Team building…it’s not just for sports teams or the military anymore. Corporate offices everywhere are setting aside time for team building activities several times a year—sometimes as often as once a month—to build bonds, get a little creative, and most importantly, have some fun. Think grown-up recess, but with real life benefits. Take note: we’re not talking lame icebreakers (cringe) or eye roll-worthy trust falls here… that was so 1999. There are tons of fresh, new team building activities out there that are bound to strengthen your company culture.
Top 10 Team Building Activities for 2019
|Team Building Kits||We’re not partial or anything, but Team Building Kits is the perfect way for your team to bond and break up the monotony of office life. Watch your team work together to solve a murder mystery, escape from evil aliens on Mars, solve puzzles and ciphers, and use their collective brain power to crack codes. It’s an hour to an hour and a half of fun, and the results last well into future client meetings, presentations, and projects.|
|Lie to Me||Split up into groups of four or five (this game can be done with your daily work team or mix and match teams from across the office). Have each person take a piece of paper and write down three things that are true about themselves and one lie. The goal is for each person in the group to try and convince the others that their lie is actually the truth. This team building activity is perfect if you’re short on time, but are in need a little shake up.|
|Without Warning||This one can get hilarious pretty quickly. Have your team stand in a circle. The team building activity organizer starts off with two or three sentences of a made-up story. “One night, I woke up to find Tinkerbell hovering over my bed. She told me to get up and go downstairs to the kitchen when without warning…” then, the next person in the circle has to pick up where they left off. By then end, the story should be a seriously funny mad-lib of a tale.|
|Puzzled||Break up the office into groups of 5 people. Buy as many copies of the same jigsaw puzzle as is necessary. Make it easier or harder based on the number of puzzle pieces in the box. Use your phone to set a timer. The first team to put the puzzle together gets a prize (a free lunch, prime parking for the month, Starbucks gift cards, etc).|
|Bob Ross Painting Party||This one takes some coordination but it’s super fun (especially when adult beverages and delicious snacks are provided). You’ll need to purchase a canvas for each team building activity participant (doesn’t have to be big), paints, and paintbrushes. Let your team know beforehand to wear or bring appropriate clothing for the activity. Play one of Bob Ross’s videos up on a big screen and let people paint their hearts out. Display the paintings somewhere in the office afterwards and ooh and ahh over them like they're Picasso's.|
|Eagle Eye||This is another simple but fun one that gets people talking. How well do people know their office space? Walk around the office and gather a list of obscure trivia points. “Which animal is on the motivational poster in the break room?” “How many superhero-themed coffee mugs are there in the cabinet?” “How many people work on the innovation team?” The team with the most correct answers wins a cool prize.|
|Office Olympics||Inspired by The Office’s iconic and aptly titled “Office Olympics” episode, turn this into a real-life engaging team building activity. Teams of 5 come up with a new Olympic sport using things around the office (chairs, staplers, paper plates, etc). Teams must then present their new sport to the group, and then each team competes in each new sport for medals (or prizes).|
|Passion Points||We all think we know our co-workers, but how well do you really know them? This is a great team building activity that has the potential to make connections between people who wouldn't otherwise interact on a day-to-day basis. Get the team to stand in a circle. Each person shares their passion by introducing themselves and then saying “I’m passionate about _____.” Others in the group raise their hands and make suggestions or connections that will help the person pursue their passion. For example: “Hey guys, I’m Nick, and one of my passions is virtual reality gaming.” (Kelly raises her hand). “Hey Nick, one of my old professors does all this cool stuff with virtual reality and gaming. I’m happy to connect you.” Maybe several people say they love to read, and an office book club is born!|
|Beer Me||Electronic beer cart coolers are real things (Google it), and they are seriously fun. Each week, a new person gets to be the Beer Giver and buzzes around the office, say, on a Thursday at 4:30 p.m. to present their fellow co-workers with a beer. It’s the best appreciation gift there is. You can also nix the beer and replace it with ice cream or candy bars. (Also you don’t need a fancy beer cooler for this, you can just use a cart).|
|Serenity Now||Hire a yoga instructor to come to the office and teach a class for the team. Tell people to bring appropriate clothing with them to work that day along with a yoga mat or a towel. Enjoy the relaxation/workout together as one big crew, then follow it up with a team happy hour.|
Team Building Activities FAQ:
What are the Best Team Building Activities?
Team building activities vary from office to office, what might work for one company, might not work for another. This is where your Culture Committee or your HR department can get creative and mold the above team building ideas to fit their office. As long as everyone is collectively working together or enjoying something together, you really can’t go wrong. In addition to the above ten ideas, other popular team-building offsite activities include scavenger hunts, escape rooms, hikes, skiing, building activities (like the famed marshmallow spaghetti tower activity) and a ton more.
Why are Team Building Activities Important?
Corporate team building activities weren’t overly popular until recently, but research shows that participating in several types of team building activities, (educational workshops, offsite experiences, games, and team briefings) do bring people closer together. In a 2017 article published on scientific journal PLOS ONE, researchers found that “the overall take-home message is that teamwork training is an effective way to foster teamwork and team performance.” Team building goes hand-in-hand with company culture, which is something that businesses are consistently trying to develop and improve these days.
How do you Organize Team Building Activities?
Again, the answer to this one depends on the company, and it depends on how complicated the team building activity is. Some activities require hiring an outside consultant to help connect all the dots, but for the simpler team building activities, all it requires is a company-wide email invitation to block off a certain amount of time in everyone’s calendars, a second email explaining what the activity is and reiterate when it’s happening (just in case), and then splitting people into teams. It’s even easier on the organizer if the onus is on team managers to gather their teams together to participate in the activity. Then, purchase all the required materials for the game as well as any food or beverages for the company to enjoy. IT’S EVEN EASIER if you’re smart and you buy a Team Building Kit, which comes with all the required materials necessary for a full hour to two hours of team building fun.
What are Some Things that People Gain from Team Building?
So. many. things. Often, co-workers learn the most about each other when participating in team building activities, but it’s also great for upper management to observe a) how people work together and b) what roles people take on during the game (ie: who’s the clear leader, who’s the researcher, who’s the observer, who solves the puzzles). Team building activities are often a great reminder to get creative when solving problems. These games are to encourage your company to look at people and situations in a fresh, new light.