Team-building activities often have a bad reputation, but it's not because they’re ineffective – it’s usually because games or events are badly chosen, or they’re delivered in a way that’s time-consuming, cheesy and doesn’t spark employees' imaginations.
If you start off with this sort of negative impression, especially when your hard-working staff feel like they could be using their time more effectively on other tasks, it’s difficult to pull off successful team-building activities at work.
So how do you do it?
Use one (or several) of these team-building games to get your staff on board straightaway.
#1: Truth and Lies
Time: 15 mins
Give each team member four identical slips of paper and tell them to write down three truths and one lie. Go around the group, one at a time, and have them read their truths and lie in a random order. When they are finished, the rest of the team decides which are the truths and which is the lie.
Purpose: This game helps people get to know each other and gives introverts as much chance as extroverts to shine.
#2: What Makes You Tick
Time: depends on how many employees are playing
This is all about learning about each other’s personalities and seeing what kinds will clash. Make all members of your group call out what makes them work at their best through the day, and what they struggle with. This can even be done via an audio or web conference so that remote employees can be involved as well.
Purpose: By establishing how each person thrives and how they react in different scenarios, staff will learn how to approach each other in the right way so they can succeed in both their work and personal interactions with each other.
#3: Possibilities Game
Participants: One or multiple small groups
Time: 5-6 minutes
This is one of the best five-minute team-building games. A person in each group will receive an object they aren’t permitted to show to the others. They will then demonstrate to the rest of their team why the item is useful – without showing it to anyone and without using speech. Each person in the group has a turn with different objects.
Purpose: This game encourages creativity, innovation and, more often than not, ice-breaking laughter which helps with team bonding.
#4: Organise a Lunch
Participants: A team or the whole office
Time: 30 mins+
Make the most of lunchtime and cater to your staff with a spread put on by the management in a comfortable space –a highly effective way to increase efficiency.
Purpose: This will allow people the chance to get to know each other naturally while enjoying some delicious food.
#5: Sponsor Sports Teams
Whether cricket, netball or football, being part of a sports team is great for team building. The company could also pay for employee registration fees for running and walking events – on a non-compulsory basis, of course.
Purpose: This promotes group dynamics and team building by allowing employees to mingle outside work. It also enhances the company’s reputation and exposes it to the community.
#6. Meeting Time
Time: 1 - 2 minutes
Before a meeting, ask everybody to walk around the room and inform the others about what they plan to contribute. Offer a prize for the person who shares this with the largest number of people. This is recorded on a list that others will sign as confirmation that the person spoke to them.
Purpose: This increases productivity by ensuring attendees put thought into how they're going to contribute rather than what they hope to achieve out of the meeting.
#7: Show And Tell
Time: 1 - 2 minutes per person
Ask each employee to bring in an item that represents a hobby or interesting story about themselves, whether it’s learning to code or that time they acted on stage. Set aside a time and allow them to give a short presentation, then have a quick Q&A afterwards.
Purpose: Allows everyone the chance to speak in front of the team, as some personality types can often take over group discussions. This encourages confidence when giving presentations too.
#8: Group Timeline
Time: 10 minutes
On a whiteboard, draw up a blank timeline starting when the company was founded. Each year should be marked on the timeline. Next, jot down key dates for the company, such as when it created a new product. Pass out four slips of paper to each team member and request that they write down four vital moments from their own lives and then attach these to the timeline.
Purpose: This game helps display your team’s various generations and experiences. It segues seamlessly into talking about cultural and generational differences and the effects these have on how members work and talk to one another.
#9: Host Activities for Employees’ Families
Time: 1 hour+
Plan team-building events that bring employees and their family members together outside of work. These could include hosting a BBQ at the park or beach, or inviting everyone to an after-work dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Purpose: This helps staff to create friendships outside of the office, which improves team dynamics in the workplace.
Experiment with these nine effective team-building ideas to to see what works best for your own staff.