Team Building Exercises

Team building is something that can often make teams moan in protest – a whole day of fun facts about me? It does sound daunting. However, team building is an integral part of establishing a good rapport within a team, between staff, and thus ensuring that your business functions in the most effective way possible.

There are many ways team building has been done before and reinvented after. We have worked to compile a master list that should serve you no matter your current circumstance (virtual, together, or in between) and are appropriate for situations ranging from first impression ice-breakers to eye-opening discussions.

Especially as we begin to come out the other end of the pandemic, the reality for many businesses is that their teams have been apart for more than a year. In that time people may have joined, left, or moved around and so even for the oldest, closest of teams, the process of coming back into the office together may be a daunting prospect. Introducing members, or reaffirming bonds already made, will be essential for ensuring your team prevails through the release of the lockdown restrictions.

More than that, even in the future it is always a good idea to check in with your team and allow your staff to catch up and get to know each other more. The stronger a work environment the better you will work as a unit to deliver unanimous, uniform service which gives your business the best possible chance at impressing customers!

And – often these team-building exercises really are a welcome relief from day to day stresses and routine. Sounds like a win-win!

Traditional Team Building:

  1. Scavenger Hunt

Themed or not (Easter can be a really good time to host one of these), scavenger hunts are a fun way to introduce team spirit and some friendly rivalry to keep the office busy. Hide items around the office, or perhaps write out clues to get some lateral thinking going, and team up your staff. The winner gets a prize!

  1. What’s My Name?

Also known as headbands, this is a game where players all place sticky notes on their foreheads with the names of celebrities or well-known people on them. Now ‘that person’, the player must ask questions to their team in order to decipher the name of the person they have become. Yes/No questions only! A fun way to change up this game is to use people you know as a team, or you even each other, or inanimate objects such as the faulty office printer – this will really bring the team together.

  1. Cook-Off

Again, a theme works well for this one. Perhaps best in Summer for offices without a kitchen area, staff could team up to create the best meal – boss judges! See the competitive side of your colleagues come out in full force, whilst also building their time efficiency and ability to work effectively under stress

  1. Sneak a Peek

Remember this game at primary school birthday parties? Pop some office supplies on a tray, allow staff to see the tray, cover the items and then take one away. Players just identify which object has gone missing – you could play till there is an ultimate winner for even more competition!

  1. Board Game Tournament

From Monopoly to Chess, there are loads of board games to keep you all busy for an evening. This is a good cost-effective option too as each person could bring in a game each from home. Board games are a notorious competitive nightmare, so be wary of any super competitive team members getting a bit too into it! However, this could be a really fun way of bonding together and keeping some competitive flare!

  1. Office Trivia

Now, we may all be a little tired of quizzes after the last year of lockdown. However, an office quiz could be good! About previous office drama, staff members, or even test the team on their company knowledge – a quiz could be a great way to get the team together and see how much you all know about each other. A good way to reduce the hassle of this could be to ask each member or department to make a round – that way you can have a big quiz without too much prep work!

  1. Improv Workshop

Take yourself back to high school drama lessons – and remember to never say no to an idea! Let off steam after a difficult day by playing make-believe and getting physical. This can be a really fun way to get to know each other well and to recall funny moments or prior interactions.

  1. Karaoke Night

Now this is bound to be a night to remember! Pick songs out of a hat or go for your die-hard classic tune – maybe sing in teams or go solo! Whether in a bar or in your makeshift office space, this is a really good way to break inhibitions and get the team comfortable with each other. You could even make it like a mini XFactor and crown a winner!

  1. The “Suddenly” Story

You may have played this as a child, but it probably wouldn’t have gotten as scandalous as these stories can get! Each player says ‘suddenly…’ and goes on to list an event which is then built off by the next player, such as ‘suddenly I realised I was late for work/ suddenly, it began to rain!’ etc. This is often a really funny way to get the team talking!

  1. Go-Kart Racing

When the world starts to open up again, go-karting is always a fun way to build team comradery. Whether in teams or driving solo, this is an accessible activity for younger staff members too. Fast-paced and adrenaline-filled, it is a good way to get the team’s blood pumping!

  1. Professional Development Workshop

Now this may not be the in and games of some of the other ideas, but this is a really valuable way of building team relationships whilst also building the quality and ability of your staff. You may find it useful to hire in people to run the day, or perhaps you could have each member discuss different areas where they excel well. This is a good idea to do regularly – building team relationships whilst still working on the team and building skills! 

  1. Mad Libs

This is a really fun way of getting the team talking. Mad Libs is a game where a preset speech is decided (or written out), with gaps left for specific words (such as ‘verb here’ or ‘adjective here’). The team randomly decide on these words together without seeing the full speech itself. After these words are chosen, they are slipped into the full speech and read out as though intended. The more obscure the words chosen, the bigger the giggles (a good one I once heard was ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you have had a sloppy day!)

  1. Scribble Chinese Whispers

A little like chinese whispers crossed with Pictionary, in this game the first player writes a funny phrase down on a piece of paper and passes it to their right. This player sees their phrase and attempts to draw it. Once the drawing is completed the person folds over the initial phrase and passes their drawing to the right. This player tries to decipher the drawing, writing it out as a phrase, and folds over the drawing and passes the paper along. The next player then draws a version of that phrase. Obviously, some information tends to get lost in translation and so the end comparison between the final phrase and the initial phrase is quite funny, and it is good to check where things went wrong!

  1. The Perfect Square

Sit your team members in a circle, all holding a piece of rope that is tied to make a loop. Instruct the team to make the rope into a perfect square on the floor whilst their eyes are closed. When they think they’re done they can open their eyes and see how well they did. This is a really good exercise to build communication as it is the only way each player will be able to try and create an impression of what the rope looks like. Surprisingly hard, you can make the game harder by instructing certain players to not speak (and find other methods of communication). It is a good skill builder but also very funny to watch!

  1. Jigsaw Puzzle Race

As it says on the tin, a simple way to introduce some team building quickly may be to host a quickfire lunchtime puzzle race in teams. Whoever finishes quickest gets free teas or coffees requests all day!

  1. Escape Room

Again, when the world opens up a bit more these are an excellent, pre-packaged team-building exercise! Working under time pressure and having to work to decipher clues, and utilise each member’s strength, are all excellent things to encourage your staff to do. Escape rooms are a really fun way to spend an evening out as a team!

  1. The Egg Drop Challenge

Now this may not be much of a challenge if you’re an engineering company, but the competition will be high! Gather your staff into teams and instruct them that they have an hour to make the best parachute to keep an egg safe from a drop out a window. Allow their brains to whir as they work together to figure out the best way to keep the egg safe!

  1. Laser Tag

Again, for when the world is more normal, but laser tag is a really good way to connect with the inner competitive 11 year old in us all. Battling it out, your staff will definitely have a good time getting sweaty doing this!

  1. Catch Phrase

Who’s playing Stephen? This is a good game to play to get the creative, lateral thought flowing. Say what you see and try to decipher a way to work out the catchphrase from the picture. There are virtual and board game versions of this to play!

  1. Come Dine With Me

This idea will probably work best in a smaller group of staff, just for practicality. Host each other at your houses (or if you’re all terrible cooks, book a restaurant for everyone for the evening). Hosting skills, cooking skills and providing entertainment, this is a good way to spend some downtime together whilst also having some friendly rivalry and getting to know each other better!

  1. Kayaking/Canoeing

Most people will never have done this before, and every day is a good day to learn something new! This could be a fun way to enjoy outdoor activities as restrictions continue to loosen and many places do beginners sessions or team exercises in kayaks!

  1. Outdoor Pursuits

There are so many centres which offer outdoor pursuit activities such as building shelters, tackling obstacle courses, trekking through mountains or perhaps even water sports. As these centres already exist (and very often host team-building sessions) there is minimal effort to plan on your part which makes it ideal for the busy business person, and it is often a really fun and engaging time!

  1. Trampoline Park

These have grown in popularity over recent years and can be found in most major cities. Release your inner child and bounce around a warehouse filled with trampolines – maybe even learn a trick or two! This activity is sure to go down well with an active and excitable team!

  1. Cooking Class/Painting Class

A fun way to learn something new, going to these sorts of classes could be an excellent way to engage your team and keep their brains learning and engaged!

Virtual Team Building

  1. Remote MTV ‘Cribs’
  2. Remote Work Bingo
  3. Geoguesser Trips
  4. Show and Tell
  5. Mafia
  6. Happy Hour
  7. Book Club
  8. Pop Culture Trivia

Ice Breakers

  1. Never Have I Ever
  2. Dance Party
  3. 16 Personalities Test
  4. The Hot Air Balloon
  5. Truth and Lie
  6. Barter Puzzle
  7. Create a World
  8. Say the Same Word
  9. Common Threads
  10. Head Bands
  11. Group Timeline
  12. Soup or Sandwich?
  13. Active Recollection
  14. Penny for Your Thoughts
  15. Let’s Go To The Shops Game