Teamwork makes the dream work. You’ve probably heard that phrase before. And, even though it’s honestly cliched and a bit corny, it’s 100% true. After all, teamwork promotes workplace synergy, unity, communication, trust, and innovation. It also fosters a positive culture where everyone can speak-up and learn from each other.
Additionally, teamwork increases efficiency and productivity. That’s because teamwork boosts morale and balances out workloads. It also provides more opportunities for cross-training, brainstorming sessions, and co-worker support.
But, how can you improve teamwork within your organization? Well, you obviously want to cover the basics like establishing a clear vision, reporting infrastructure, and hiring the right people. You should also equip them with the right tools, offering perks like healthy snacks, and strengthening relationships outside of work.
You can also bring your team together by partaking in the following 20 team-building activities.
1. Creative Introductions
If you’re working with a team for the first time, then this is an easy-to-setup game that breaks the ice. On top of creatively allowing everyone to introduce themselves to the group, it’s also a great way to enhance problem-solving and creative thinking skills.
So, here’s how it works. Give everyone a sheet of paper and ask them to write down what celebrity, historical figure, fictional character, or animal they would be. If you prefer, you could also use inanimate objects like office equipment or kitchen utensils. After everyone has written their answer, count to three and ask them to reveal what they’ve written down.
2. Team Building Kits
Team building kits are another great option to use as an ice breaker. But, they can also be used for culture building, mergers, retreats, and orientation. Best of all? They only require between 60-60 minutes and do not require any preplanning thanks to subscription sites like Team Building Kits.
Everything you need to play is in the box. You just need to set aside the time to do the activity in the box. After everyone has solved a puzzle or a mystery, discuss what participants learned and how it can be applied to future projects.
3. Two Truths and One Lie
Here is another quick and easy activity you can do if you want your team to get to know each other better. And, because it only takes 15 to 30 minutes, it will consume too much time.
To get started, gather the group together and have each of them share two truths and one lie about themselves — they don’t have to be personal or embarrassing. Each person goes one at a time and the group guesses which statements are true and which are a lie.
4. What’s the Best/Worst…?
A perfect activity for smaller to medium-sized that can be used for introductions. It can also be used to gain insights on people’s preferences and work styles — which could come in handy down the road.
What I like most about this game is this it’s incredibly simple and versatile. For example, you could ask what’s the worst movie you saw, the best book you read, the worst job you had, or the best vacation you took. The possibilities are truly endless.
5. Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct is a simple activity that shouldn’t take more than half an hour to go through. It’s an excellent choice to kick-off an event or workshop since it can be used to build trust and respect.
To play, write down on a whiteboard “Meaningful” and “Pleasant.” Ask the members of the group to share how this event could realistically be meaningful and pleasant. When everyone understands and agrees on how to follow through with their suggestions you can then create a code of conduct for this specific group to respect for the duration of the event.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Hopefully, you’re all familiar with scavenger hunts. If not, this is an activity where a group of people have a list of objects to find and must work together to locate them all without purchasing them.
Not only are scavenger hunts fun, but they encourage people to work together as a unit. They can also help new employees explore your workplace or city. And, they’re also perfect for giving employees a much-needed break during the day — which can ultimately make them more productive.
7. Game of Possibilities
Assign everyone in the group an object. Each person must then demonstrate how to use their specific object without speaking — kind of like charades. The rest of the group guesses what it is in the time allotted. When the time is up, or someone has guessed what the object is, move on to the next player.
What’s great about this activity is that you can move it along or slow it down as much as you like. For example, you could give the group 30 seconds to guess the object if crunched for time. Furthermore, it’s a fun game to encourage participants to be creative and innovative.
8. Shark Tank
You don’t have to build a set like the popular TV series. But, you can take the idea of having people pitch a business idea to a group of investors.
To play, divide your employees into groups of 2-6 people. Next, have them develop an imaginary product. Make sure that come up with a name, slogan, business and marketing plans, and financial data. After that, have them present their idea to 3-4 “Sharks.” The team with the most investments wins.
What I like most about this is that it encourages teamwork and strengthens their public speaking skills. Most importantly, it forces your team to think like entrepreneurs and business owners. And, who knows? Their ideas may be so amazing that you implement them into your existing business.
9. Build the Tallest Tower
Take whatever items you have in the office, such as tape, paper towels, or marshmallows, and have teams construct the tallest freestanding structure in five to ten minutes. It’s a great way to improve decision-making, communication skills, team bonding, and time management.
10. Human Knot
Here’s another classic activity that can easily use for ice breaking or team building. Simply have your team gather in a circle and ask them to put their right hands in the air. Here’s what it gets tricky, they also have to grab onto someone else’s hand across from them in the circle.
Next, instruct them to take their left hands and link with someone else across the circle. Finally, see if the group is able to untangle themselves without letting go of anyone’s hand.
11. The Egg Drop
Although this may require a couple of hours to play, and it can get messy, this is a popular team-building exercise for improving problem-solving, communication, and bringing people together toward a common goal.
Start by splitting everyone into two large groups and assigning them the task of constructing an egg package. The catch? It must be to protect the eggs from an eight-foot drop.
Ask everyone to present their package and describe why they believe it will protect the eggs. Afterward, let everyone drop their eggs to see if they were correct or not.
12. Barter Puzzle
After breaking everyone into different groups, have them put together jigsaw puzzles that they were assigned. Here’s the twist, however. Some of the pieces to the puzzles have been mixed around into other puzzles. In order for groups to put together the puzzles, they need to find creative and unique ways to get those pieces back like trading pieces or exchanging team member.
13. Office Trivia
You could play an existing trivia game, like Trivial Pursuit, or create your own — such as a version Jeopardy for your specific workplace. You could even design a version for remote teams where they share pictures of their workspaces and even guesses who the office belongs to.
Regardless of the trivia, you chose to play, these activities are perfect as ice breakers and letting team members discover more information about their colleagues.
14. Team-based Video Games
Search online to find video games that encourage people to work together as one to complete a mission. Your team can then play during breaks or even online when they’re home. As a result, it strengthens communication, cooperation, and group strategy. Moreover, it’s a great way to blow off some steam. And, it shows your team the importance of working together towards a common goal
15. Human Bingo
Hand out bingo cards to each team member that has information about their co-workers, such as has a chocolate lab or has two sons. After that, everyone should mingle and strike up conversations with one another to find out who matches these descriptions. When they find the right person, the write the person’s name in the correct box. And, because this is bingo, the first person who has full line wins.
16. Mad Lib Mission Statement
Get a copy of your organization’s mission statement. Next, visit a site like Word Blanks and have teams come up with own interruptions of your mission statement. Except some to be hysterical, while others may actually be a more honest or updated version.
17. Team Emblem
After providing teams with the items and tools needed to create an emblem, flag or shield, think markers, cardboard, and tape, have them design their own emblem that represents who they are and their values. Have each time then present their emblems and explain the meaning behind their emblem.
Sounds simple and even a bit childish. But, it encourages creative thinking and cultivates team identity.
18. Escape Rooms
Either visit a local escape room in your area or build your own in the office. Either way, the idea is to have teams work together to figure out how to get out of the locked room using the clues provided within a specific timeframe.
Poll your employees and agree on a deserving cause. Then, schedule a time for everyone to volunteer for this cause. Ideally, this should be during the workweek so that your team isn’t forced to do something work-related during their time-off — even though it is giving back to the community.
20. Classic Night Out
Finally, don’t rule the classic night out. It may not sound exciting as some of the other activities on this list. But, they’re still one of the best ways for team members to get to know each other better, bring them closer together, and have a little fun.
Ideas could be happy hours, bowling nights, go-kart racing, tasking a class together, or an award banquet. It really depends on your budget and what you believe your team would enjoy.
If they’re not into camping, then they’re going to be miserable if they must attend weekend camping trip. But, if they’re fans of your local sports teams, then getting tickets would be a better option.
John Hall is the co-founder of Calendar a scheduling and time management app. He’s also a keynote speaker that you can book at http://www.johnhallspeaking.com.