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25 team building activities that won’t make eyes roll
Image by Maya Ramadhina

12 min read

25 team building activities that won’t make eyes roll

Discover the power of team building activities in fostering genuine connections and boosting employee engagement.

In business, collaboration is often the key to success. It's no secret that teamwork can make or break an organization. An astonishing 86% of employees point to a lack of collaboration as a primary factor in workplace failures.

This undeniable reality has long driven companies to seek effective strategies for employee engagement, and among these, team building activities stand as a tried and tested method. But before you picture awkward icebreakers and cringe-worthy trust falls, it's important to recognize that not all activities are created equal.

In today's constantly changing work landscape, with remote work and other new forms of employment becoming the norm, it's crucial to adapt and adopt the best practices for keeping employees engaged and connected, no matter where they are.

So, here's our guide to effective work team building activities guaranteed not to cause eye rolls or disengagement. Let's get started on the journey to foster genuine connections and teamwork.

Benefits of team building activities

Engagement initiatives might sound like just another catchphrase, but their importance can't be underestimated. They're like the glue that holds your company culture together, ensuring that employees remain connected, motivated, and productive. In fact, they're more necessary now than ever - especially with the changing landscape of work and the growing prevalence of remote employees.

Let's delve into the benefits of team building activities that go beyond mere corporate jargon:

  • Improved Communication and Collaboration: Teamwork is the cornerstone of any successful team. With remote work, it can be difficult to maintain effective communication. Around 40% of remote workers report missing those spontaneous, in-person connections with their colleagues. Team building activities bridge this gap by promoting open communication, building trust, and fostering collaboration, helping your team work together seamlessly, no matter where they're located.
  • Increased Trust and Camaraderie Among Team Members: Trust is the foundation of any strong team, and team building activities help cement it. When team members engage in activities that promote trust and camaraderie, it leads to increased employee retention. Employees who trust and enjoy working with their colleagues are more likely to stick around, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs.
  • Enhanced Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills: Teamwork activities encourage participants to think outside the box, collaborate, and tackle challenges together. This not only strengthens the team but also enhances problem-solving and decision-making skills. By understanding the limits of employee engagement and honing these skills, your team can navigate obstacles more effectively and contribute to smoother operations.
  • Boosted Morale and Motivation: Easy employee engagement ideas like team building activities can work wonders in boosting morale. When employees feel valued and enjoy their work environment, they become more motivated to perform at their best. These activities create a positive, enjoyable atmosphere that fosters a sense of belonging and excitement about coming to work each day.

Bring your people together

Incorporating team building events into your employee engagement plan not only adds a layer of fun to the workplace but also delivers tangible benefits that can positively impact your bottom line and employee satisfaction. 

Whether in person or virtually, employee engagement strengthens your team's bonds, improves communication, and boosts productivity, making this a valuable aspect in today's rapidly changing business environment.

25 team building activities

Employee engagement is a key driver of success in any organization. Surprisingly, only 22% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work, which underscores the importance of improving engagement within your team. Engaged employees lead to better, more wide-ranging outcomes, including increased productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.

This is a win-win situation for both the employee and the company, but it must be nurtured properly to succeed.

Icebreaker activities

Even if your team has been working together for a while, there's always room to learn more about one another and strengthen the bonds within your group.

Icebreaker activities are not only fun but also incredibly useful for building deeper connections among your team members. These activities can be particularly effective in enhancing employee engagement and nurturing a positive company culture, as any organization is only as strong as the relationships between its people.

Here are five engaging icebreaker activities to consider:

  • Two Truths and a Lie: Each team member shares two true statements and one false statement about themselves. Others have to guess which statement is the lie. It's a great way to get to know each other's quirks and facts.
  • The Memory Wall: Team members contribute a memorable moment or achievement to a virtual or physical 'memory wall.' This can be a heartwarming way to celebrate individual and team accomplishments.
  • Speed Networking: In a virtual setting, participants engage in rapid one-on-one conversations, providing insights into each other's interests and personalities.
  • Human Bingo: Participants receive bingo cards with descriptions or facts about team members. The goal is to find someone who matches each description and fill the card.
  • Storytelling Circle: Team members take turns sharing personal stories based on a given theme. This not only builds connections but also helps improve communication skills.

Icebreaker activities break down barriers, promote open communication, and create an enjoyable atmosphere, which is essential for improving employee engagement and building a positive company culture.


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Problem-solving activities

Teams often need to come together to solve collective problems as a group. The level of teamwork even serves as a good way to measure employee engagement. In any case, problem-solving activities are not only intellectually stimulating but also promote teamwork and camaraderie.

Here are five problem-solving activities to think about:

  • Escape Room Challenge: Whether in-person or virtual, an escape room challenge tasks teams with solving puzzles to 'escape' within a set time frame. This encourages critical thinking and teamwork.
  • Marshmallow Tower: Teams are given limited supplies (spaghetti, tape, and marshmallows) and tasked with building the tallest freestanding tower in a set time.
  • The Five Whys: Teams investigate problems by asking 'why' five times to identify the root cause. It's a simple yet effective method of tackling complex issues.
  • Blind Drawing: In pairs, one team member describes a simple image while the other tries to recreate it blindly. This activity enhances communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Egg Drop Challenge: Teams design and build a contraption to protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a height. It's a fun way to encourage creative problem-solving.

Problem-solving activities can significantly improve team engagement by encouraging members to work together toward common goals.

Trust-building activities

Trust is a critical driver of engagement. Mutual trust is a vital ingredient for any group of people working together, but it doesn't always develop naturally. 

Here are five trust-building activities you can do:

  • Trust Falls: In pairs, one person stands with their back to the other, who then falls backward, trusting their partner to catch them. It's a classic trust-building exercise.
  • The Human Knot: Team members stand in a circle and reach across to hold hands with two different people. The group must then work together to untangle themselves without letting go.
  • Shared Storytelling: In pairs, team members take turns sharing personal stories or experiences. This activity fosters empathy and deeper understanding among teammates.
  • Trust Walk: In pairs, one person is blindfolded, and the other leads them through an obstacle course. It's an excellent way to build trust and communication.
  • Compliment Circle: Team members sit in a circle, and each person offers a genuine compliment to the person on their right. This can create a positive atmosphere and strengthen bonds.

Trust-building activities help to create a supportive and collaborative atmosphere within your team. By enhancing trust, you improve engagement, and this, in turn, boosts morale and team performance.

Communication activities

Effective communication is essential in the workplace, and it's particularly challenging during remote work. It has been found that 41% of workers have difficulty adapting to their company's culture when working remotely. This highlights the need for activities that promote communication within teams.

Here are five communication activities to consider:

  • One-Word Story: In a circle, each team member adds one word to a story, creating an entertaining and often hilarious narrative.
  • Emoji Feedback: Team members use emojis to express their feelings or thoughts on a specific topic or project, making it a fun way to gather feedback.
  • Virtual Watercooler Chats: Encourage informal virtual chats where team members can discuss non-work-related topics, fostering connections and open communication.
  • Team-building Kahoot: Create a quiz on your team's history, fun facts, or industry-related knowledge, encouraging participation and competition.
  • Round-Robin Meetings: In meetings, ensure everyone has a chance to speak and contribute by going around the virtual table to share insights or updates.

These activities not only help improve communication skills but also promote a sense of belonging and connection within the team.

Outdoor team building activities

Outdoor team building activities offer a change of scenery and a chance to enjoy some fresh air while bonding with your team.

Here are five outdoor team building activities to consider:

  • Obstacle Course Challenge: Visit a local adventure park or set up an obstacle course in a park. Teams can compete to complete the course quickly.
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items or natural features for teams to find while exploring a park or nature reserve.
  • Kayak or Canoe Race: Organize a friendly competition on the water. It encourages teamwork and coordination.
  • Sports Day: Arrange a variety of team sports, like soccer, volleyball, or tug-of-war, for a fun and active day out.
  • Hiking Adventure: Choose a scenic trail for a hike that not only promotes physical activity but also allows for meaningful conversations and connections.

These fun team building activities provide an opportunity to strengthen bonds and build trust in a natural setting, which can significantly enhance team engagement and overall well-being.

As you consider which group activities are the best fit for your team, keep in mind that a combination of these can be even more effective in achieving your engagement and culture-building goals.

Considerations for choosing team building activities

Selecting the right team building games for work is no small task. It involves careful consideration of various factors to ensure that the chosen activities are effective, engaging, and in line with your team's dynamics and goals.

Listed below are some key considerations when choosing team building activities:

  • Assessing Team Dynamics and Needs: Before deciding on team building activities, it's crucial to assess your team's needs and dynamics. A good starting point is to gather insights through employee engagement surveys. These surveys can provide valuable data on employee satisfaction, morale, and collaboration levels. Whether your team is struggling with communication, trust, or motivation, the assessment results can guide you in selecting activities that address these specific challenges.
  • Considering Budget and Resources: The budget and resources allocated for team building activities play a significant role in determining what's feasible. While extravagant activities can be fun, they might not always be the most practical option. It's important to consider the financial constraints and the availability of resources, both in terms of time and manpower.
  • Ensuring Inclusivity and Accessibility: It's essential to consider the diverse backgrounds and abilities of your team members to ensure that everyone can participate comfortably. Some team members may have physical or cognitive limitations, while others may have cultural or linguistic differences. To ensure inclusivity, choose activities that are adaptable to various skill levels and abilities. Additionally, make sure that language or cultural barriers do not create exclusion, and provide clear instructions and translations if needed.

To streamline the process of gathering insights and assessing team dynamics, employee engagement platforms are valuable tools. While traditional employee engagement surveys are still effective, they often take considerable time and resources to deploy and analyze.

Choosing the right team building activities involves a thoughtful evaluation of your team's dynamics and needs, budget constraints, and commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. By leveraging employee engagement platforms, you can make informed decisions that promote a more engaged and cohesive team while efficiently managing your resources.

Tips for successful team building activities

Successful team building activities are more than just fun and games. They are a strategic tool for promoting employee engagement and fostering a positive work environment.

Before diving headfirst into your team building plan, it's crucial to establish a foundation of employee engagement best practices that can help your team reap the full benefits of these activities.

Here are a few essential tips for ensuring the success of upcoming team building events:

  1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives: Begin with a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve through your team building activities. Clarity in purpose ensures that everyone understands the goal and can actively work toward achieving it.
  2. Create a Safe and Supportive Environment: Team building activities often require individuals to step outside their comfort zones and be vulnerable. It's essential to create a safe and supportive environment where team members feel comfortable expressing themselves, taking risks, and making mistakes. Encourage open communication and trust within the group, and establish ground rules for respectful interactions.
  3. Provide Opportunities for Reflection and Debriefing: After each team building activity, allow time for reflection and debriefing. Reflecting on the activity's impact and discussing key takeaways is an important part of the learning process. It ensures that the insights gained are carried forward and applied in the workplace.
  4. Tailor Activities to the Team's Interests and Preferences: Every team is unique, and what works for one group may not work for another. Take into account your team's interests, preferences, and comfort levels when selecting team building activities. Activities that resonate with the team's values and personalities are more likely to be engaging and effective. Personalization also demonstrates that you value your team's input and well-being.
  5. Don’t Take Up Personal Time: Respect the work-life balance of your team members. Schedule activities during work hours whenever possible. Lengthy activities that might interfere with personal commitments should be reserved for dedicated workdays or occasional team events outside regular work hours, with due consideration for team members' preferences and availability.

Incorporating these best practices into your team building activities not only makes the experience more effective but also contributes to a positive workplace culture. Team activities should be more than just a one-off event. These should be an ongoing effort to strengthen your team and boost employee engagement.

Final Thoughts

It's clear that team building activities hold a special place in achieving employee success. Engaged employees contribute to a thriving organization. When team members feel valued, connected, and motivated, they are more likely to excel in their roles, contribute innovative ideas, and work cohesively toward common goals.

The positive effects of effective team building activities ripple through an organization, leading to improved productivity, reduced turnover, and a happier, more fulfilling work environment.

By embracing the potential of employee engagement platforms, organizations can ensure that their team building efforts are not just one-off events but a consistent, ongoing journey. The result? A more engaged, motivated, and successful workforce; a work culture that thrives on the power of genuine connections and collaboration.


Unlock your team's full potential

Get the guide used to create motivated, high-performing teams!

Get the playbook

Gabe Scorgie

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