill during your noon break.
Hence, your staff will experience coaching and presenting, and your team will discover something new and intriguing about their colleagues.
8. Home Workspace Tour
Because home and work settings have fused with remote work, workers no longer have the opportunity to exhibit their personality via workplace design.
Employees at physical workplaces frequently adorn their desks with family photographs, trinkets, and souvenirs from recent journeys, holidays, etc.
Moreover, a team may plan a Zoom group meeting for every employee to offer a tour of their new work during a home workspace tour.
This exercise allows teammates to experience their colleagues’ workspaces, make ideas to improve particular features and be motivated to upgrade their workspaces with gadgets, office supplies, or plants.
Overall, activities like these enable workers to give a window into their office and homes, fostering a more profound feeling of connection and trust among colleagues, which may even lead to creating friendships and a sense of camaraderie, particularly for new workers on the team.
9. Two Truths and One Lie
This game can be played with as many or as few people as you choose, and it’s also a terrific team building game to do online.
Instruct each group member to jot down two truths and a lie about themselves.
Then, have each group member discuss what they’ve written and have the other team members determine which assertion is false.
10. Icebreaker Questions Game
After a lengthy day of Zoom meetings, countless work messages on Slack or Discord, and little to no social or personal connection with peers, remote work may be stressful, lonely, and tiring.
Icebreaker questions are a simple team-building exercise that, when done correctly, may assist in alleviating team tension and anxiety.
They may cover many themes, and several tools help you get started.
To get you started, here are some fun icebreaker questions:
- How often do you typically work from your bed?
- When was the last time you worked out?
- What is your favorite emoji to use in business conversations?
- What song would serve as the soundtrack to your life in the age of remote work?
Moreover, icebreaker games like these are a fun way to start meetings, break up the monotony of long days at work, and engage staff in a fun game situation and personal manner.
These questions may be used at any point throughout the day and polled on Slack or Discord.
9 Problem-solving Team Building Activities
Problem-solving team building activities are designed to get groups of people working together to solve challenging issues or make complicated judgments.
These activities tend to have the most direct relationship to what employers want their teams to be able to achieve, making them among the most prevalent in team building events.
This form of team building activity aims to provide the team with an issue for which the answer is not apparent or needs the team to think creatively.
1. Egg Drop
Every workday, you are compelled to make many choices, whether they are hugely significant or so tiny that you scarcely notice them.
However, your ability to make sound judgments is crucial in addressing difficulties swiftly and efficiently.
That’s precisely what your team will learn to accomplish using a traditional team building problem-solving exercise like the Egg Drop.
For this project, you’ll need some eggs, building supplies, and a spot you don’t mind getting splattered with eggshells and yolks.
This task aims to develop a device that will surround an egg and protect it from a fall, whether from a standing height or the top of a building.
However, you and your team will only have a time limit to create it before testing it, so you must think fast!
To make things even more complicated, you’ll have to construct the casing out of basic materials such as:
- Cotton swabs
- Plastic wrap
- Elastic bands
- Cotton swabs
Also, feel free to experiment with different materials.
Use anything you believe will be helpful without making things too simple!
Allow your team 15 minutes to build their egg cases before dropping their eggs.
If numerous eggs survive, progressively raise the height to discover who built the strongest contraption.
2. Domino Effect Challenge
Many difficulties or challenges, particularly in the business sector, entail numerous separate teams or departments working through their aspects of a problem before coming together to provide a holistic solution.
As you may expect, this is frequently easier said than done.
That is why it is critical to develop this skill.
That’s precisely what you’ll need to accomplish with a collaborative team building problem-solving exercise like the Domino Effect Challenge, as you and your group strive to construct a large, fully working chain reaction machine.
This is how it goes:
Your group will be divided into teams, each working on their component of a giant “Rube Goldberg” machine.
Then, all units will come together to build the entire device.
To make your chain reaction machine go smoothly from start to end–you’ll need to practice communication, teamwork, and problem solving while on the move.
3. Virtual Code Break
With Virtual Code Break, you and your team can learn to think flexibly and dynamically to face new difficulties.
In this activity, your group will join through a video conference room, and the event host will divide you into teams.
You’ll have to adjust your problem-solving abilities as you race against the clock to complete a range of brain teaser problems ranging from Sudoku to puzzles and even trivia questions.
4. The Marshmallow & Spaghetti Tower
The spaghetti tower is one of the traditional and fun team building activities that are also a fantastic way to use up any leftover pasta in your kitchen.
Participants collect uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows to construct the largest tower possible.
Aside from structural soundness, teams are judged on three important factors: the number of towers, tower height, and uniformity.
Do you have a remote team? Then, instead of constructing a single big freestanding tower, participants in the virtual team building version can design their structures.
5. Wild Goose Chase
In this smartphone-based scavenger hunt team building exercise, your group will be divided into teams and perform exciting tasks across the city by shooting photographs and videos.
Some challenges you may encounter in this game include:
Parkour: Photograph three team members leaping over an obstacle at least waist-high.
Great mind: Take a picture of a team member demonstrating a well-known mathematical theorem on a whiteboard.
Dog love: Take a picture of your whole squad petting a stranger’s dog.
6. Shrinking Vessel
Make a space on the floor with a rope and get your whole team there.
Then, continue to reduce the circumference so that your team must find imaginative solutions to remain inside the smaller boundaries.
This activity is one of the best team building activities that aid in developing innovative and fast problem-solving abilities.
It also promotes positive thinking in stressful situations and encourages people to work together to accomplish a shared objective.
7. Organizational Jenga
Consider the board game Jenga with a twist; divide your group into small teams and give each group an equal number of wooden blocks or a Jenga set!
After everyone has constructed their structures according to the business hierarchy, divide resources equitably across each group to be balanced in size and kind.
The fun begins now, as you will take turns removing one brick at a time without harming any other pieces on that level- if it has too much weight on top, it will crash!
This activity has individuals consider what happens when we don’t have the right people for every job.
In addition, this group exercise is ideal for teams of up to 6 people.
8. Web of Wools
Divide your squad into equal members for this game.
Form a “web of wools” with your team that is as complicated as they can handle; your teams should entangle themselves with yarn or thread.
Then, swap teams so that each person has a distinct web.
Allow one team member on each side to be blindfolded and try to untangle each web using only the instructions the other team members supplied.
Whoever finishes it first wins!
This is a pretty challenging game with its own set of problems since the blinded individual must balance their personal preferences and intuition with the directions of the rest of the group.
Overall, this is an excellent team-building exercise that combines communication and problem-solving.
9. Team Pursuit
Each member of your team has distinct talents and abilities.
By learning to combine those talents, you can conquer any difficulty and solve any issue.
With Team Pursuit, you and your team will face challenges while learning new things about one another, discovering hidden skills, and learning to depend on one another.
This problem-solving team building game is ideal for smaller teams of high-energy people who like putting their heads together and working strategically to solve challenges as a group.
7 Adaptability & Planning Team Building Activities
You want your personnel to adapt to changes swiftly and make sound decisions.
The most straightforward approach to do this is to improve their adaptation abilities.
As a result, certain change management and adaptation activities are recommended.
1. Alien at Dinner
This is an excellent practice for increasing adaptation and dealing with change.
Participants must dress as aliens and eat with humans in this scenario.
You can start by making plans for lunch or dinner in the dining room before you begin.
Divide the staff into groups and invite them to the dining room, then request that they take their seats.
Next, advise each participant to think of themselves as an alien and the other participants, including teammates, as humans.
Then, serve the meal and wish them a pleasant evening.
During dinner, each participant should observe how people eat and converse.
Finally, let each alien recognize the distinct human behavior.
In addition, take note that you should provide some kind of cuisine for your staff and invite them to dress up as aliens for the greatest outcome.
If you can’t prepare a huge meal, try some snacks such as burgers, chips, and so on, depending on your budget.
2. Can-do Company
Divide the staff into groups of 5 or 6 and encourage them to develop a basic, enjoyable business concept to present to the whole group.
Assign a role to each team member, such as planning, design, or sales.
Allow the groups to plan for 10 minutes before moving a few individuals from each group to other groups.
Then add one additional criterion that the company concept must meet.
Given the new knowledge, give the groups another 10 minutes to plan; each group presents its concept after the session, and everyone votes on the best one.
This exercise highlights the necessity of flexibility throughout the planning process.
It replicates the need to operate as a team, even while the unit is changing, and to accept the views of others.
After the finish line, encourage staff to think about the benefits of having a fresh viewpoint on the team: How did the final product differ between the first and second rounds of planning?
3. The Tag-team Game
Startup employees benefit more from the tag team game than any other segment as they learn more about their new colleagues and skills.
This game is also a cool option for onboarding activities.
In this activity, each group must build a “virtual teammate” by integrating all of its teammates’ abilities and qualities.
Divide the employees into small groups initially.
Then, have each member write out their abilities and qualities to help their team succeed and share them with their colleagues.
Instruct each group to build a “virtual teammate” by combining all of their abilities and qualities and writing a brief biography about them.
Finally, each group should discuss their findings with the other groups so that everyone may assess their strengths and flaws.
This activity tackles the following issues:
- How did you adjust to the new situation?
- Did you wish to enhance a skill or overcome certain shortcomings?
- What skills do you need to learn to cope with change?
4. Four P’s
Create 4 columns on a wide piece of paper or board, one for each of the following words: Project, Purpose, Particulars, and People.
Then, fill each column with how the group believes a specific change will influence those four entities.
Change managers can address workers’ worries more effectively about how a change will impact specific items by asking them to express their concerns.
Generally, discussing these issues can help workers realize the actual impact of the change and lessen resistance.
5. Flying Balloons
This is a good one to try if you’re searching for adaptation games that need a lot of energy.
This practice may improve company morale and motivate your employees to take on new tasks.
To begin, assign several balloons to each group based on their size.
Make sure that everyone in a group has the same color balloons.
No two groups, however, should have the same color balloons.
Next, the team will be instructed to send their balloons into the air and hold them there without falling.
Then, they can strike them with their fists or heads, but they are not permitted to grasp them.
Remove any balloons that have fallen to the ground; finally, determine whose team retained the most balloons in the air.
6. Puzzled Hands Game
This is a typical team building activity for adaptability and challenge. Your staff will learn the value of adaptation in teamwork here.
First, tell each team to form a circle.
Then, using their right hand, each participant should grasp the right hand of the person standing across the circle.
Then, using their left hand, each individual should clasp the left hand of a separate person. Nobody can grip the hand of someone standing right next to them.
Now, ask them to untangle everyone while maintaining their ties.
7. Web Passage
Web passage is an adaptive exercise that may be both tough and entertaining, as it inspires your staff to think outside the box and tackle complicated challenges.
Make a spider web between two pillars or trees; you can do this by using a nylon cord.
Then tell each team to navigate the spider web; they should not come into contact with the internet.
They should also not go over, under, or around the web.
In addition, if somebody touches anything, they should go back and restart.
Finally, look at who did well.
Now Over to You
A simple karaoke night, having a game show night, or even playing Pictionary or building legos can do wonders, as the simplest activities can have the most significant impact.
Remember that team members are more inclined to accept the value each team member offers to the organization when they understand their colleagues’ variations in communication styles, thinking processes, and other strengths and shortcomings.
Only by including all team members and playing to their strengths can the whole team genuinely develop and succeed.
If you have any further questions or look forward to combining thoughtful branded items with your team building activities, feel free to message us anytime.
We can’t wait to hear from you.