Team building initiatives have been around for many decades, and there are good reasons. Team building activities for work are successful ways to boost employee engagement.
Did you know that companies with a higher employee engagement rate show a higher profitability rate by 21%?
If you're looking for ways to create teams within your business that work together like a well-oiled machine, then team building activities for work are the way to go.
Keep reading to find out 26 exercises that can help you create a dream team.
Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.
- Why do team building activities for work?
- 26 Team building exercises to create a dream team
- Winning with team building activities for work
Why do team building activities for work?
One of the most significant characteristics of team-building exercises is that your approach and objectives can vary vastly from one activity to the next.
Why do we say this?
You can use different exercises to promote trust between team members or use a different exercise to encourage open communication and transparency. There are so many options for team-building exercises that you might even feel overwhelmed when choosing what activities to do with your team.
Incorporating team-building exercises into your year periodically can make your team stronger, more dynamic, and much more successful through how they work together.
Team-building also has a social side to it, which means that your team members can get to know each other on a deeper level than just passing one other at the coffee station in the morning. This can promote better communication and a better understanding of working with different individuals.
Using team building
There are no qualms about it; teams work better when they work together on all levels. But teams are made of people, and people are just human, so sometimes they don't just 'click' immediately.
Team building activities for work will create a collaborative environment for your team members to bond, creating a more effective team.
Some teams may not seem like the right fit from the start, but after some serious collaborative team-building activities, you can see the dynamic begin to change.
The thing about team-building activities for work is that they can promote productivity through exercises that you choose to do with your team.
It doesn't mean that you need to continually force the message of productivity at them, but rather create a sense of balancing their workload and showing them how they can tackle obstacles together.
Teams change and evolve, and sometimes a team that works on one project may need to tackle a different project in time. The more resources they have at their tips, the more enabled they will feel to take on work that initially they may have felt out of their skillset.
As new employees join the team or team members take on different responsibilities, you can use team-building to educate your team members and enhance their experience and skillset.
Even if your business is implementing new processes, team-building is a great way to educate your employees and get them on board with the changes.
Morale is directly tied to the level at which your employees are engaged with your brand and your business.
Team-building will increase morale as the team achieves more together; it's that simple. The gist is that happy teams will be more productive, your absenteeism rate will drop, and your business will become more profitable.
Through team building activities for work, you can help your employees understand your business's higher-level objectives and goals.
If a team understands how their tasks and work contribute to the business's overall success, they will, in turn, believe that their deliverables are essential and valued.
26 Team building exercises to create a dream team
Now that you know precisely why you should be partaking in team-building activities, let's dive into the 26 team building activities for work that you can use to create a dream team. Everything from trust exercises to social sharing, we've got you covered.
1. Social Facts Exercise
This activity is excellent for getting the team to open up about themselves and better understand each other. Get everyone together in a room, use something small like paperclips or even little sweets.
Pass around the bowl and get everybody to take out anything from one to a million of whatever item you've placed in the bowl. Once everyone has a handful, tell them that the number they hold indicates the number of facts that they need to share about themselves.
2. Doing The Egg Drop
This one is great fun and promotes initiative and teamwork.
The idea is simple, divide everyone into smaller teams and hand them their 'egg drop' box. In here, they will have a raw egg, tape, newspaper or magazine pages, plastic, a balloon or three, rubber bands, and straws.
Their objective is to build something together to allow the uncooked egg to survive a two-story drop without breaking.
3. The Mine Field
The activity is one that focuses on trust and open communication.
Find a large open space like an outside area or parking lot.
Section out a square on the floor, place pieces of paper sporadically. These pieces of paper become the mines. In amongst your mines, you should place other inanimate objects like toys or stationery.
One team member is blindfolded, and the remainder of their team have to verbally guide them through the minefield to pick up their prizes. The team that completes the exercise without standing on a mine in the quickest time is the winners.
4. Lego Land
What a great activity to bring out the youthful, playful side of your employees.
Bring in a whole bunch of lego, and separate teams into smaller groups.
Pick a category, something like famous landmarks throughout the world, or our country. Write these down on small pieces of paper and place them in a bowl. Each team will pick a piece of paper and have a certain amount of time to recreate what they've chosen with the lego pieces.
Have teams vote on each other's recreations to determine a winner.
5. Back To School With Show And Tell
You may feel that this one seems a bit silly, but the idea is genuine. Here, you're starting this team-building activity to allow team members to know each other. To spark a conversation on different exciting things outside of the office.
Get them to bring something from home that they feel has an exciting story, and each person takes a turn to share with the team what the backstory is and why this item is important to them.
6. Who Is That Baby?
If you're heading into a long strategy session, then this activity is great to end off the day in a light-hearted way.
Get everyone to bring a photo of themselves as a baby to the office that day. Put them all face down on the conference table, and at the end of the meeting, photos should be turned over one by one, and everyone has to guess who is who!
7. Office Trivia
Assign somebody as the trivia master for this team-building exercise! Everybody works in the same building. With the same team members, right?
This trivia game is based on things like:
- What color are the hand towels in the staff bathroom?
- What saying is printed on your team leader's coffee mug?
- What brand is the telephone system?
The game is designed to get people to remember silly things that they see every day and come together to decide what their final answers will be.
8. Stuck In a Snowstorm
The objective of this shelter is simple:
One of your team members cannot move. The rest of the team needs to use materials while blindfolded to build a shelter to protect their 'paralyzed' team member. You'll have a team leader who is vocally guiding their blindfolded teammates as they attempt to build a shelter to stay alive.
You'll need a wide-open space for this team-building exercise, and you can build a shelter kit out of just about anything: old cardboard boxes, string, tape, polystyrene pieces, and more.
9. Pinching Pennies
Understanding how the company was formed and its history can sometimes lend to how much teams engage with the brand.
This is a great exercise to include in a long, tiring meeting that will require participants to have a break.
Find a whole bunch of pennies and ensure that you have produced the company's year or formed. Now, have everybody around the table sift through the pennies until that specific one is found.
Then, go around the table and ask people to share any fun facts about the business and its people. End off with the head of the organization, sharing some funny anecdotes.
10. Old School Scavenger Hunt
This team-building activity can span an hour or even an entire day, depending on the level of detail you want to go into. It's a great one to include on a company fun day, as people spend the day trying to find the items on their scavenger list.
It's great because you can split people up into smaller groups, and have items on the list led by clues, so the team has to work together to figure out where they're going and what they need to find.
For example, one clue could be "Talk to the man who started it all." Your founder or CEO could be equipped with a specific hint to guide the team in finding their item.
You can have these items hidden on the premises or even extend the play area to nearby frequented restaurants, stationery shops, and more.
11. Building A Brand
One of the most remarkable ways to get your team to invest in your brand truly is by giving them the freedom to illustrate and demonstrate what they believe the brand to be.
Create smaller teams and give them a 'design kit.' Their task is simple.
Create a logo for the brand, create a mission statement, and create values that they believe personify your business.
Once they are complete, each team should take a turn presenting to the others. It's a great way to solidify what individuals see as consistent throughout the business and what may need to be worked on.
This team-building exercise is excellent for employee engagement and the business itself! Even teams that telecommute can participate together remotely on this one.
12. Drawing Blindly
This team-building activity is meant to be done in teams of two but is still useful for larger teams when everyone is broken up into smaller groups.
Here's what you're going to do:
Get your teams of two to sit back to back. One member receives a piece of paper from a hat or bowl with a random object written on it, much like Pictionary. Now, this person needs to explain to their partner how to draw this image, without saying precisely what the image is.
For example, say the piece of paper says frying pan. The person describing may say something like, "A round circle with lifted edges, it has a rectangle protruding from one side shaped like a door handle, inside you can draw a piece of bacon." The person drawing may now be able to figure out that the item is a frying pan based on the information he's been given.
The idea behind this activity is to see whether team members can innovate and communicate well together.
13. Telling A Story
This is a challenging game in the creative sense.
The idea is that you create a series of images that can tell a narrative or story when put together in the right sequence. This could be a traditional fairy tale or a made-up story.
Now, the entire room is challenged with determining the narrative and placing the images in the right sequence. This is done without showing their team members what images they have. They need to describe it so that their team members understand what their part of the story is.
One of the outcomes of this exercise will be that you can identify leaders within the team and those that seek to guide their team through chaos to find a solution. It's a great activity for promoting accountability, get members to discuss what they think could've been done better and what did right.
14. The Trade Puzzle
This is one team-building activity that focuses on negotiation skills and old-school bartering. You'll need to separate everyone into smaller teams, and each group is given a jigsaw puzzle with the same level of difficulty.
Here's the catch!
Some of their pieces will be mixed in with other teams' puzzles, and they have to negotiate or barter with the other team to get their missing parts. It's fun if you had a currency to the mix. Perhaps some sweets can be used as 'currency.' At the end of the game, the team that has completed their puzzle and still owns the most currency is the winner.
What a great way to hone negotiation skills for your sales team!
15. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
You remember the old show, Whose line is it anyway, right?
This team-building activity is based loosely on the show itself and works great for organizations that have larger teams.
Everybody should partner up into smaller groups of 3 to 8 people. They should receive a bag of random items. For example, an egg, a box, a hat, a walking stick, and a balloon. Each team has a set amount of time to prepare a 'skit' and perform their story using all of the items in their bag.
Winners can be determined by group voting at the end of all the performances, and awards can be given for creativity, collaboration, and storytelling.
16. Balloon Popping
This is another team-building exercise that is socially driven and has the sole purpose of getting to know each other better.
All you'll need is balloons, pens, and paper.
Each person will write a question down on their small strip of paper, perhaps something like, "What do you value most in a teammate?" Everybody will put their questions inside the balloon, blow the balloon up and tie it closed. Now, everybody throws their balloon up in the air, and for a short while, people hit their balloons around until they're nicely mixed up.
Finally, each team member will grab a balloon and take a seat. Balloons are then popped, and the person needs to answer the question inside the balloon.
If your team is smaller, you can consider that everybody in the group needs to answer when the balloon is popped.
17. Marshmallow Towers
This activity is great for collaboration and problem-solving. Everyone should be divided into smaller teams and given a bag of items. These items should be marshmallows, thin sticks or spaghetti, tape, and string.
What's the objective?
To build the highest marshmallow tower that stands for a minimum of 5 seconds without support.
The ultimate challenge for this team-building exercise is to have an added challenge. For example, the tower has to finish with a marshmallow at the top, or it doesn't qualify!
You'll quickly see teams striving to innovate their tower's design through teamwork and idea generation.
18. Sell That Thing!
This team-building activity truly drives creativity for the selling process by using random objects.
The idea is to give each person a random object, which can be anything from a mousepad to the toaster in the staff kitchen.
Each person gets a certain amount of time to prepare a 'pitch' to sell this product and introduce it to the market. You can go as detailed as you want this, even asking staff to create a new brand, new product description, and defining features that will help differentiate this product from its competition.
After each presentation, you should discuss what tactics worked and what positives everybody can take from the exercise.
19. A Minute To Win It
If you've ever seen the game show, you'll know that these activities are great fun. They span various activities such as bouncing a pencil on its eraser end into a cup, fanning an egg into a circle with a cardboard box, and even bouncing ping pong balls into different sized glasses.
Put together a 'course' of around six activities that will make up your entire game show. Each exercise should have the ability to be completed in under a minute. You can divide teams into members of 6, and each member could take ownership of one activity.
Get the timer going and see who can complete each challenge.
The idea behind this team-building exercise is to see how well teams work under pressure, with a time limit. Communication and team motivation is key to completing this team-building challenge!
20. Challenge With Photos
This challenge is similar to that of a scavenger hunt but is driven by photographs instead.
Divide your team up into smaller numbers. Each group should be given a list of 'photographic' challenges they need to complete. For example, the list could go something like this:
- Capture something red
- Capture movement
- Capture warmth
- Capture a famous slogan
- Capture a teammate jumping
You get the idea. The teams should have a set amount of time to capture their challenges with their camera phone. When meeting back, they should each receive a chance to present their photographs to the other teams. You should see some fun antics arise as people agree and disagree on how teams have interpreted the things on their list.
Each item on the list can be given a number of points, determined by its difficulty, and awarded on completion of capture.
Set aside small prizes for teams that complete their list and need creative recognition.
21. Stand Up Straight
This team-building challenge is slightly more physically demanding than the rest on our list.
Ask everyone to partner up with somebody. Once everyone has a partner, each couple should sit down on the floor with their backs facing one another. Arms should be linked at the elbow.
So what's the challenge?
Without talking to each other, partners will need to find a way to stand up, back-to-back, while their arms remain linked. It's much more complicated than it sounds!
The idea is to create an environment of unspoken trust based on communication without 'words.'
22. Guess Who I Am
Another team-building exercise is based on the team's ability to explain a concept without answering effectively.
Ask everyone to write a 'type of person' down on a piece of paper. The descriptions should be things like a lazy person, go-getter, great attitude, go above and beyond, always late—the type of things they may use to describe each other, both positive and negative.
Now, mix up all the papers, and each person should get stuck to their back with tape. Now, people should mingle and ask questions of the others in their group to figure out who or what they are.
If a team member guesses what they are, they then exit the game and let the others continue until finished. Host a brief discussion on each of the written types and get members to open up about what's positive and what's negative to them.
23. New Business Exercise
Sometimes, we have people sitting in other business areas that have a great idea on how to generate new business or increase sales.
If you're having a company-wide team-building challenge, this one is great for collaboration, innovation, and teamwork, and the business as a whole.
The idea is to allocate one of your services or products to different teams. Now, give them a couple of hours, or even a week, to come up with a new campaign, be it over the phone or email for that product. Their objective is to drum up a new business in new, exciting ways through different messaging and communication types.
At the end of the time period allocated, each team can present their idea and results. Teams will feel accomplished if they've managed to make a sale, and your sales department may be open to new sales techniques as a result of this activity!
24. Spot The Difference
This team-building activity will showcase one thing: the importance of attention to detail. This is an excellent exercise for teams who often may not see each other, work remotely, or even cross-functional teams.
Have your team stand in two equal rows facing each other. Set a timer for one minute, and simply allow them to 'analyze' the partner that they are facing. After one minute, they should turn around, and everybody in one row will need to change something about their appearance.
These can be done by swapping an item of clothing with the person next to them, taking off a piece of jewelry, tying their hair up, removing a shoe, or anything similar to those.
When they turn back around, the person opposite them needs to determine what has changed. The take away from this is that people can see the importance of not always reacting but observing and learning.
25. Perfect Pitch
Much like the movie Pitch Perfect and the riff off concept, this team-building challenge aims to bring team members together and work collaboratively through music. Most people enjoy music; it's a simple fact.
The great thing is that usually workforces are made up of staff from all different backgrounds, different eras, different tastes, and who are different ages.
Your challenge here is to separate everyone into smaller teams, use a creative way to determine who goes first. Give each team a few minutes to prepare their first song. As is done in the movie, the idea is that opposing teams jump in at a point in the song that has the same word. This can continue until a team has a song that nobody can jump in.
Your team may feel shy to let their singing voices shine for this one, helping them out by getting management to go first. You'll be creating long-lasting, fun-filled memories with this one.
26. Charades Challenge
Remember the game charades? Three words, four syllables, and so on. This team-building activity is based on the same concept but just a little trickier!
Break the room up into four teams. It doesn't matter how many members are in each group. Get each team to write many random things down on little cubes of paper. Something like a food cart, hardware store, shin bone, running, and anything else they can think of. Now place the papers into a hat or bowl, and get the teams to pass them left to the other team.
Each person in the team takes a turn to pick a piece of paper and then describe what the item is with only one descriptive word. They cannot use any words that are written on the paper. There is no pointing or gesturing allowed!
Let each team go until they've gotten all their answers correct!
Winning with team building activities for work
Ultimately, a business is only as good as the employees within it. The more engaged your employees are, the more they enjoy and appreciate the people they work with, the more likely you are to create a sense of loyalty and fulfillment with your workforce.
The team-building activities you choose will primarily be based on your workforce's persona. Also, if your team is mostly remote, you may need to get creative with how you can do some team-building without getting everyone in the same room.
Now that you have an extensive list of team building activities for work, it's important that you keep up the momentum. It's important that you implement a team collaboration software to manage your work. Sign up for your free trial with TrueNxus and optimize your team with a work management system.