Team activities are an easy, fun way to boost employee morale and encourage collaboration across teams or individuals. Plus, it allows employees to get to know each other in a laid-back environment—regardless of whether they’re an extrovert or introvert—because (keep in mind) not everyone approaches or enjoys team activities the same way.
Team Building for All Employees
At first glance, team activities can seem spendy and time-consuming, but they don’t have to be. They don’t have to take up an entire day’s worth of work, nor do they have to cost much. And if you want your employees to work better together, you need to give them a low-consequence option to start—which is where team activities come into play. So to help you make the most of whatever budget you’ve got, we compiled a list of easy, affordable team activities.
- Volunteer project—This type of activity allows you and your employees to give back to the very community that you work in day after day. Volunteer projects can range from a community park cleanup, taking a shift at the local soup kitchen, helping out with Habitat for Humanity, or playing fetch with shelter dogs from the Humane Society.
- Potluck— Food brings people together. Host an after-hours or lunch potluck at the office. Encourage people to bring in a dish that costs no more than $10 to make, that way no one is spending more than they make.
- Mini golf— Mini golf is generally fun for everyone and relatively affordable too. And while it doesn’t necessarily foster collaboration, it does promote team bonding and boosts overall morale.
- Paper Bag Lunch and Learn—An alternative to the lunch potluck, try hosting a paper bag lunch and learn. Tell employees to bring their lunch and host an interactive learning session about one of your employees and what it takes to do their job.
- Game Day or Group Trivia—From One Night a Werewolf to Charades and group trivia, the game day possibilities are endless. It probably goes without saying but we’d recommend team-based games instead of individual players.
- Shark Tank—A Shark Tank exercise is a great way to promote collaboration and teamwork. Be sure to pair employees up or lump them together into teams for maximum efficiency and impact. If you haven’t heard of Shark Tank the show, check out this link for more details.
- Storytelling – Have your team gather somewhere, and establish two or three keywords around which stories can be told from personal experiences. For instance, before your next quarterly planning meeting, use keywords like ‘customer experience’ or ‘bad day at work’ to kickstart the storytelling, and have everyone relate an experience themed on those.
- Wall of Memories – Ask everyone on the team to sketch out an experience they’ve shared with other members of the team, and post it on a dedicated wall throughout the duration of an event. This will build relationships between coworkers and foster a spirit of collaboration.
- Perspective Mapping – Announce a topic to your group, and write it down on a whiteboard which all can see. Then distribute sticky notes to everyone and ask them to record their particular opinions or perspectives about that topic. This is a great way of coming up with new ideas and new approaches to old topics.
- Napkin Problems – Divide up your group into teams between two and four players, and provide them with a napkin and a pen. Then announce a problem to them which must be solved by diagramming a solution on the napkin. This promotes out-of-the-box thinking and just may solve a legitimate problem.
- Magazine Feature – Form several teams from your group, and task them with developing an imaginary magazine feature, related to some aspect of your business, or someone of significance in the company. Each group must create text, images, quotes, and everything necessary for an article appearing in their magazine.
- Worst Job Ever – Go around the group, and ask everyone to describe the worst job they’ve ever had, and what made it so bad. This invariably produces some funny moments as well as some uncomfortable ones, but it does get everyone in a sharing and open mood.
- Team Football Game – Arrange for your whole team to attend a local football or baseball game, and bring the gear necessary to have a pre-game cookout. This will get team members in a celebratory mood and will promote relationship-building away from the workplace.
- Theater Night – This is something that may not appeal to everyone in your group, but there should be enough people who are interested that you can make an enjoyable evening of it. Arrange for group members to see a play, a musical, or some other special event being staged locally, so everyone can socialize outside the workplace.
- Birth Map – Print off a map of the world, and post it on a wall where everyone can access it. Then have team members place a pin in the area they were born on that map. This leads to a useful exchange of information, and there are always a few surprises that result from the placement of the pins.
- Name Guessing – This is an activity most suitable for a group of people who do not yet know each other. Ask each group member to announce an adjective which describes themselves, and which starts with the same letter as their real middle name (e.g. Anxious Adam, Pretty Penelope, Gorgeous George, etc). Then everyone tries to guess their middle name.
- Treasure Chest – Everyone in the group must write down on something they truly desire in life and place the paper in a hat or container. Then, the slips of paper are drawn out one by one, and the entire group must guess who submitted that specific entry.
- Pool Party – If there’s someone in your group who owns a fairly large pool, and doesn’t mind hosting an event like this, arrange a Pool Party for team members. Everyone can bring a dish to share, and on a warm day, there’s no better ice-breaker than jumping into the pool and having some fun.
- Group Secrets – All group members jot down a fun fact about themselves which no one is aware of, and these are all placed in a box or container. Then the papers are drawn out one at a time, and group members must guess who is the owner of that secret. This is often a very fun-filled activity and one which promotes team-building among members.
- Movie Ball – Have everyone in your group sit in a circle, and pass around a lightweight ball. Whoever receives the ball next must supply the name of a movie which has not yet been used, and has only five seconds to do so. This promotes thinking quickly, and it also lets you know what kind of movies your colleagues are watching.
- Twenty Questions – Have one member of your group think of an object such as an animal, and then have the other group members ask 20 questions, which must be yes-no questions, in order to eventually identify the object in question. For instance, if the object were an animal, a question might be, “Does this object fly?”
- Magic Wand – There is no actual magic wand involved of course, but this can still be a thought-provoking and interesting activity. Ask everyone in your group what they would change in the world if they had a magic wand, and why they would make the changes that they have identified.
- No Smiling – All members of your group must sit in a circle, and stare at each other without saying anything. Anyone who smiles is eliminated from the game, and the person who is last to smile will be declared the winner of the game. The fact that everyone knows they aren’t allowed to smile, is exactly what will make them start smiling at each other.
- Two Truths and a Lie – Each member of your group must tell two true facts about themselves and one falsehood. Team members must listen and decide which one of the facts is the lie, and which are actual facts. This helps people to familiarize with each other, and often includes lots of fun along the way.
- Human Bingo – Prior to playing this game, all team members must submit at least one fact about themselves that is not generally known. Then Bingo cards are made up with these facts printed in the squares. Everyone gets a card and must find out through conversation, which person is associated with which fact. The winner is the first person to complete a full Bingo line of squares.
- Community Service Day – This activity succeeds on a number of different levels and is easy to arrange. Organize a day where your whole group becomes involved in some aspect of community service (e.g. working in a soup kitchen, cleaning up a roadside, etc.). This will promote team bonding and will accomplish something meaningful for everyone as well.
Team Activities for a Better Bottom Line
Plainly stated, team activities foster a better working environment for your employees. It promotes better collaboration and helps employees better understand how to work together. And when employees feel comfortable working together, they can overcome all sorts of obstacles as a team and raise your bottom line.