The Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities for Work

February 14, 2022・7 mins read
The Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities for Work

It can be tough to build a team where every team member feels like an important part of the whole and is committed to the success of the entire group. And to be fair, some team building activities for work get more eyes rolling than problems solved. It’s more important than ever, especially when some teams are still working remotely, to have some fun team building activities that get folks excited and working together — whether they’re participating via video meeting or in person. It’s a critical piece of developing a great company culture too. Team building activities for work can generally be placed into 4 main categories based on which attribute the game is trying to build: communication skills, problem solving, creative thinking, and team bonding. So, if you’re looking for a fun game that can bolster the building blocks of employee engagement, try out these team building exercises.

Communication skills

The best team building activities for work will always grease the gears of communication, break the ice and, if possible, get the creative juices flowing. Many of these activities can actually bolster several team skills at once. Note that some of them work well virtually or in a hybrid situation, indoors or outdoors, depending on your company’s needs.

1. Shark Tank

Get teams to pitch the wackiest startup idea. If you’re working with large groups, you can break them into smaller teams to come up with the most outrageous, yet plausible plan. If you’re working with small groups, simply create smaller teams. Each team has a time limit to come up with an idea, build a pitch using whatever props and tools are available, and then convince your “investors” (other teams) to chomp. This works best in person, but could be done outdoors or indoors. Why it works: Group members have to communicate, brainstorm, and collaborate to develop, create, and present a compelling pitch in the form of a skit or creative presentation. It also triggers creativity and hilarity, which always helps boost team engagement. And who knows? One or more of your teams may come up with your company’s next big idea!

2. Team coat of arms

This is great for small department teams, indoors, outdoors, in person or virtual. Have each group come up with a creative coat of arms that symbolizes what that team does and what its goals are. Why it works: This requires a lot of team communication and brainstorming and can help teams think in positive terms about what kind of company culture they want to develop.

Problem solving

Problem solving is another major team building activity objective requiring critical thinking and communication skills in addition to creativity.

3. The egg drop challenge

For this team building exercise, gather small groups of 3 to 5 people to invent a way to drop a raw egg from a high place without breaking it. Teams get 40 minutes and an assortment of office supplies to build a device that will keep the egg intact when dropped from the second floor. It’s one of those in person events that can be done indoors or outdoors. Why it works: Team members need to communicate, collaborate and use their best problem solving and critical thinking skills to come up with the best solution to this fun building activity.

4. Puzzles

Give each team a word puzzle, a real puzzle, or a brain teaser puzzle (like “who is in my triangle”) to solve and see which group is able to figure it out first! A physical puzzle needs to be done in person, but word puzzles and brain teasers can be done virtually, indoors or out. Why it works: Solving puzzles promotes creativity, communication, and, of course, problem solving skills.

Creative thinking

Great team building games don’t have to be complicated to inspire creative thinking. Sometimes, all you really need is to inject the unexpected into a normal, ordinary procedure to set teams up for creative success.

5. Mad libs

You can do them literally anywhere: in person, over Zoom, outside, or inside. And although you can get the pre-made Mad Libs books, you can take it to another level by printing out the company mission statement or product descriptions and putting blanks for nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. It’s a short enough activity that you could do it a few times a week just to get people going for the most unexpected, odd combinations. Why it works: It triggers creative thinking quite naturally and gets teams laughing and communicating together in a very simple, easy way.

Create a country

Each team gets to make its own “country” that embodies what the ideal company culture should look like. Make a map with towns, rivers, resorts, etc. and have fun. Why it works: It’s a classic brainstorming exercise that’s a lot of fun and can get people thinking about how to collaborate.

Drop the word

Is there a word that everyone in the office uses all the time? Maybe too much? Have teams create a substitute word for that word. The team that is able to avoid using the old word by using the new word the most wins. Why it works: It’s a fun way to get teams thinking of creative ways to look at old problems, maybe even solving them along the way.

Team bonding

Building a cohesive team requires building trust and forming interpersonal bonds between team members. When real friendships form, teams naturally want to help each other succeed together.

Building a cohesive team requires building trust and forming interpersonal bonds between team members. When real friendships form, teams naturally want to help each other succeed together.

Community service

Just look around your community for problems that need solving and organizations that need volunteers and devote a few team hours to pitching in. This typically is an in-person activity, and community service projects can be done indoors or outdoors. Organizers must take into account accessibility for all team members, including anyone with disabilities or health problems. Why it works: When teams work together to create a positive impact in the local community, it creates deeper bonds of trust within the group. It can also encourage leadership skills when team members search for and head up community service projects for the team.

Scavenger hunt

With an endless number of variations, these are some of the most popular team building activities around. Create small teams to hunt for objects, signs, clues, etc., either in the office or outdoors. Clearly, scavenger hunts are best as in person events, but with a little creative thinking, even virtual teams can get in on the action to find online Easter eggs and trivia faster than other virtual teams! Why it works: Team members bond when under a time crunch to compete against other teams.

Who is that baby?

Every team member brings a baby picture and shares some unknown, interesting trivia about themselves. Other team members have to guess who it is. This works well for large groups, both indoors or out, virtually or in person. Why it works: We can’t bond with people we don’t know. This is a great ice breaker activity and helps people see what they have in common.

Build a winning team with fun team building activities

No matter whether your teams are working in person or virtually, you can still build a creative, cohesive, supportive winning team with regular, ongoing team building activities. For more on-point tips for building teams and working smarter, rely on TriNet for all your HR needs.

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