21 Team Building Activities for Work

We all know how important teamwork is. The relationships between employees deeply impact productivity, innovation, and turnover. A company can’t be competitive without a strong team in which each employee has a well-defined role and a voice. And while it’s easy to print teamwork inspirational quotes and hang them on the office’s walls, it’s much more challenging and time-consuming to find the right way to communicate with your team, build trust, and develop friendships at work.

Improving the human connection between employees through team-building activities started in the early 1900s. But they boomed in the 1990s when high-performance teams became the heart and soul of modern businesses. However, not all team-building activities are equally efficient, and what might work for a company doesn’t necessarily work for all of them. A team is a diverse group of individuals with different backgrounds, lifestyles, and cultures. It isn’t easy to find something suited for everybody. So don’t follow recipes and customize the team-building activities you choose to your team’s profile. If in doubt, ask your team for feedback and ideas. Getting the team involved in selecting the best team-building activity denotes trust, respect, and care.

Start by deciding what type of team-building activities you need. It will make your life easier if you know from the beginning that you need activities for small or large groups that take place at the office or outdoors or that last a few hours or a few days. Then, list your priorities and look for ideas! Check out the following examples divided into seven team-building activities categories to get you started. And don’t forget to customize them!

Team Building Activities To Do During Meetings

Sometimes people don’t have time or willingness to participate in team-building activities during their free time. They prefer to spend weekends and evenings with their families. Therefore, you should always consider activities you can do during meetings. They are short, engaging, fun, and very efficient.

1. Mingle

There are many versions of games that encourage people to get to know each other in a friendly and respectful way. And they only take a few minutes of your meeting.

For example, you may ask people to find 2-3 questions or compliments for each other. Make sure everyone gets to speak with everyone and receives the same amount of attention. Questions help people find new things about their co-workers. Compliments encourage them to be friendlier, create a healthy work environment, and discover what they have in common.

2. Stretching

A few easy stretching exercises before sitting on a chair for a long time improve posture, circulation, and overall health. It helps people relax and enhances focus and attention.

Invite a specialist able to create a short exercise program that fits the team’s fitness level and lifestyle. For example, people working in an office may spend too much time sitting down. They primarily need exercises for the upper part of the body. The specialist can recommend a routine to wear any type of clothes and shoes, at any age, and without injuries.

3. Puzzle Solving

A great team-building activity to do during a meeting is adding a few pieces to a giant puzzle. The game invites communication and collaboration, helps people relax, and provides a common goal.

Puzzles train focus and attention, encourage teamwork and are great fun. Invite your team to add a few pieces each time they use the meeting room. It may be before or after the meeting. Choose a large, interesting puzzle that captures their attention and makes them excited to see the final image.

Team Building Activities to Do Outside the Office

Some of the most expected team-building activities take place outside the office. Many people love a trip with their co-workers, enjoying nature, and maybe checking something off their bucket list. It’s an opportunity to take the team out of their comfort zone and allow them to interact in a new environment. However, make sure the team agrees with this type of activity.

4. Volunteering

Helping a good cause creates a special bond between people. It shows their kind, empathic side and helps them befriend. Doing something good for others makes us happy. And happy employees work and communicate better.

Choose a local cause that fits the team’s interests and principles. It may be a social or environmental cause, such as cleaning a natural environment, raising awareness or money for a community problem, running a marathon for charity purposes, etc. Make sure all team members can participate and help.

5. Adventure

If you manage a team of adventurers, find out what they still have on their bucket list. From going to a fun park to skydiving, everything is allowed.

The adventure activities require planning. Ask the team members if they are up for the challenge and choose the most exciting activity together. Include everyone in the conversation, and don’t impose your preference. People should be able to complete the activity. And adventure means different things for different people. For some, a blindfold challenge in the local park may be adventure enough. Others may prefer a bike tour or driving off-road cars.

6. Learning Something New

Team building activities are created to get people off their comfort zone and have them try new things. Or, at least, things they don’t often do. As a result, learning something new checks every box.

Discuss with your team what they would like to learn. It may be cooking pasta or baking macaroons. It may be climbing, painting, or acting. There are no limits when it comes to learning new things. The experience will help them get to know each other, cooperate, and relax in a useful way.

Team Building Activities to Do During the Workday

Leaders can support their team during the workday in many ways. Including team-building activities in between regular tasks is one of them.

7. Office Tournaments

Contests are extremely popular and fun. You can choose from plenty of options and lots of ways to customize them to fit the size, and the dynamics of your team.

Among the most popular office tournaments are trivia, karaoke, and games of all sorts. However, you can be more creative and plan a recycling contest, zero-waste office tournament, or counting steps contest.

8. Board Games

It’s not easy to find time for a board game during the workday, but it’s extremely fun. And such enjoyable activities don’t have to finish the game in one go. People can take a few minutes to break from time to time and have a round instead of a cigarette.

Provide a diverse board game offer and focus on cooperative games rather than on competitive games. Help people work better together and support each other by giving them a common goal. It’s also a good idea to match the game’s strategy with the team’s profile.

9. Lunch or Brunch Break

A long lunch or brunch break is an excellent opportunity to plan a team-building activity during the workday. You can provide food and beverages and invite people to relax and get to know each other. It’s particularly helpful for new teams or teams that welcome new people.

Encourage people to talk with everyone by planning the activity in an open and airy space. Invite people to sit in a circle and face each other. You may want to mix this activity with other team-building activities such as questions and compliments sessions or games.

Team Building Activities for Small Groups

Team management methods for small and large groups are similar but not identical. Small groups require more attention, care, and trust. Therefore, team-building activities for small groups should be more personal and thoughtful.

10. In-house Workshops

For small groups, you can have more targeted activities such as workshops and short courses. You can choose a professional-related topic or something that develops emotional intelligence or creativity. And because the team has just a few members, you can plan the activity in-house.

Choose a workshop people will not only enjoy but also benefit from. For example, you may want to choose a nutrition workshop, a yoga class, or a career development course. The purpose of the activity is the well-being of the team, which, in the long term, means higher performance and product/service quality.

11. Family Day

Planning a meeting with your team and their families is fun and engaging. Furthermore, it helps people become friends, start meeting outside the office, and develop a stronger bond.

Find a place that entertains children of all ages. The activity should make everyone feel welcome. Provide food and beverages and allow people to enjoy a day off in a relaxing and informal atmosphere. A natural environment like a garden or park will boost morale.

12. City Exploration Trip

Because you have a small team, you can enroll in personalized adventures such as a city exploration trip. Based on the team’s profile and preferences, you can choose to walk, bike, or use the public transport network.

Choose landmarks that excite the team and fit their lifestyle. For example, you may want to take your creatives on a museum marathon or your sales team on a historical landmarks trip. Other teams may enjoy visiting the oldest bookstores in town, a bike tour of the most beautiful parks, or visiting a technical museum. If it is a day-long activity, include lunch or snacks.

Team Building Activities for Large Groups

Finding team-building activities for large groups is a struggle and requires good social and organizational skills. Because it’s impossible to please everyone, you should focus on neutral and fun activities that work equally well for all ages, genders, fitness levels, and professional skills. The key is diversity and adaptability.

13. Cooking Challenge

Food is something we all appreciate. Some of us even know how to cook it. Use as an example the large-scale cooking challenges that bring communities closer and help people from small towns get to know each other.

You may want to plan the cooking challenge at the office or in a local park (if the weather and authorities allow it). Find an iconic meal for your culture or divide the employees into smaller groups with different targets. Make sure everyone gets to taste, that’s no rivalry involved, and people have fun. 

14. Crafts Day

Showing off talents creates a friendly environment. Furthermore, it shows who is creative, practical, or well-organized. Later, people will use this information to seek help and be more productive.

Crafts include all sorts of skills, from making jewelry to painting, working with wood, creating collages, or making dolls. They improve creativity and problem-solving abilities, enhance curiosity, and reduce stress. And even if you are bad at crafts, you can still have fun. 

15. Scavenger Hunt

The activity translates into looking for treasures, finding clues, and solving mysteries. People will never have enough of this. And it’s a good activity for large groups because they can collaborate, follow different paths simultaneously, and learn to listen to and support each other.

Organize a scavenger hunt outside the office, in a large and generous location that can accommodate all your employees. We do recommend hiring professionals if you plan to follow this activity. Ensure the story fits your company culture, doesn’t lead to conflicts, and is entertaining.

Team Building Activities for Teamwork

If your purpose is to help employees work better together, you need team-building activities focused on teamwork. Instead of looking for ways to reduce your employees’ stress levels or get to know each other, you should look for ways to teach them how to collaborate, communicate, and support each other. The best activities for improving teamwork are those that emphasize people’s strengths and weak points, give something to do to each team member, and provide a common goal.

16. Escape Games

Escape games are fun but at the same time require focus, communication skills, and cooperation. The team has to find clues and put them together to be able to leave the room. Each team member may solve one piece of the puzzle or shine in one aspect. Escape games have something for everybody.

Include in the team building activity some time for debriefing. After the game, the team may want to discuss it and see what went well or wrong, where your co-workers have to work more, and where they got along very well.

17. Work-related Events

Even if they may not be fun, work-related events are helpful. They create bonds based on professional skills, expertise, and career focus. In the process, team members will find each other’s strengths and learn how to offer support.

Work-related events may be conferences, workshops, fairs, or courses. Provide access passes, accommodation, or transport if needed. Remember that the activity should not be a task but a reward.

18. Community Service

Community service gives people a common goal, and it’s a noble one. It is a rewarding activity emphasizing empathy, emotional intelligence, and kindness. As a result, it helps employees connect at a deeper level, a more human one.

Engaging teams in community service boost morale and motivates people. It also creates a trustful environment and improves teamwork.

Fun Group Team Building Activities

To avoid burnout, keep employees healthy and happy, and boost morale, you need fun team-building activities. Besides, when you take people out of their comfort zone and give them reasons to laugh, they will likely become better friends.

19. Personality Tests

Image via Indeed

No one really believes in personality tests, but they can be fun and help you learn a thing or two about your colleagues. Avoid sensitive subjects and keep the answers fun and entertaining. Remember, as a team-building organizer, your objective is to make people laugh, not embarrass them.

Collaborate with a psychologist or the HR team to find the best personality tests for your team. Make a day of it, either at the office or outdoors. You may include snacks, sweets, or beverages.  

20. Laughing Class

Laughing classes make a point of laughing. They are engaging and fun. It’s impossible to remain serious as laughing is contagious. And people who laugh together are more friendly, relaxed, and emphatic.

A laughing class can take place anywhere. However, the team doesn’t have to be disturbed. So either book a meeting room or shut the office door or go somewhere quiet. A laughing class in the middle of nature followed by ice cream may be the best team-building idea for your team.

21. Team Sports

Your best friends from childhood were your teammates. That’s because team sports are fun and engaging. They give you a common purpose, teach collaboration like nothing else, and emphasize skills and strengths.

Offer a variety of team sports from ballroom dancing to basketball to bubble football. Discuss the matter with your team, as they probably have many ideas. Choosing in itself is a bonding experience.

We hope you have enjoyed our selection of team building activities. Not sure which one to choose? Share the image below with your colleagues to help you decide better.

FAQ Team building activities

Why organize a team building?

The main goal is to unite the team, aiming to create a stronger bond between team members. But this term of the uniting team members contains many more arguments. Here are eight key reasons to focus when organizing a team-building:

  1. Socialize. The opportunity to get to know each other in an informal environment
  2. Improve teamwork and communication skills
  3. Boosts the spirit of competitiveness
  4. Develop the company culture and team spirit
  5. Improve the level of employee involvement and motivation
  6. Encourage innovation and creativity
  7. Streamline collaboration between departments
  8. Unlock leadership potential.

What are the objectives of a team building

Any teamwork activity must be initiated before the objectives of such an event have been set. In general, we will answer two questions before organizing such an event:

  • What points do we have to work on within the team?
  • What are the expectations after the end of the event experience?

It is also necessary to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the team members to know what to work on. Thus, we can point out some objectives to consider for a team building event:

  • Setting a long-term/short-term goal of the organization and explaining it to the team, to motivate it to be fulfilled
  • Explain in detail the role of each in the team
  • Solving the problems of each department at that time (punctual)
  • Improving relationships between colleagues.

How to organize a team building?

The human resources department is in charge of the organization, but it is preferable to turn to professionals in this field. Managers will also be involved because they have much closer contact with team members and know the real current situation and needs. If deemed necessary, different events can be organized for each team separately.

Regarding the frequency of organization, there is no universally valid recipe. It is customary to organize an annual team building, but the needs of each organization must be analyzed. For example, if a company is dealing with many new employees (find out all about new hire onboarding) in a short period of time, it is a good idea to organize an event to unite the team.

As a best practice, when you choose the location, it must be at the confluence of everyone's wishes and must also be an opportunity to get out of the comfort zone. Ideally, we should choose a location that allows both indoor and outdoor activities.

The person or persons responsible for the organization will consider a budget of adequate duration - 1, 2, or even 3 days, the menu offered to participants, and possibly the location of a party at the end of team building. If you go for the 3-day option, it is advisable to give a day off, for recovery. It is advisable to consider the family situation of the participants for the decision on the duration. Transport is another critical point to consider if the event takes place outside the locality.

In addition to these administrative details, the important issues to consider are:

  • Exploring the team, analyzing the participants and the interaction between them
  • Setting team building goals
  • Establishing the duration and nature of the activities, the plan of activities
  • Involvement of a professional team of trainers in this field (preferably, but not mandatory).
  • Such an event is meant to take participants out of their comfort zone, but the activities should not be annoying or tiring. A balance is needed.
  • Common activities can be established for all employees and separate based on interests, hobbies, or departments.

Managers need to communicate the obligation to participate from the outset, so only exceptions that are objective reasons that prevent participation will be considered. The event will not have the expected result if only friendly employees participate.

In case all your team is working in different parts of the world, you can plan a virtual team building, to strengthen the morale and dynamics of the organization.

Below are some examples of good practice that HR experts have validated:

  • Suggests a simple, casual dress code
  • Managers will participate, but their functions will not have priority; they will be treated the same as other employees
  • Request feedback from end participants (anonymous)
  • Rewards active participation with a free day of recovery + a small gift (with useful products)
  • Create a video or photo album documenting the experience and then share it with the participants
  • Implement a "social" contract, with the rules of the event and the consequences of non-compliance.

Why team buildings are important in an organization?

Work and collaboration related to daily activities create certain connections restricted by social conventions. A team-building event will bring a new perspective to interpersonal relationships, so there are several benefits that you will be able to see after organizing this event:

  • Employees can get to know each other better in a more relaxed environment
  • Employees will feel more involved in the organization's mission and values
  • Increase the level of loyalty to the company
  • Reduce costs with the integration of new employees
  • Reduce the gap between employees, encouraging communication
  • Improve individual involvement
  • Increase productivity
  • Create an environment where conflicts are much easier to resolve
  • Employees improve their listening and communication skills.

Key takeaways

Team building activities are designed to be a reward that boosts morale and reduces stress levels. At the same time, they improve teamwork, communication, and collaboration because they help people get to know each other and find their colleagues’ strengths, weak points, and preferences. Like always, our advice is always to take time to discuss with your team before choosing an activity. And don’t forget about remote employees. You can organize team-building activities for remote teams too.

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