12 Ideas for Team-Building Activities, Games and Exercises

Explore team-building activities to bring your employees together, break the ice, and boost morale. Become a Groupon Merchant today to discover more tips.

Want to build a stronger team? Team-building exercises are a great way to get your team to work better together:

  1. Scavenger Hunt 
  2. The Egg Drop
  3. Two Truths, One Lie
  4. Escape Room
  5. Minefield
  6. Birthday Line-up
  7. Blind Drawing
  8. Shark Tank
  9. Show and Tell
  10. Who Am I?
  11. Office Guess Who
  12. Virtual Dinner Party

Team-building exercises may be plenty of fun – but they’re far from an excuse to slack off at work. Playful activities involving co-workers are essential when breaking the ice, encouraging collaboration, and overcoming communication barriers. In fact, a recent study revealed that 86% of employees1 cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. 

It’s undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. The lack of everyday interaction in the office has made it even more important to get teams talking and learning.

Global Workplace Analytics have estimated that employers save around $11,000 per year2 for every person who works remotely for at least 50% of the time. We think this is a perfect time to begin investing some of your time and money in important morale-boosting and retention-focussed team-building games and activities. So, start introducing some motivational exercises to your weekly meetings and you could see big improvements in the way your team performs and communicates. 

In this guide, we’ll explore 12 fun team-building ideas that are suitable for working at home or in the office – and outline some of the reasons why you should bring them to your workplace.

Why Your Business Needs Team-Building Activities

Fun team-building activities can:

  1. Boost employee satisfaction and morale.
  2. Encourage collaboration and partnership.
  3. Break the ice between team members and integrate new hires.
  4. Promote out-of-the-box thinking and creativity.
  5. Create a friendly atmosphere in your workplace.
  6. Build trust and camaraderie among colleagues.

12 Team-Building Activities for Your Employees

Keeping your staff happy is essential in creating a positive work environment, and these team-building activities for work are an effective way to boost morale. It’s also vital to understand, especially in this pandemic age, the importance of employee retention. In fact, recent data shows that 63% of US businesses3 believe that retaining staff is more difficult than hiring them.

While many of these exercises are office-based, you can easily adjust many of them for Slack, Zoom or whichever virtual meeting platform you’re using while working from home.

Whether you’re dedicating an afternoon or only have five minutes to spare, use these ideas for team-building exercises for work as inspiration in your physical or virtual office.

1. Scavenger Hunt 

A scavenger hunt may take a bit of prep, but it’s definitely worth it. Engaging, interactive and fun, it’s a great way to get employees off their seats and working. Sort employees into groups and give each the same list of tasks. Whoever completes them first wins. This could include finding hidden objects around the building using clues, solving riddles, and taking photos with workplace “landmarks”. 

You can easily adapt this for teams working from home, too. Just have your employees find stuff from around their home and show it to the camera, or create riddles for each group to solve. Simple! 

Why? Improves teamwork and employee engagement, as co-workers can be paired up with people they don’t usually communicate with.

Where? Either virtually or in your workplace.

Pro tip: Define the scavenger hunt search perimeter. You don’t want people running off to the nearest store!

2. The Egg Drop 

A classic team-building game, the egg drop is one of the more common team bonding ideas. Split your employees into groups, giving them an egg and some supplies. The aim of the game is to build a contraption around the egg so that it doesn’t break when dropping it from a height (the higher up, the better).

Materials can include straws, paper towels, tape, rubber bands, and newspaper. Give players a time limit of 15 minutes to build their egg contraption before dropping it. Whichever team’s egg has stayed in shape wins. 

Why? Encourages problem solving as a team.

Where? In your workplace.

Pro tip: Give points for the most creative contraptions, even if they don’t work perfectly when protecting the egg. Rewarding creativity and passion is important!

3. Two Truths, One Lie 

Quick, easy, and casual, “two truths, one lie” is one of the most simple team-building activities out there – but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Give your team time to come up with two things that are true about themselves and one thing that is a lie. Take turns reading out these three ‘facts’ and have the others guess which one is the lie. 

This is a great choice for those looking for team-building exercises that don’t require much preparation or time. 

Why? A useful icebreaker and bonding session, helping teams and co-workers get to know each other. 

Where? Either virtually or in your workplace.

Pro tip: Encourage funny and unusual truths and lies. Learning about your co-worker’s sense of humor can be just as important as learning about their lives.

4. Escape Room

You can create an escape room in any workplace. You don’t need to worry about transforming your space – just spend some time coming up with riddles, problems, and obstacles your employees can solve within a time limit.

Challenges can range from completing a puzzle like a Rubik’s Cube to putting together a jigsaw. Whoever completes it the quickest gets to leave the ‘escape room’. It’s not as ominous as it sounds.

Why? Promotes collaboration and problem solving while under time pressure. 

Where? Can be adapted to work virtually or in your workplace.

Pro tip: Try and think of a theme for your escape room to make it more engaging. For example, ‘office heist’.

5. Minefield

If you’re searching for outdoor team building activities, then this idea should be top of your list. Mark out an enclosed route with tape or cones and dot objects randomly inside the route, as well as sheets of paper to represent ‘mines’.

Blindfold a participant and get them to cross the course, picking up objects and dodging the mines with the help of instructions from the rest of the group. Change up the location of the mines and objects until all team members have crossed the finish line. 

Why? Minefield team building builds trust and communication.

Where? Works best in an outdoor space.

Pro tip: Weigh your obstacles down. You don’t want to spend too much of your time re-organising your course and chasing after rolling cups.

6. Birthday Line-up 

Birthday line-up is one of the more simple team building activities, requiring no preparation whatsoever. It sounds easy enough – employees must put themselves in order of their birthday month and date. The catch? They can’t talk. Instead, they’ll have to communicate using sign language and other actions. Age doesn’t matter here as you should disregard birth year and stick to the calendar year.

Why? One of the more unusual team building activities, this idea focuses on cooperation and communication.

Where? In your workplace or any outdoor space.

Pro tip: Add in a few humorous props – such as a beard the person at the end of the line has to wear and a baby bonnet for the person first in line.

7. Blind Drawing

Help your team unleash their creative side with this five-minute team-building activity. Put your team into pairs and give one person a whiteboard or piece of paper, having them sit back-to-back so the other person can’t see what they are drawing. The person who isn’t drawing has to describe a scene or image, but only using adjectives rather than outright saying what it is. 

Why? Encourages communication, thinking outside of the box and problem solving.

Where? Either virtually or in your workplace.

Pro tip: If you want to make this completely digital, there are plenty of sketch apps people can use on their laptops. This way, they can share their screens and show everyone.

8. Shark Tank

We all know the show, now it’s time to bring it to the office. Split your team into groups of up to three and give them a week or so to come up with a pitch for an exciting new product. This can be literally anything, but points can be awarded for the most creative, funniest, or the ‘best’ idea.

This is quite a simple team building activity, but it does require a little bit more prep than some others. At the end of the week, each team should present a ‘real’ pitch for their product and other members of the team can vote for the best idea using ballot boxes – or just a few hats.

Why? Encourages creativity and teamwork. Also helps staff to practice relevant business skills.

Where? In the office or virtually.

Pro tip: Give people time to work on their pitches during office hours. Even though this is a fun activity, they shouldn’t be taking work home with them.

9. Show and Tell

A favorite from kindergarten, who isn’t familiar with show and tell? Ask your employees to pick one item they want to share with a team and give them time to present it. It can be anything they’re passionate about or have good memories attached to. This activity can help your team get to know each other and share their passions. 

Why? An effective icebreaker that helps your team bond and demonstrates individual employee skill sets.

Where? Either virtually or in your workplace. 

Pro tip: Encourage objects related to a skill or demonstratable passion to create a variety show-esque show and tell session.

10. Who Am I?

Another popular-but-simple team building activity is this classic game. Write out the name of celebrities, politicians, and famous figures onto a label, ensuring they are well known among the people taking part. Place these labels onto the back or forehead of each employee so they don’t know who they are and get them to ask the rest of the team questions until they figure it out. Yes or no answers only!

Why? Improves communication skills and breaks the ice.

Where? Best in your workplace, although you could adapt this to work virtually.

Pro tip: If the person guessing is really stuck, give each team a chance to mime an action associated with the person on the card.

11. Office Guess Who

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you can have some real fun with it. Grab yourself a game of guess who and replace the pictures with photos of people in the office. This is a real tongue-and-cheek team building activity that will definitely break the ice for both old and new employees.

Why? Breaks the ice among your team and helps people learn names and faces.

Where? This works best in the office but can be adapted for home.

Pro tip: Make sure to include everyone on the board, especially new starters and management, to help develop cross-team relationships.

12. Virtual Dinner Party

This after-hours activity is one of the best Zoom team building ideas to get everyone laughing. It’s great for the pandemic era – and is also generally just a fun evening. Dedicate a few nights to getting your team together over Zoom and each night everyone cooks the same thing over a call and submits it to (visual) judging.

Try and keep it simple, with ideas like pizza, pies, and cakes. It gives people a chance to mingle casually outside of working hours and will also give your employees something to laugh about the next day.

Why? A great casual activity to boost morale and external relationships.

Where? At home over Zoom.

Pro tip: Have some designated impartial judges – we don’t want any arguments over whose pie crust looks the crispiest!

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References:

  1. https://blog.bit.ai/collaboration-statistics/
  2. https://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/work-at-home-after-covid-19-our-forecast
  3. https://www.zenefits.com/workest/employee-turnover-infographic/

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