5-Minute Team Building Activities that Boost Productivity, Fast

coworkers sitting at a round table looking at documents

Productivity—the word on every manager’s mind. How can we become more productive? What can be done to improve the speed of delivery? Does this team have the right skill set or tools to become more productive? These are valid questions when considering the state of team production.

Team building activities provide many benefits that can help increase production, whether the team is at peak performance or not. To help improve production, try these simple 5-minute team building activities to give your team the boost it needs.

Quick, 5-Minute Team Building Activities

  1. The Coin Flip Game
  2. The Paper Structure
  3. Eye Contact Game
  4. Famous People and Cities
  5. Game of Possibilities

The Coin Flip Game

silver dollar floating in air face upA classic coin toss, what’s the fun in that? We use coins to perform all kinds of tasks beyond just monetary ones, like, for example, unscrewing a bolt when you don’t have a flat-head screwdriver handy. In this exercise, you’ll want to break teams into sets of two participants. Then collect 15 coins (can be pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters) for the entire exercise. The whole group uses one coin to flip, leaving 14 coins remaining on the table. One participant from each team tosses the coin while the other participant calls heads or tails. For every correct call (heads or tails) that the coin lands on, the team that makes the right call takes two coins. The flipping coin is passed from one team to the next, switching coin flipper and caller when circling back to the first team that flipped. The winning team is the first to remove the 14th coin remaining.

The game can be made more complex by increasing the number of coins a team can take when it’s their turn or by allowing coins to be put back for incorrect calls. With increased complexity, the activity allows the teams a strategic planning stage. The goal is to have the players realize that less complex versions of the game can be planned and controlled by the team/person playing first. After the exercise is complete, provide the teams with a questionnaire, asking how the game can be made easier. This provides an excellent team building exercise for problem solving, creativity and communication.

The Paper Structure

paper crane origami with sky blue backgroundThis is a very simple exercise that can be completed within 5 minutes while reinforcing the importance of planning, timing, and quick thinking. Each participant is provided with a single sheet of blank paper and told to construct the tallest free-standing structure in just 5 minutes using no other materials. After the 5 minutes is up and a review is performed of the structures, begin a group discussion. Ask the participants who planned out their structure before beginning and what was their plan, who ran out of time, who deviated from the plan as time restrictions became a problem, and what could be done differently next time.

Eye Contact Game

brown eye close up with purple eye linerThis is a trust exercise that requires no special equipment, just an even number of participants. Eye contact can be difficult for many people, as it requires a certain amount of trust and respect. Some participants will avoid eye contact and others simply aren’t very good at it or appear uncomfortable. This exercise can help coworkers become more comfortable with one another, so pairing team members that are less familiar is key. This exercise builds trust and more effective communication as your team becomes more acquainted with one-another.

Start by pairing unfamiliar partners and have them stand facing each other about one foot apart. Then, start a 1 minute timer, asking the participants to hold eye contact with their partner. Neither participant should be wearing hats or sunglasses so their eyes and faces are completely visible. There may be some laughs and a bit of awkwardness on the first try, but that’s all part of the game. You can switch partners and try again, this time increasing the time to 2 minutes. After the exercise, start an open discussion about how they felt at first and how long it took them to feel less uncomfortable or awkward. Over time, eye contact will become less awkward and teams will be communicating more effectively and boosting productivity in no time.

Famous People and Cities

Kerry Park skyline in Seattle with Space Needle and Mount RanierSometimes, a little ice breaker before the work day helps build better relationships, creates networks and sparks conversation. In this exercise, create as many index cards as there are participants. On each index card, write the name of one famous person and the city where they were born. Don’t use the same famous person more than once. For simplicity’s sake, stick to U.S.-born famous individuals. Then as participants enter the room, tape an index card on their back. Once all participants have an index card, the exercise begins. Each participant has to ask questions in order to determine the identity of the person on their back. Create a list of the participants on a white board or easel where people can write down who they think is on their index card. If participants don’t have their answer within 5 minutes, they can guess.

After the exercise, ask the participants to keep the index cards on their back. Gather the group and open up a discussion. Ask them what questions they asked, what their strategy was, and how many questions they asked until they got the right answer. Once the discussion is complete, ask participants to look at their index cards. This will open up even more discussion, some might be right, some might be close and some might not be very close at all, but it’s great for laughs and team camaraderie.

Game of Possibilities

woman in workplace laughing with coworkersIn this exercise, break up the team into smaller groups and give any random object to one person in each group. Members in each group must step forward and demonstrate a use for the object without speaking. The rest of the team must guess what the member is demonstrating, keeping it original and sometimes wacky for more fun and entertainment. This opens up an avenue team member creativity and innovation to give a major boost in productivity.

5-Minute Team Building Activities FAQ

What are the Benefits of Team Building?

Team building, especially quick little 5-minute activities, can provide a number of benefits for a company or team. Research shows that participating in team building activities increases productivity and instills a level of comfortability between team members. In general, communication improves, team members learn how each person works through problems, and productivity increases.

Is Team Building the Solution to Production Decline?

There may be more underlying issues beyond team skill sets and tools to help boost productivity. Regardless of the reason for decline in production, team building exercises never hurt to try. Developing a fun and inclusive work environment for employees helps build better working relationships, open channels of communication, and bring employees closer together. Adding a fun mystery game like Team Building Kits is just what the doctor ordered for production woes.

How can I Measure Success from Team Building Activities?

One might argue that measuring production analytics post-team building activities is the way to go. But team building may not be the sole contributor to boosts in production. Sending out a questionnaire after a few months of team building activities can provide some insight into its effectiveness.

Can Team Building Activities be used for Executive and Leadership Teams?

Definitely, team building can be used for upper management and C-suite levels. When executives and managers excel at communication and collaboration, the entire organization benefits. A solid leadership team that functions well can help boost a company’s reputation and success.

My Group Groans when I Mention Team Building Activities. What can I do?

A great team building activity means never asking participants to be anything that they’re not. This is about having fun, setting aside work for a fun, constructive activity and building relationships. Excel sheets and cubicle walls are no match for sunshine and laughter. If the activities aren’t received well by team members, choose another activity to do, or provide a questionnaire and let the team create a fun activity that will result in cheers instead of jeers.

Looking for a team building activity without the hassle of planning and organizing one? Try Team Building Kits, the all-in-one team building activity sent straight to your office!