10 Easy and Effective Team Building Activities

ironmanWant your business to have more cohesive, coordinated, and communicative working groups? Why not join the thousands of businesses around the world in setting aside time for team building activities!

Research has proven that well-designed team building activities not only boost participants’ goal-setting, communication, role-clarification, decision-making, and problem-solving skills but also increase overall job satisfaction.

Interested in trying some out with your employees? Check out our Top 10 list!

Top 10 Team Building Activities

The best team building activities are collaborative (rather than competitive) and have a clear focus. For instance, the goal of the activity may be to break the ice, strengthen interpersonal communication, or encourage creativity. The following activities are tried and tested, fun and functional.

  • Back-to-back drawing

Focus: Communication, ice-breaking

For this activity, give everyone a picture, some paper, and a pencil. Sit them back to back, so that they can’t see their partner’s picture or paper. They then take turns describing their picture while their partner draws it, asking as many questions as they like. This fun task emphasises the importance of clarity and detail in communication.

  • Egg Drop

Focus: Creativity; communication; problem-solving; decision-making

The goal of this activity is for teams to design a product that will protect an egg from an 8-foot drop. Give each group a pile of scrap (e.g. newspapers, balloons, plastic bags, plastic bottles, etc.) and 30 minutes to design and construct their product. For additional creative fun, make each group create a product name, slogan, and commercial, which they must deliver before launching their egg!

  • Desert Island Survival

Focus: Creativity; communication; problem-solving; decision-making

I’m sure you’ve heard of this game, but have you ever actually played it out? You are all traveling on an ocean liner, but it’s started to sink – you’ll soon be stranded on a desert island! Each team has 30 minutes to grab 12 items from the ship before it’s too late. What will you take and how will it help your group survive? After 30 minutes, have a representative from each team give a short presentation explaining their choices.

  • Office Trivia

Focus: Communication; ice-breaking; detail awareness

Create a list of 20-30 questions about your office and see if your employees, working as one team or in groups, can answer them from memory. For instance, you can ask about the colour of the floor tiles, the make of the photocopier, the number of chairs in the office, etc.

  • Salt and Pepper

Focus: Ice-breaking; communication

Generate a list of well-known pairs (salt and pepper, Barack and Michelle Obama, etc.). Write each individual item on a sticker and stick it to an employee’s back. Everyone must then walk around asking questions until they work out what they are and who they should pair with. Once they have found their partner, they must sit down and chat until they have found three things in common with that person. Finally, they should stand in front of the group and share what they have learned about each other.

  • Dragon’s Den

Focus: Creativity; problem-solving; decision-making; communication

Based on the famous British TV show (known as Shark Tank in the US). For this activity, small groups work together to design a product that solves a common problem. They must then come up with a product name, slogan, jingle, and pitch to be delivered to a team of “dragons” (investors), who will ask follow-up questions about price, feasibility, etc. This game works best if wacky inventions like these are encouraged.

  • Video Scavenger Hunt

Focus: Problem-solving; decision-making; communication; ice-breaking

A variation on the classic scavenger hunt, this one calls for video evidence! Give teams a list of tasks worth different points (e.g. 50 points – high-five a barista; 100 points – the whole team sings the national anthem, one word each). They must accomplish as many tasks as they can and return with video evidence within 3 hours. They can submit a maximum of ten minutes of video footage, which is then broadcast for the whole group to see.

  • Human Knot

Focus: Communication; problem-solving

Ideal for groups of 6-10 people. Everyone stands in a circle, and raises their right hand. They then hold right hands with someone who is not standing next to them. Next, they do the same with their left hands and another person. The goal of this fun activity is to untie this knot and return the group to a circle without anyone releasing hands. Here’s an example video:

  • Cup Stacking

Focus: Communication; problem-solving

All this activity requires is a pile of plastic cups, some string, and some teamwork! Using only string – tied around the cups – teams of three must work together to manoeuvre their cups into position. Whichever team creates the tallest stable structure within the time limit wins! Want to see it in action? Check out this video:

  • Design Your Own Team Building Activity

Focus: Creativity; problem-solving; decision-making; target awareness

Time to hand over the reins! First, describe the potential goals of a team building activity, the available resources, and the ideal group size and time limit. Then give small groups a set period of time to design their own activity. When everyone’s ready, teams take turns trying out the different activities.

Looking for more games and activities for your team building day? Check out this awesome list from ventureteambuilding.co.uk. Whatever team building activities you choose, remember to pick ones that are both fun and functional. Enjoy!

About 

Dara Sheahan is an experienced writer and language teacher from Dublin, who has taught in colleges and universities in Ireland and South Korea. Now a freelance educator and blogger, he has a passion for all things related to education, travel, and entrepreneurship.

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