There are few words that are going to elicit as much internal groaning from the workforce as “team building exercise” or “team building activity”.
It’s just a fact of life. When they’re done wrong, it feels forced and people don’t end up any more comfortable with one another than when they started.
But when it goes right, it’s an instant ice-breaker and it can go so, so right. You just need to pick the activities that the team is genuinely going to love.
Here are a few examples.
1. Scavenger Hunt
Different teams are given clues of things to do and objects to find, each new find leading them to a new location and a new clue. The focus on an objective and the creative use of different strategies opens up the floodgate for communication.
Even better, it can be a way to get the team out of the office and exploring the surrounding environment to see some of the local sights.
2. Board Game Night
Trying out different board games gives you and the team the opportunity to explore different conundrums that utilise different thought patterns.
Avoid the Monopoly board if you don’t want team-building to devolve into fisticuffs!
3. Blind Drawing
Whether you run an office full of artists or people who can barely draw a straight line, the results of blind drawing will either be impressive or downright hilarious.
It involves one member of a team being given a picture and describing it to the other team member without flat out telling them what they’re drawing.
Even as simple as it might seem, the results of the miscommunication can often result in entirely unexpected transformations.
4. Silent Disco Party
With headphones connected to several different channels of music, silent discos are a perfect way to work off some steam without having to get crowded on a dance floor.
Everyone can choose their own groove and control the volume as they please, so there will be no throbbing headaches the next morning.
5. Laser Tag
Nothing unleashes the inner kid like visiting a laser tag venue together. Split the office into random teams ahead of time and perhaps even get them to dress to a team theme. Not only is it great fun, it gets the team strategising and trying to outdo one another’s logic.
6. Crafts With a Personal Twist
The occasional crafts day can be a relaxed way to get everyone involved in starting with a concept and ending up with a success.
Map butterflies, folded and cut paper butterflies made out of maps, are a great way to add a personal touch to it. Get maps prepared for the hometowns/countries of everyone in the team.
7. Ropes Course
If you get the chance to take them outdoors, take it.
Ropes courses aren’t just adrenalin pumping fun, but they involve steps in collaboration, trust, and support involving climbing, traversing at high altitudes and much more.
8. Social Deduction Games
Social deduction games like Triple Agent involve the players being given specific identities, receiving mission and clues to figure out who is what.
For instance, you might be an agent tasked with finding out who amongst your colleagues are spies while you’re trying to disguise your identity and objectives as much as possible
9. Room Escape
A growing trend, there are tons of room escape companies creating elaborate puzzles where teams have to figure out the sequence of events that are going to help them logic their way out of a locked room.
10. Cooking Classes
Join cooking classes to help one another grow a skill that ends up with a delicious result. If you attend them regularly enough then consider holding a cook-off at the end of the year.
The holidays are a great time to encourage everyone to bring in sweet baked treats, for instance.
11. Collaborative Arts
Creating a mural for one of the walls or a coat-of-arms for the team gets everyone’s creative juices flowing. Arts are a great therapeutic tool to unwind and de-stress from the pressures of work, too.
It’s a good idea to have someone in an organisational role so your teammates don’t inadvertently step on one another’s toes.
Take the above examples to switch up your team building activities every time you bust one out. The innate fun might even start giving your team ideas so ask them for suggestions, too.