10 Team Building Activities Your Team Won’t Hate


Posted 11 months ago in Small Business Tips
by Sinclaire Hancock

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we’ve stopped playing. But playtime shouldn’t end when we grow up.

Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem solving, creativity, and innovation.

Success at work isn’t just dependent on the amount of time you work—it depends on the quality of your work. The quality of your work is highly dependent on your well-being. Play increases energy and prevents burnout. Also, research backs up the idea that adults who play together work better together.

This means as the business owner, you won’t want to miss out on the benefits of regularly scheduled team play!

We’ve put together a list of 10 activities you can do in the workplace that will lead to more productivity, better communication, and higher job satisfaction.

Battle of the Airbands

Purpose: Team bonding

Needed supplies: speaker, smartphone

Instructions: Split your group into teams of 3-4 people and let them decide who will be the singers, guitarists, drummers, back up dancers, etc. Give them time to choose and rehearse a lip sync, or you can assign a theme everyone has to follow (for example, song must be by Britney Spears, have “love” in the title, be from the 80s…)

Teams could be given 10 minutes or longer to prepare. You can incorporate everyday items that you have in the office as props or costumes, depending on how well-polished you want the performances to be. You can designate a judge or, after the performances, have teams vote on the winner. (No fair voting for your own team!)

A Shrinking Vessel

Purpose: Creative problem solving

Needed supplies: Rope, blanket, or tape to mark a space on the floor

Instructions: Make a space on the floor and have your whole group stand in that space. Then gradually shrink the space, so the team will have to think fast and work together to come up with ways to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries. It will require creative solutions like piggy-backing, making a human pyramid, carrying each other, etc.

Back-to-back Drawing

Purpose: Communication skills

Needed supplies: paper, markers, printouts of simple images (or pull them up on a phone)

Instructions: Split your group into pairs and have each pair sit back to back. One person is given a picture of a simple image and the other gets a piece of paper and markers. The person holding the picture gives their partner verbal instructions on how to draw the picture they’ve been given without simply telling them what the image is. After 2 minutes, have each set of partners compare their pictures to see which team drew the most accurate replica.

Dare Jenga

Purpose: Ice breaker

Needed supplies: Jenga set

Instructions: Write a dare on the surface of each block. This is a fun icebreaker to test your employees’ limits. Write fun dares like do 15 push ups, sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” out loud, run out of the office and yell “I love Cheez-its!”, do an interpretive dance to a song that the boss chooses… When all of the blocks have dares written on them, stack them up like in Jenga. As people take turns pulling a block out, they have to do the dare written on it.

Company Update (Speed-dating Style)

Purpose: Team bonding

Instructions: Split your team in half and have one half sit in a circle facing out and the other half sit in a circle facing the other half of the team inside the circle. It should be set up like speed dating, where people are sitting in pairs across from each other.  In preparation, have each person choose 4 photos to represent what they’ve been doing over the last month.

Give each pair 4 minutes total to share their photos and what they’ve been involved in over the last few weeks. One partner could pick a photo at random and ask the other person to tell about it, choose the 2 that look most interesting, or simply have each person quickly go through and explain all of their photos. After 4 minutes is up, have the people on the inside of the circle rotate to their right. You can continue rotating as many times as you want.

Show and Tell

Purpose: Team bonding

Instructions: Elementary school throwback! Show and tell can be a fun, low-pressure way to help people learn about each other. Have everyone bring in something that reflects themselves– this could be a favorite recipe, an interesting article, or even a family photo. Have each person briefly describe why their item is significant to them. This could be a quick activity to do before beginning a meeting, or could even become a monthly tradition.

Community Service

Purpose: Meaningful activity / Break from typical routine

How: A great way to kick off a community service project is by having the team decide together what type of activity they’d like to participate in. Look into volunteering with local non-profit organizations, collecting and delivering school supplies for children in need, volunteering at a food bank, or preparing meals for the homeless.

If you can’t get out of the office for a full day, you could try setting aside an hour for a simple charitable act, like writing thank you notes and assembling care packages for wounded soldiers and sending them through Operation Gratitude. Another option is to help clean the environment by finding a nearby park or community area to clean up, or organize a recycling drive.

3 Truths & A Lie

Purpose: Ice breaker

Instructions: Sit everyone in a circle facing each other. Have each person come up with 3 facts about themselves and 1 lie that is somewhat believable. Go around the circle and have each person share their 3 facts and a lie in a random order without making it obvious which is the lie. After each person shares, the others guess which is the lie.

Field Trip

Purpose: Team bonding

How: One of the best ways to get to know the people you work with is to just let everyone interact freely, without a formal plan. Consider going offsite and encouraging your team to get to know each other outside of the office and away from the desks. You could try quarterly trips to the movies, BBQs in the park, or trips to a museum.

Salt & Pepper

Purpose: Communication skills

Needed supplies: tape, pen, one sticky note for each employee, list of well-known pairs

Instructions: Write half of each pair on the sticky notes (Peanut butter on one piece, jelly on another…) Tape one paper to each person’s back, then have everyone walk around and try to figure out the word on their back. They are only allowed to ask each other yes or no questions. Once they figure out their word, they need to find the other half of their pair.

Play isn’t a waste of time, it’s an investment in well-being that will ultimately make your company more productive.

Playing will keep your employees functional under stress, encourage teamwork, help them see problems in new ways, and trigger creativity and innovation. Your team will appreciate a break from their typical routine and leave with a more positive attitude and feeling more energetic.

Try out a few of these ideas and comment how it went!