In today’s business world, having a culture of teamwork within an organization is an essential requirement to achieve success. When employees come together and are in sync with each other, working effectively becomes second nature.
This is why developing work relationships through team-building activities is now an essential part of company culture. Team bonding plays a considerable role in getting your workforce on the same page and engaging employees towards your common goal.
What is Team Building?
Team building refers to the process of turning a group of individual employees into a cohesive team. Through fun team-building activities, the entire team can learn to work together more effectively. In addition, these team-building exercises can lead to strong bonds that enable employees to meet customers’ needs and accomplish the company’s goals.
Aside from cultivating a healthy culture of teamwork, putting up a fun activity is needed for your team to maintain morale and motivation. This is important, especially if you notice that your experienced team has lately been lacking in performance.
Benefits of Team Building Activities
Setting up a team-building event is about providing the skills, training, and resources that your people need to work in harmony together. It’s not just about listing down strengths and weaknesses or an excuse to get out of the office. Instead, various activities can be targeted to provide development and gain the benefits of team building.
1. Open lines of communication
Communication is an essential aspect of any company’s success. If you notice that your employees struggle to convey ideas and feelings to each other, then it’s time to set up a team-building session. Providing a venue where employees are comfortable enough to express their true feelings leads to better working relations and better productivity.
2. Increase collaboration
Properly planned team-building activities lead to greater collaboration between employees. Collaboration allows members of your team to know who has specific skills and knowledge. Knowing who to turn to, when needed, develops trust, and having access to that person strengthens your team’s overall output.
3. Increase productivity
As a business owner, you would want your team to be at their most productive. Groups that work well together tend to be more effective than those in a work environment with unease and distrust. Team building activities can help employees get on the same page and are more likely to complete tasks more efficiently. When your team is more productive, more work gets done, which eventually leads to more revenue.
4. Connect with remote teams
As a growing practice in business, more and more people now work remotely. So naturally, it’s essential to build rapport with your remote teams, especially among members who rarely meet face to face. According to a recent Gallup Study, employees working from home tend to experience isolation that can derail productivity by 21 percent. Virtual team building activities allow your team to socialize, albeit virtually, and can improve how your team works together.
5. Cultivate company culture
Team building activities provide employers with the best opportunity to cultivate the company’s culture. This is a chance to instill the company’s goals and visions, values and beliefs, and standards of performance, among others. Employees who have a positive understanding of the company are more likely to participate in company events and become great representatives of the values you represent.
Types of Team Building Activities
Activity-based team-building exercises provide a break for your employees from the usual daily work routine. Your team can step out of their comfort zone and carry out both indoors and outdoors through mental or physical activities. It can be as simple as organizing team lunches or scheduling a team outing to enhance the experience. In addition, these activities can connect them personally and provide an opportunity to discover hidden traits.
Outdoor Team Sports
A great way to develop your team’s bond is by enjoying a day out in the sun. An outdoor team-building activity such as a challenging sports day is an excellent way to build camaraderie. Set up your sports day by dividing your group into different teams and competing in various sports.
It can be football, ultimate frisbee, or even dragon boat racing out in the water. This encourages friendly competition through physical activity and is a great way to develop communication and collaboration.
Indoor Team Building Games
If stepping out of the office may not be feasible at certain times, consider indoor activities that can be great mood boosters. For example, you can set up a Foosball table by the common area and conduct regular tournaments. Different teams can join in the fun while being cheered on by other employees.
You can also set up a scavenger hunt inside the office, incorporating important lessons as critical items. You can use this activity as a fun way of providing insight, highlighting company elements and standard practices through hidden clues. Not only will these exercises be entertaining and mentally stimulating, but it also provides a fun working environment that your employees will surely enjoy.
A great way to develop productive working relationships and increase your employees’ camaraderie is by setting up a team-building company picnic. Company picnics can bring your employees together and is also a perfect opportunity for a team that works remotely to interact with other employees.
It’s also an excellent way for teams to enjoy activities such as cook-offs and picnic games like Bridge Building, which encourages creative thinking and cooperation. Employees can enjoy a day of fun and food in a completely different setting while developing the team’s sociability.
Communication is always the key to any social structure. This applies significantly to the workplace, with individuals working with each other for a common goal. Communication-based team-building activities are perfect for new teams with new members.
The purpose of these activities is to get to know each colleague a little better to initiate a more personal bond. This can help break barriers of communication and awkwardness while improving interpersonal skills as you develop trust among your team.
This activity enacts what your employees would do if they got stranded on an island after a shipwreck. Break up the groups into teams of five to ten people. Provide a list with 20 different items and tell them that they can only keep five. They would need to work together and decide on the items they’ll keep.
Once everyone is done picking their items, it’s time to discuss with the whole group. Each team will explain which items they kept and why. Aside from improving cooperation and teamwork, this activity is a great way to help team members practice their communication skills.
One of the most fun group icebreaker games, Diversity Bingo, is an exciting way of getting information among team members. First, you’ll need a bingo card containing a grid of squares with a question or a statement in each square. These statements or questions apply to most members of your group. Each player gets a bingo card, and the way to cross a square is by finding the person that the statement or question applies.
Next, they’ll need to mingle around, introducing themselves, and find the participant who can sign on the square. Limit the signatures each person can give to one or two per card. When everyone or a majority of the group has reached bingo, you can start sharing what you’ve learned about each other. This icebreaker game helps participants learn about one another in a fun and competitive way.
An effective team-building activity for smaller groups, Blind Drawing helps develop communication, interpretation, and leadership skills. You’ll need pens, paper, and pictures to play the game. Pair people into groups of two and have them sit back-to-back. One person is given a picture, while the other holds on to the paper and pen. The person with the picture has to describe the image to their partner without saying what the picture is.
For example, the image can be “two horses running on the beach.” The one with the picture has to guide the other’s image drawing without exactly saying, “two horses running on the beach.” This exercise helps build leadership as one directs and the other follows. Clear communication is also essential in the activity, focusing on how clearly they can understand and interpret each other.
Aside from various training and development workshops, team-building activities centered on enhancing skills can improve your team’s overall performance. Training and development workshops can focus on leadership skills, managerial skills, and creative thinking skills. These workshops can be combined with fun activities that improve the skills needed for your entire team’s respective jobs.
Back Of The Napkin
The goal of this activity is to promote creative thinking and develop teamwork. Like successful entrepreneurs of legend, participants need to draw a solution to a problem on the back of a napkin. First, you’ll need to come up with some open-ended problems. These could relate to an imaginary product, an industry scenario, or to your business for a more directly relevant application.
Divide players into teams of two to four. With a piece of folded napkin and a pen, teams need to draw their solution as a flow chart, a sketch, or a graph. At the end of the allotted time, evaluate each team’s solutions and pick the best one. This gives participants a chance to exercise out-of-the-box thinking while promoting teamwork to collate a great idea that would work for each scenario. This also shows who among the team members can be early leaders and how your team’s dynamic would work in actual operation.
Frostbite is a situation-based activity that is best done outdoors. It develops leadership skills, aspects of communication, and trust among team members. You would need thick cardboard boxes or two-person tents, staplers, tape, and blindfolds. To start, divide participants into groups of four or five.
The scenario of the activity is that they are lost explorers in the Arctic ocean and need to build a shelter together to survive. The group requires to assign a team leader who suffers from frostbite and can’t physically move to help in the construction of the shelter. The rest of the team has also suffered from snow blindness and must be blindfolded. The challenge is making the shelter blindfolded and only relying on your team leader to direct the team verbally. The first one to build a working shelter wins.
This can only be achieved successfully if the members trust their team leader and follow their instructions. In a workplace, teams must learn to have faith in their leader’s judgment and carry out instructions effectively. The team leader learns how to direct their members with authority through this exercise. To do so, they need to earn their teams’ trust and confidence. This is also a great way to practice giving instructions with precision and clarity since time is always crucial in this game and the workplace.
This activity develops several skills such as strategy, negotiation, communication, and leadership. You’ll need sets of Jigsaw puzzles for this one-hour activity. Split participants into groups of four or fewer. Provide each group with a different jigsaw puzzle with the same difficulty level. The catch of this activity is that some pieces of the puzzle will be randomly mixed with pieces from other groups.
Teams will need to complete their puzzle by trading, negotiating, and bartering with other team members. Teams will need to arrive at a consensus before making any decisions. The first team to complete their puzzle wins the activity. Since there is a need for complete agreement before any action is made, groups can apply diverse strategies and cooperation to achieve their common goals. Bartering puzzle pieces also advances your employees’ negotiation skills as well as workplace communication skills.
When many people are involved, challenges are inevitable, and this can disrupt team dynamics. According to the 2021 Workplace Conflict Statistics, employees in the United States spend up to 2.8 hours every week resolving conflict. Activities that focus on problem-solving can improve interpersonal relationships and develop communication.
Learning how to understand each other and mend differences can impact a team’s performance and make reaching a common goal easier. In addition to that, team leaders get to identify and analyze how to approach the problem and determine the best course of action. These activities provide an enjoyable means of learning how to grow and work together as a team.
The shrinking vessel is a problem-solving activity that develops your teams’ adaptability. Adaptability helps teams solve problems faster, preparing them on how they should react to real-life work scenarios. You’ll need a rope or string for this activity. Using the rope, create a shape that everyone can fit into.
Over the course of fifteen minutes, slowly shrink the space with the rope. Participants need to work together and figure out how to keep everyone inside the slowly shrinking allotted space. This activity encourages cooperation and adaptability by figuring out what needs to be done for everyone to fit together.
The Great Egg Drop
A messy and engaging problem-solving activity that challenges your team with the task of creating a viable and working solution. Divide participants into two large groups, and task them with constructing an egg package that can sustain a drop from eight feet. Aside from a carton of eggs, provide tools and materials such as newspapers, straws, tape, sticks, and cloth.
Give everyone thirty minutes to construct their respective egg carriers. After the packages are built, each team must present a thirty-second advert, highlighting how it works and its uniqueness. Finally, they have to drop their egg into the package at the end of the presentation to see if it works. This gives the groups a chance to work together and communicate while figuring out a way to solve the challenge successfully.
The Human Knot is a great game that encourages collaboration and cooperation as people learn how to work together to untangle the literal human knot they’re in. Starting in a circle, participants connect hands with two people who aren’t directly next to them.
With everyone tangled, they must now free themselves to form a circle without breaking the chain of hands. If the chain of hands gets broken at any point, they need to start over. To face this challenge, participants need to be adaptable and collaborate to solve the problem.
Value-based team building activities provide a meaningful experience to employees by promoting company values through social welfare. This is also a great way to merge CSR goals with team bonding experiences by positively impacting those in need. These environmental, philanthropic, or economic activities can boost employee engagement, morale, and job satisfaction. These exercises are also effective means to communicate the company values.
Social Welfare Activities
Engage team-building activities with social welfare through a charity fun run or a cook-out for a cause. You can even plot civic duty events such as painting murals or a day of caring for the welfare of street animals. These activities espouse civic responsibility while reflecting well on your company’s values and are excellent team bonding opportunities.
Speak Up, Speak Out
Speak Up Speak Out is a great activity that creates a safe place for employees to voice their opinions about the workplace. Providing a platform to discuss critical questions regarding the company and its practices is highly beneficial. Each member of the team should be encouraged to share their opinions regarding specific questions.
For example, you may ask, “What is your drive to succeed?” or “Should you be a team player?”. Discussing company values allows employees to consider their stance on your organization’s values and better understand it. This also lets your employees know that you’re willing to hear their opinions out without fear of backlash. In turn, this develops into valuable respect among co-workers and your team members.
The Big Picture
This activity lets your whole team work on a masterpiece worthy of their collective efforts. Large groups are split into smaller teams and given small canvas pieces, which fit together as part of the “big picture.” Teams need to paint their small sections without viewing the other teams’ work. They’ll realize that they all need to align their designs through solid communication channels to make sure it all lines up.
This activity pushes the concept that they all have a common goal and must use cooperation over competition. Once the canvases are complete, ask the participants to go out for a break. When they return, it’s time to unveil the grand masterpiece. The Big Picture they’ve created can even be shown in the lobby as a reminder of the work they all put together.
6. Virtual team building
With many teams nowadays operating remotely, it’s vital to connect colleagues through virtual activities. Online team-building games help remote teams overcome difficulties and drive towards a sense of belonging. In addition, remote teams tackling online games can build rapport and nurture good working relationships to reduce the feelings of isolation.
Blind Origami highlights the importance of listening and asking for feedback. This can be done remotely through a video conferencing app. Each person must procure a sheet of A4-sized paper for the activity. First, you’ll need to assign virtual pairs for the group and email one person from each team a set of origami instructions. Next, the person with the instructions needs to verbally guide their partner on creating the origami structure with the camera turned off.
The receiver can request clarifications, ask questions, and offer feedback as they try to make it. Once each group has finished, participants turn their cameras back on to show if they got the origami structure right. This exercise allows participants to assess their listening and feedback skills and identify the areas they can improve.
Typically suitable for teams of between three to six players, the Escape Room is a familiar favorite among online office games. You can access sites online for this activity to escape a locked room by finding clues hidden within before time runs out. This activity encourages communication and creative thinking and can be exciting and fun for participants.
A great option among virtual team-building games, Scrabble Scramble is designed to encourage collaboration, trigger creative thinking, and develop communication lines. Suitable for groups of twelve or more, you’ll need to prepare a bag of scrabble tiles, while participants need to have pens and paper. Assign two or three letters chosen randomly to each person, then split the group into teams who can split off into virtual breakout rooms.
Each group needs to create as many words as they can in ten minutes using the letters they collectively have. Provide instances where teams can swap up to two of their letters before starting if they desire to. This requires some strategy and collective thinking to achieve the best outcomes. Teams get two points for three-letter words, three points for four letters, and so on. The longest word earns a bonus of five points.
Team building activities act as building blocks for bringing people together within your business. Teams can increase relatability through fun events in different settings and produce far better than those who find no comfort working with people they don’t bond with. Remember that the purpose of team-building activities is to motivate your people to work together, identify weaknesses, and develop their strengths for the benefit of your organization.