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35 Team Building Activities for Work (2022 Edition)

Create and retain an effective workforce with these leading team-building activities...

Deepti Jain
Data-driven technical writer
September 8, 2022
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Companies actively endeavor to create a sense of teamwork amongst employees by connecting them to each other. With good reason.

Research has shown that 86% of corporate leaders can attribute a company's failure to poor collaboration. Furthermore, 75% of workers believe collaborating well with their colleagues affects how engaged they are at work. Camaraderie also drives retention. Over half of employees have remained with an employer because they felt that they were part of a team. Interesting then that not even a fifth of the people surveyed were evaluated for communication skills during a performance review.

Whether you want to strengthen communication skills, increase productivity or simply inspire creativity, good team-building activities can help employees become more collaborative and effective. We've put together this expansive list of great team-building exercises for the workplace. Some are physical, some are cognitive, and some are silly. There's a little something here for everyone.

In This Article

Our 10 Best Team-Building Activities

1. QuizBreaker

The best part about using Quizbreaker for team building is that it's completely free! You simply invite each person to your Quizbreaker account and have them answer at least seven icebreaker questions.

Even big names like Google, Moz, and The New York Times use QuizBreaker to boost morale and build deeper connections with their team.

Quizbreaker review from the New York Times

Mark Daoust of Quiet Light shared his experience with the team-building activity, “You'll be surprised how fast this catches on and how the feeling of collaboration increases when your team members know a little more about each other.”

2. PalaceSphere Virtual Escape Rooms

Virtual escape rooms are video games that require you to solve mystery puzzles to escape from “the room”. The challenges can involve finding hidden objects, solving riddles, and cracking codes.

A leading ride-sharing company that was struggling to connect its 175 global employees turned to Palace Games’ Virtual Escape Game to boost morale and bring the team together virtually.

It turned out to be a perfect choice for the company. The activity helped break the large group into teams of 3-4 players each, paving way for solid communication. There was a private leaderboard that fostered friendly competition among the players and increased their social engagement.

Virtual Escape Room team-building activity

3. Karaoke Event

Karaoke requires a little bravery and is simple enough that anyone can do it, even if they've never sung in front of anyone before!

C.T. Price, CEO of Life Grows Green, gave a special twist to the game by bringing a talented guitarist friend into the mix. Price talks about the positive outcome the event had. “I encouraged my teams to make a pair of two for a duet cover song. The Karaoke event was a blasting one, and I’m currently seeing those pairs being closer than ever in our formal office days.”

4. River Rafting

John Ross, the founder of Test Prep Insight, shares his experience with river rafting as a team-building activity,

“Last summer, we took a day off as a team and went white water river rafting on a river about an hour or so from the office. It was a blast. Even the non-adventurous types on our team loved it once they let loose a little. Though it sounds a little cliché, this activity was perfect for developing teamwork.

You have to closely listen to the guide on when to stop, paddle left, paddle right, and press ahead as a team. It was honestly great to work on our coordination and collaboration as a unit without even feeling like “work.” I wouldn't hesitate to go river rafting as a team again - it was fun, great for building chemistry, and not terribly expensive.”

5. Blindfold Test

The blindfold test involves each person wearing a blindfold while they complete various tasks, such as drawing an object or preparing a snack. These tasks are designed to test their memory, dexterity, and teamwork skills.

Kate Zhang, the founder of Kate Backdrop, shares her experience with the Blindfold Test,

“This activity (Blindfold Test) helped employees learn how to communicate better and understand different communication styles.”

6. Sharing a Meal

One of the easiest team-building activities to accomplish is sharing a meal. Eating together breaks boundaries and formalities so that colleagues can talk about topics outside of work. Sharing a delicious lunch creates a sense of community and friendship amongst staff which carries over into their work collaborations.

Kyle Risley of Lift Vault says, “These informal meetings (sharing a meal) help managers learn what's important to their employees, which helps them connect to their teams on a more personal level. The best part about this team-building activity is that it's something you can do on a quarterly or monthly schedule, continually reinforcing the relationships built over each outing.”

Kamyar K.S., CEO of World Consulting Group, gave a new twist to these informal lunches with team members. His company holds “lunch and learn” events every other week, where an employee with a particular skill holds a small presentation, teaching their skill to others.

According to Kamyar, “Outside of the office, we try to do team lunches or dinners out at a restaurant, this is covered by the company. This is strictly no business talk and completely voluntary, although we typically have a great turnout. This has helped create a sense of unity on a personal level, we talk about families, hobbies, and other topics.”

7. Cardboard Boat Building Challenge

The Cardboard Boat Building Challenge requires all hands on deck. According to the creators, Outback Teambuilding, “This creative activity challenges teams to design, construct, and test boats made out of nothing but cardboard and tape.”

Cardboard Boat Building Challenge

According to Lululemon, one of the biggest athletic clothes retailers, the cardboard boat building challenge is the “best team-building event we have done because it was challenging, fun, and creative.”

Other votaries of the activity include prominent companies like Kaplan, The Westin Bonaventure, Scotiabank, and more.

8. Create a Slack Channel

Slack is one of the best remote team management tools. It’s also a great way to build relationships and get to know team members on a personal level.

We use Slack for everyday communication at Select Software Reviews. It has helped the team break down barriers and create stronger relationships. Even the founder, Phil Strazzulla, joins in on conversations, which helps make the company culture fun and less intimidating.

Slack channel conversation example

Trey Ferro, CEO of Spot Pet Insurance, an Insurtech company in the pet insurance industry, also suggests,

“New books and music, jokes, fun facts, weekend plans, and other anecdotes are all things that can be shared in this Slack channel, which can help your team get to know each other better, even within a remote workplace. By knowing each other personally, your team will have a stronger sense of community and camaraderie and be motivated to better work together professionally.”

9. Office Trivia

Michael Alexis of TeamBuilding tells us, “You can adapt the game (trivia) to various topics, such as holidays, and run the game as an ongoing team building outing or exercise.

Beyond running virtual trivia events for clients, our company hosts internal trivia socials that help our remote workforce get more familiar with and comfortable with coworkers. Our company culture has improved greatly ever since we started including regular trivia in our events calendar.”

10. Pictionary

The best part about Pictionary is that it's designed to help teams work together better by encouraging collaboration and communication between all members.

Rachel Eddins, Career counselor and Executive Director at Eddins Counseling, talks about her experience with this team-building activity,

“I like these games because you have to rely on other people to get the correct information which is so true in the workplace. This activity is helpful in showing how important it is that we try our best and that we try to communicate effectively, which helps to build a more effective team!”

Pro-tip: Knowing when you need to pay special attention to team building is difficult if you’re not actively measuring employee engagement. We recommend investing in employee engagement tools to monitor and promote your team cohesion daily.

5-Minute Team Building Activities

Team building activities can last several hours. But what if you only have a few minutes? Here are easy icebreaker games to consider when you’re introducing a new team member or want to kick off a meeting on a collaborative note.

Show and Tell

Objective: To know one another better and increase confidence

Tools: Household items

Time Required: 5 minutes

Participants: Any number can work

How to Play: Hold a weekly show-and-tell session. Ask two to three members to bring something from their home and let them tell the story behind it to everyone present.

The theme of the show can be “A thing that motivates you” or “What item represents your leadership style?”

Why we love it: This activity increases self-efficacy and confidence. And as per research, increased confidence boosts individual performance and satisfaction within teams.

Would you rather…?

Would you rather icebreaker game from Slido

Objective: To start an interesting discussion

Tools: Slido if you’re playing online; Pen and paper if you’re playing offline.

Time Required: 5 minutes

Participants: Any number can work

How to Play: Write down two choices and ask each person to choose one and then explain why they chose that option over the other one.

Pro Tip: Use Slido for an online version of this game. Create a ‘would you rather’ poll question. Insert two options. You can then activate the poll during your meeting and display the results as a fun break between agenda points.

Why we love it: It's a great way to get people talking, sharing stories, and bonding over their answers.

A Dutch national association for medical professionals was able to switch their live event into a virtual one in just five days with the help of Slido. They could also re-create an interactive experience both for speakers and participants.

Make a Mental Image

Objective: To understand a group's perception of teamwork

Tools: None.

Time Required: 5-10 minutes.

Participants: As many as you want

How to Play: Ask everyone to close their eyes and call up a mental image of something that represents teamwork. When all images are finished, compare them with one another and see if there are any similarities or differences between them.

Why we love it: What your team members come up with will tell you more about what teamwork means to them than any other part of the exercise.

Easy to Plan Team Building Activities

Two Truths and a Lie

Objectives: To foster colleague familiarity

Tools: None

Time Required: 15 to 20 minutes

Participants: 2 or more people

How to Play: Have team members tell three things about themselves: Two things that are true and one thing that is not.

The rest of the group has to guess which one is the lie.

Why we love it: This is one of the simplest ways to get people talking and laughing. It's also a great icebreaker for new teams or introducing a new hire. You can keep playing until everyone has had a chance to tell their stories or until time runs out — whichever comes first!

Balloon Pop

Objective: To build team spirit and break a tense atmosphere

Tools: Balloons and toothpicks for every team member

Time Required: 15 min

Participants: 20 - 150

How to Play: Start by giving each participant a balloon and a toothpick. The challenge involves saving your balloon from getting pricked while trying to prick other people’s balloons. Participants can run around the room to save their balloons. The last person to have their balloons without being pricked wins the game.

Why we love it: It guarantees fun and helps build team spirit. Once you’ve run around a room popping balloons together, the workplace atmosphere is significantly more playful.

Campfire Stories

Objectives: To encourage team members to share stories and establish common experiences

Tools: Whiteboard, Sticky notes

Time Required: 45 minutes

Participants: 6-20

Team members solving a challenge

How to Play: Allow teams to gather in a circle and narrate their highly positive or negative experiences at the workplace. You can create a set of trigger words, add them to sticky notes and post them on one section of the whiteboard.

Let a member choose a trigger word and use it while sharing an experience. Then, shift the selected note to the other side of the whiteboard.

When a member is relating an experience, ask the remaining members to note down words that remind them of a similar experience at work. Add these words to the whiteboard and repeat until you fill the whiteboard with interconnected stories.

Why we love it: It encourages storytelling, improves team bonding, and serves as an informal training session.

Back-to-back Drawing

Objective: To develop communication skills

Tools: Pen and paper

Time Required: 15-20 minutes

Participants: Multiples of two

How to Play: Divide the group into pairs and have the partners sit back-to-back. Give one person a pen and paper and the other a small object. The person with the object should describe it without naming it. The other person must draw what they hear.

Why we love it: The activity works on communication which is a crucial and challenging skill to develop.

Team Building Activities for Small Teams

Climer Cards

Objectives: To inspire creativity

Tools: Playmeo Climer Cards

Time Required: 2-5 minutes

Participants: 1-7 persons

How to Play:

Follow this step-by-step approach to play this game:

  • Lay Playmeo Climer Cards face-up on a flat surface.
  • Pose a question you would like a discussion around.
  • Ask each person in your team to choose one card that best reflects their response to the question.
  • Ask participants to share their choice and why it resonates with them. They can do so in pairs, in groups, or with the room.

Why we love it: This activity invites sharing and requires some creativity of thought.

Egg Drop

Objectives: To foster creative thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving

Tools: Raw eggs, cardboard, duct tape, straws, a flat surface leading to a drop (such as a counter or table), and cleaning supplies.

Time Required: 30 minutes

Participants: 6 or more

How to Play: Divide players into equal teams. Give each team a raw egg, an A4 piece of cardboard, 1 meter of duct tape, and 40 bendable straws.

Set a time limit of 15 minutes. In this allotted time, the teams must use their resources to build a protective structure for their egg. The goal is for the egg to remain intact after a fall. Once the time is up, gather all the eggs and push them off the table.

Teams whose egg doesn’t break after hitting the ground wins. In the case of a tie, the team that has used the fewest straws wins.

Why we love it: The teams can have a friendly competition, and the drop is surprisingly suspenseful.

River Crossing

River crossing puzzle team-building game landing page

Objectives: To develop critical thinking and foster creativity

Tools: River Crossing Puzzle

Time Required: 5-10 minutes

Participants: 1-7 persons

How to Play: Divide the team into groups, and then give each group a problem that involves transporting a chicken, a bag of corn, and a fox across a virtual river in a small rowboat. The members have to use as few movements as possible to solve the puzzle.

Why we love it: The game allows time to discuss ideas and perform experiments. In this way, it develops critical thinking, leadership, and problem-solving skills. It is also free to download, and easy to navigate.

Chest of Hopes and Dreams

Objective: To develop creative problem-solving skills and foster empathy

Tools: A bowl, note paper

Time Required: 30 to 60 minutes

Participants: 5 to 15 people

How to Play: Ask everyone to jot down a goal that they'd like to achieve in life on a sticky note. Place the notes in a hat.

After all the members list their wishes, pick a piece of paper at a time and read them aloud, keeping the writer anonymous. Let everyone discuss how they can help the person achieve their goal.

Why we love it: This activity makes team members aware that they work amongst people who are complex, hopeful individuals.

Pro-tip: You may be surprised by the real-life challenges that come up when employees share their personal aspirations. Make sure you’re supporting the well-being of your team members by offering employee assistance. The employee assistance program (EAP) that is best suited depends on your company and workforce, but consider these EAP programs we highly recommend.

The Tower of Babel

Objectives: To promote creative thinking and collaboration.

Tools: Materials for building The Tower of Babel (such as straws, masking tape, and packaging material).

Time Required: 25-40 minutes

Participants: 3 to 4 persons in each group

How to Play: Divide members into small groups and provide similar and equal building materials to each group. Each group uses their creativity to stack the supplies and build the Tower of Babel. The group that builds the highest tower wins.

Tower of babel teambuilding game

Why we love it: This game is creative, collaborative, cheap, and creates some friendly, hands-on competition between teams.

Classify This

Objectives: To understand varying perspectives

Tools: Around 20 random objects for each group

Time Required: 10-15 minutes

Participants: 1-5 people in a group

How to Play: Arrange a collection of random objects. Break up the team into two groups and get them to categorize the objects into four categories. Ask each team to jot down their categories on a piece of paper within a set time.

Once the time is up, a representative of each team can present their list of categories and explain why they grouped the objects in the way they did.

Why we love it: It is a brilliant way to let team members understand and appreciate different points of view.

Team Building Activities for Large Teams

Let’s Roam Custom Scavenger Hunts

Objective: To encourage cohesion through a memorable shared experience

Tools: World's Scavenger Hunt App

Time Required: Up to 3 days

Participants: 2-300+

How to Play: Teams take part in an epic scavenger hunt, learning about art, culture, and history along the way. Members snap pictures and answer trivia questions for points. At the end of the hunt, which lasts for three days, the team with the most points wins.

Why we love it: This memorable experience fosters camaraderie among coworkers by encouraging them to work together and experience an adventure.

Random Acts of Kindness

Objective: To give back to the community and foster collaboration

Tools: Random Acts of Kindness app

Time Required: 1-4 hours

Participants: 4-10,000+

How to Play: Download the Random Acts of Kindness app. Split into teams and make members complete heartwarming challenges.

The team to complete the most challenges in an assigned time wins.

Why we love it: This is an excellent way for companies to build stronger teams while making a difference in their community, or by simply doing something nice for someone else. It is especially effective for companies that have community upliftment as a set value.

Build a Bike

Objective: Working together to give back to the community

Tools: Outback’s Charity Bike Buildathon materials

Time Required: 0.5 - 2 hours

Participants: 100+

How to Play: Team members can build bicycles for children in need while bonding with their group.

Why we love it: It is a morale-boosting team-building activity.

As a testament to the effectiveness of team building, Accenture teamed up with Outback Team Building & Training for a Charity Bike Buildathon which resulted in a great experience for the organization.

Charity bike building team-building activity

Minute to Win It

Objective: To have competitive fun

Tools: Minute to Win It materials

Time Required: Series of 60-second challenges

Participants: 10-2,000+

How to Play: Split into teams and let members participate in a series of 60-second challenges.

Some examples of the challenges:

  • The Marshmallow Challenge: You have one minute to build the tallest free-standing structure you can out of 20 marshmallows, a sheet of wax paper, and a yardstick.
  • Popping Balloons with Water Gun: Pop as many balloons with water guns as you can in a minute

The team who wins the most challenges wins.

Why we love it: This multifaceted challenge helps teams to blow off steam while being creative.

Pitch Me Your Business

Objective: To improve collaboration and communication among the team.

Tools: None

Time Required: 20-30 minutes

Participants: Unlimited

How to Play:

Co-founder and CEO of RebateKey, Ian Sells, is a firm believer in this activity. the game. He asks team members to come up with a business idea and pitch the concept to a "potential investor."

According to Ian, “This game hits many birds with one stone. Not only can you improve collaboration and communication among the team, but you're also exercising their innovation and creative abilities. You'll even have the opportunity to see their entrepreneurial and marketing skills.”

Why we love it: This activity helps colleagues think creatively and improves their entrepreneurial skills. While not all ideas are serious, some great innovations can come from pitching the bizarre.

Magazine Story

Objective: Using creativity to make employees think of the company in a positive way

Tools: Markers, pens, cardboard, paper.

Time Required: 60-90 minutes

Participants: Unlimited

How to Play: Divide the participants into groups. Each group can have 3-6 players. Ask participants to create a magazine story about their organization using a magazine template you provide.

The template should include:

  • A cover
  • Cover story headlines
  • Quotes from leaders and team members
  • Sidebars about project highlights
  • Images

Provide the necessary tools to complete the exercise. The team that creates the best magazine is determined by a voting panel and gets a prize.

Why we love it: This activity helps teams brainstorm a positive image of their employers.

Corporate Castaways

Objectives: To solve difficult physical challenges together

Tools: Corporate Castaways items (team bandanas and flag materials, accessories, and decorations)

Time Required: 2 - 3 hours

Participants: Any number of employees can participate

How to Play: Split the group into teams and ask them to come up with unique tribe names and flags. Tribes can strategize together to complete physical challenges.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Building an obstacle course using materials at hand
  • Hunting for hidden objects
  • Creating a camping meal
  • Building an igloo out of cardboard boxes

The tribe that wins the most challenges before time runs out wins the title of Corporate Castaways champions.

Why we love it: Your team enjoys healthy competition. Members are challenged to think outside of the box while having some fun.

Even Microsoft has great things to say about this fun-filled activity. The participants reported having fun at the Corporate Castaways event.

Microsoft review of corporate castaways team building event

Pro-tip: As important as team-building activities are, organizing these events often becomes a lesser priority for HR managers who are swamped with recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and other tasks. Make sure your HR team also has the bandwidth to care for employee morale by investing in HR software that can perform menial tasks.

Team Building Activities for Remote Teams

Room Sharing

Objective: To remove a barrier and create familiarity

Tools: None

Time Required: 10-15 minutes

Participants: 5-10 people

How to Play:

Each week, one or two people turn their webcams onto the room they work from and allow others to see their working conditions. This gives a greater insight into their personality and real life.

Ouriel Lemmel, the co-founder of WinIt, shares his experience with the room-sharing team-building activity, “We have learned that one team member is a music lover through this activity, evident from the collection we can see. Another has a house full of animals, and a third loves reading detective novels.”

Lemmel further adds, “Participation is voluntary; we don’t want to impose on anyone who doesn’t want to share their home with us, so no one is forced into it.”

Why we love it: This activity creates conversations and helps team members discover possible shared interests.

Remote work team building event

Remote Work Bingo

Objective: To encourage empathy and camaraderie

Tools: Pen and Paper

Time Required: 30-60 minutes

Participants: 10-20

How to Play: Send each participant a unique card with various boxes on it. Randomly select common tasks and events that are synonymous with remote work to fill these boxes. Then call them out in a team meeting. If a task or event is called out and an employee has done this, they can mark it off.

The tasks can be attending a virtual meeting wearing pajama bottoms, meeting a colleague in real life, having a meeting interrupted by a pet, or stopping a meeting because a delivery driver is at the door. The first employee to tick off a whole row on their card wins the game.

Why we love it: Remote work bingo is a great icebreaker that leads to some great shared stories. It also shows employees that everyone in the company experiences the same challenges behind the scenes.

Leaders You Admire

Objectives: To share and discover admirable leadership qualities

Tools: A team video call

Time Required: Any preset amount of time

Participants: Any number of people can participate, but in the interest of time, small groups are best

How to Play: Ask each team member to tell the group about a leader they admire within or outside of the company. Have them list the reasons why they admire the person.

Why we love it: This activity helps members discover leadership traits and qualities they can emulate from their favorite team leader.

Plane Crash

Objective: To improve leadership and problem-solving skills

Tools: None

Time Required: 10-15 minutes

Participants: Enough to make 2 or more teams

How to Play: Divide members into teams and ask them to envision themselves as shipwreck victims on a deserted island. Let them work together to pick some items lying around the office that they think would be handy for survival.

After the allotted time ends, ask each group to present the items and talk about why they consider these items would be helpful.

Why we love it: It is a great way to examine which members take on leadership roles within their group.

Virtual Clue Murder Mystery

Objective: To develop problem-solving skills

Tools: Video conferencing software and Outback’s Murder Mystery app

Time Required: 1-2 hours

Participants: 4-1000+

How to Play: Divide everyone into teams to investigate clues, review case files, and solve a murder mystery within a set time.

Why we love it: It is a fun way for remote teams to develop problem-solving skills, think critically, collaborate, and communicate.

What are Team Building Activities?

Team building, as a concept, is when people belonging to a workforce or department engage in a shared activity with the goal to improve their interpersonal relationships. Team building activities foster friendship and cohesion within the team and increase their ability to work together. A team who has shared a challenge and achieved a victory, albeit in a game setting, shares a unique bond.

There is no right or wrong team-building activity, as long as it is something your employees enjoy. Mekkie Bansil, a 4x SaaS startup marketer and designer, agrees.

Bansil says, “I have a pretty small team, but we’ve taken up doing some exercises that are normally used for character creation (We have a tarot-based table-top roleplaying game we’ve been using to create commenter “personas”). Since we’re all creatives, it gives us a fun way to bond while also being productive.”

Ben Travis, Founder of HRChief.com, resonates with the sentiment. He suggests that while people sometimes disregard team-building activities as “lame,” they have made a huge difference for his team in terms of personal experience.

Travis says, “Team-building activities strengthen the bonds between coworkers and facilitate a psychologically safe environment. That means people can bring radical ideas to the table without the fear of being dismissed. It means individuals can feel empowered to try new things, even (and especially) when they fail, sharing learnings and helping the entire team grow together.”

Types of Team Building Activities

There are all sorts of team-building activities that you can choose from. Here are the most popular types:

Problem-solving Team-building Activities

In this type of activity, teams compete to solve a problem or riddle. The first team to solve the problem wins. Problem-solving games help people work together because they need to communicate, cooperate, and listen to each other’s input to come up with solutions.

Ideas for problem-solving activities:

  • Use a perspective grid to map out solutions to a problem or challenge
  • Create an obstacle course and race as individuals, then try again as a group
  • Use the principles of design thinking (or design sprints) to solve a problem in the company
  • Pair up employees with different skills to create something together

A T-Mobile employee wanted to organize a quick and easy activity for the day after the 4th of July, so she turned to team building for help.

Colleagues connecting at team building event

The group was recommended to do Code Break – a fun, collaborative activity full of puzzles, brainteasers, and riddles. It helped them get back into the swing of things after their break with a good dose of mental exercise.

Outdoor Team-building Activities

Outdoor team-building is highly effective in helping the participants to get to know each other better, solve problems together, and also build trust.

Understanding this, Amazon sent a group of employees to a self-managed team-building event, the Milan City Explorer Challenge in Milan.

The group decided to participate in a scavenger hunt activity that took them around the city, had fun, and got to know each other very well.

Amazon team building scavenger hunt event

The interactive, hi-tech game unlocked tasks through GPS, and the team members completed different challenges such as searching for historical information and answering trivia questions. Teams also interacted with locals while capturing photos and videos of themselves.

After the event, Amazon was sent an online link with all the team’s photos and videos and the final scores to pronounce the winning group.

Some examples of outdoor team-building activities

  • Volunteering
  • Hiking
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Rock climbing
  • Bouldering
  • Team sports (touch football, volleyball, etc.)

Virtual Team-building Activities

Virtual team-building activities are the perfect means to get remote employees and contractors involved in team building. Since these activities only require a device with Internet access, there's no need for travel or expensive equipment.

For instance, Microsoft’s Azure team helped their remote staff to reconnect and re-engage through virtual team-building when the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the morale of their employees.

A remote employee engaging with a virtual-based team-building activity

The activity they chose was a virtual murder mystery which was engaging, fun, and light-hearted. After the activity, the participants experienced a noticeable lift in morale.

Virtual team-building activities to try

  • Virtual cooking classes
  • Water Cooler Trivia (asynchronous team trivia)
  • Donut chats with team members
  • Creating a team Spotify playlist
  • Online games and quizzes

SelectSoftware Reviews’ founder and CEO Phil Strazzulla is also a votary of remote team-building activities.

Being scattered over five continents means all SSR’s communication can easily just be about work, leaving the team with little or no personal connection. However, every Thursday, the SSR team does a virtual hangout. The team talks about random topics (what's going on in your life, culture, food, travel), plays trivia, or online Pictionary. We have also done virtual walking tours of each other's cities, where one person shows the group around their neighborhood.

As Phil says, “Having these chats has allowed our team to get to know one another better in an informal setting. This makes it so much easier to communicate and have empathy in a professional setting. If someone has to skip a meeting, we now know they are caring for their elderly parent or taking their partner to a pre-planned doctor appointment. It’s also meant that when our remote colleagues are in the same city or country, they meet up and have a great time!”

Value-based Team-building Activities

This type of activity is based on the assumption that when people share common values, they will develop a sense of belonging to the group.

For example, Microsoft knew that a charitable team-building activity would allow its employees to bond outside the workplace. The activity needed to be fun, interactive, and philanthropic.

In small groups, employees took on challenges such as relay races and target practice to earn points in the form of non-perishable food. They then used the cans and boxes of food they won to build the most impressive structure in a final contest.

After the activity ended, the group donated all items to a local food bank.

Food donation team-building event

Value-based team-building activities can be used to help employees understand the company's core values, as well as how these values affect them personally. One way to do this is through role-playing exercises where employees act out scenarios based on real-life situations at work.

For instance, if your company's core value is customer service and you want your employees to understand how this value affects them personally, you could ask them to act out a customer service scenario. After, the team can give feedback about how the scene reflects the company’s values.

The Importance of Team Building Activities

Team building activities are beneficial not only for the employees but also for the employers. It helps leaders identify the strengths and weaknesses of their employees.

Here are some core benefits that you can get by implementing team-building activities in your company.

Team Building Encourages Collaboration and Shared Purpose

People in the same team work together to achieve a common goal. They need to collaborate and work with each other, which is why teamwork is so essential. Team building activities help employees become more collaborative by encouraging them to speak up, get involved, and solve problems as one unit. This helps increase camaraderie, too.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's participation in a charity activity called Bookworm Builders is a great example of an organization getting creative and working together to help children in need.

The team worked in small groups of two to three to build bookshelves for a non-profit that supports the education of children in foster care. Each group got the opportunity to work together, get creative, and do something unique. Sharing this common vision drove home the value of giving, and the reward of accomplishing a good deed together.

Team building promotes clear communication

Shared Challenges Improve communication

Team building activities can be a great way to improve communication and create better relationships between colleagues. Improved communication also increases efficiency and allows team members to share ideas more effectively. This, in turn, allows them to solve problems faster.

Solving Problem as a Team Showcases Valuable Qualities

Team building activities can allow individuals to discover their strengths, the strengths of other team members, and how these can be implemented to resolve problems.

For instance, some people are natural leaders, some are good at delegating work, some at verifying finished work, and others are naturally good at following directions. Team building activities can guide employees towards finding out the roles and positions they are best suited for.

Increased Efficiency, Productivity, and Performance

When employees feel connected to one another, they are more likely to work together efficiently and effectively. Team-building activities are essential for creating that sense of connection.

The survey report from Boston Consulting Group affirms this view. According to the report, 75% of workers felt that their performance had been consistent or increased while working remotely. When BCG dug deeper, they realized social connectivity through virtual team-building exercises was one of the key factors. Activities such as these helped employees create an informal atmosphere and feel like they were still part of a team.

GitLab encourages employees to have virtual coffee breaks and use Slack for informal connections and conversations. They have also created a Random Room on Google Hangouts that allows anyone to drop in at any time, creating impromptu social interactions or “water cooler moments.”

Develops Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills include being able to deal with conflict in a positive manner, as well as being a good listener and communicator. All of these attributes are honed by team-building challenges where colleagues are made to collaborate or compete in an unfamiliar setting.

Improved Motivation and Creativity

Forbes reports that employees who collaborated at work stuck at their tasks 64% longer as compared to solitary peers. They also reported higher engagement levels, lower stress levels, and higher success rates.

Similarly, Greenfield Global found that when they used Express Team Building activity, they were able to boost morale and friendship during a challenging project. The team participated in a Clue Murder Mystery event where they used their unique individual strengths and problem-solving approaches to solve the challenge.

Building Trust Amongst Co-workers

Building trust is a critical component of successful teamwork. When you work in teams, you must trust and have confidence in your fellow members. You need to know that they are capable of delivering results and doing their tasks on time. Teamwork requires dedication and commitment from every member of the team.

Take MotorInc. Pvt. Ltd, an automobile company, for instance. When a Gallup survey and employee happiness survey were conducted, the company found that employees were de-motivated. The employees didn't trust each other, which led to dysfunction in their department and decreased productivity. Sales and marketing were also underperforming, affecting revenue.

After attending a three-day employee engagement program that focused on team building and included dialogue on inclusion, the company could positively reinforce a sense of trust in the employees and teams. This, in turn, led to the company restoring their market share.

Working Hard and Playing Hard

It’s important to ensure your employees are having fun at the office. Consider these awesome team-building games for a playful bonding experience everyone will remember.

Pro-tip: If you want to further improve employee morale, try using recognition programs for employees in tandem with team-building activities. As many as 82% of HR leaders suggest that employee recognition programs increase employee happiness.

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Deepti Jain

Deepti has over three year's experience in researching software and writing data-driven, engaging content for marketing, SaaS, HR, and e-commerce brands. When she’s not working on a project, you'll find her exploring wildlife, reading about Roman history, and devouring Sushi.

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