By Carly Moore, Chief Of Staff, Bond Collective
Team-building activities for work are based on the premise that your employees interact in much the same way that a family interacts. So while they aren’t related by blood, they can benefit from many of the traits that make families strong: camaraderie, cooperation, and special bonds.
But how can you develop those qualities in a diverse group of employees to keep them motivated and cohesive? In this article, the experts at Bond Collective will show you 10 team-building activities for work that you can use to foster familial traits in your employees.
10 Easy And Effective Team-Building Activities
1) Food And Fun
Sharing a meal together is one of the most effective team-building activities for work because it helps your team draw close to one another.
Whether you choose to have food delivered or organize a potluck, gather everyone together during lunch or after work hours for some communal downtime. Take this opportunity to share difficulties and successes and ask each employee to relate an example they’ve experienced.
Don’t try to solve every little problem, and definitely don’t judge. Just provide a place where employees can relate what’s going on in their work life and see that others are feeling the same.
2) Office Happy Hour
Some of the best team-building activities for work are also the simplest. Case-in-point: the office happy hour. It doesn’t take much to get your employees involved. Just a place to gather and some food and drink. Then turn your team loose and watch them bond.
Here are a few ways to start this fun tradition:
Leave the office early or gather after work hours and treat your team to a round of drinks at your favorite watering hole.
Hire a portable bar and bartender and organize an office happy hour right where you work.
Institute a wine or whiskey tasting one afternoon. Choose one drink, let everyone try it, and then go around the room and describe what they liked and disliked.
All of these ideas are a great way for your team members to relax, unwind, and get to know one another better.
3) Brainstorming Sessions
Brainstorming sessions are a great team-building activity for work because they help focus your employees’ minds on drawing together to solve problems in the business. Here’s how it works.
As leader of the session, pick two or more problems that need to be solved, gather everyone together, and allow everyone to throw out ideas. Make sure to stress that there are no bad ideas and point out that many of the best ideas have been built on the back of what, at first, seemed like a crazy notion.
Also, make it a point to keep things positive — no ridiculing or criticizing ideas. You want to create a safe space for employees to get creative.
4) Murder Mystery
The murder mystery (or any variation on this common theme) is a fun team-building activity for work that builds camaraderie and gives your employees a break from the stress of work.
Some variations are longer than others (so plan accordingly), but the basic premise of the game is that the teams must work together to question suspects, find clues, and, eventually, solve the murder or mystery.
5) Job Swap
Letting your employees work in another department every once in a while goes a long way toward building team unity and cohesiveness.
Every job comes with its own set of challenges. But your employees might overlook these challenges when they view the job from the outside. It’s an effective team-building activity and learning experience for employees to get a look at other jobs from the inside out.
6) Then And Now
This one takes a bit of preparation, but the results are well worth the effort. Ask employees to bring in baby pictures. Once you’ve collected all the pictures, post them on a wall somewhere, gather everyone around, and challenge employees to match the baby picture with the team member.
The game can be played as teams or as individuals, and answers can be oral or written. For an added bit of fun, institute penalties for wrong guesses or set a maximum number of guesses per turn.
You can even invent your own variations, so get creative and mix things up. One example is to find baby pictures of famous people and have your team members name the star.
7) Continue The Story
Prior to this game, write a few lines of a story at the top of a piece of paper. Write a different set of lines on another piece of paper. Repeat for as many pieces of paper as there are team members. If the size of the group is not restrictive, produce a piece of paper for every other employee or every third employee.
Attach each piece of paper to a clipboard for easy writing, and then gather everyone together in a circle. Make sure everyone has a pen. Distribute the clipboards around the circle.
Set a time limit (i.e., 30 seconds) and a sentence limit (i.e., 2), and then instruct team members to continue the story at the top of the page in whatever manner they see fit.
Once the time has expired or the sentence limit has been reached, employees pass the clipboards to the next person in line and the time starts again. When the clipboards return to the starting point, read each story out loud and vote on the best.
8) Office Olympics
If you want to reward your team for reaching a goal or give them an opportunity to de-stress after completing a difficult project, organize an office Olympics. It takes a bit of planning and preparation, but few things can bring a team together like a healthy dose of competition.
Here are some event ideas:
Separate the beans
Balloon triathlon (blow them up, keep them aloft, pop them)
Tie and untie
You can even play video games or leave the office completely for a round of Laser Tag if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.
9) Beach Ball Questions
This team-building activity for work is a fun and easy way to help team members learn about their colleagues and stay current with each other’s goals and activities.
Write random questions on a brightly colored beach ball. Questions can be simple (“What is your dog’s name?”, “What is your favorite food?”) or complex (“What are your weekly goals for the next month?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”), but a mix of both makes for a less taxing game.
Form a circle facing the center and toss the ball from person to person in a random order. After 10 seconds or so, say, “Stop.” The person holding the ball has to answer the question closest to his or her right pinky. Once they’ve answered the question, toss the ball again and repeat the process.
Pairs is another excellent team-building activity for work that helps team members get to know one another.
First, come up with as many pairs as you can think of (e.g., peanut butter and jelly, yin and yang, salt and pepper, dark and light, male and female, Minnie and Mickey, noise and silence, hard and soft). Then write each word of the pair on a separate piece of paper (yin on one piece, yang on another).
Next, gather everyone together, tape a piece of paper on their backs, and instruct the participants to find their opposite half. To do this, they can only ask Yes or No questions.
When they find their match, they must sit down together and learn three to five interesting facts about one another.
Build Your Team With A Happy, Productive Office Environment
Team-building activities for work are a powerful way to encourage teamwork, but you can’t play a game or hold a happy hour every day. Instead, make your office environment a happy and productive place. This is one of the most effective ways to encourage employee engagement and unity.
If your workspace isn’t as inspiring as you’d like, consider the benefits of a coworking space like Bond Collective. Bond Collective provides everything from communal work environments to dedicated desks to private offices. You even have access to plush conference rooms to suit all your business needs.
Add to that Bond Collective’s many amenities, such as:
Private label mail service
Daily on-site cleaning
Concession food market
Guest reception and greeting
With all those benefits available at every one of Bond Collective’s seven locations, it’s easy to see how their coworking spaces draw your team members together in a cohesive unit and give them the ability to succeed at any problem, task, or project that comes their way.