Team building activities can make all the difference when it comes to job satisfaction, employee engagement and organizational success. But even with the best intentions, it’s not sufficient to simply bring a group of people together. Effective team building activities can help your group feel more connected and able to collaborate more effectively.
But how do you choose the right activity, and where do you get started when trying to encourage team bonding or alignement? We're here to help with this collection of simple and effective team building activities!
Building a highly effective team takes effort, consideration, and the deployment of a thoughtful group process. Remember that teams are composed of relationships between people and all relationships need care and attention. The team-building activities below are a great place to start!
That said, some employees may bristle or cringe at the mention of team building activities, and with good reason. Done badly, team building at work can be unimaginative, unproductive, or a waste of time for all involved.
We’ve put together a collection of proven team-building activities, games, and exercises that cover everything from communication and collaboration to alignment and vision.
Whether you’re working in a small team or as part of a large organization, taking the time to develop your team and enable everyone in your group to do their best work is time well spent. Let’s take a look!
Team building is an activity or process designed to help build connections between members of a team, create lasting bonds, and enable better teamwork and working practices.
Team building activities might include running team games and activities, holding group discussions, hosting away days, or simply doing things together as a team. They key is that the exercise is designed to bring your team together in a fun and engaging way.
The main purpose of any team-building activity is on improving some aspects of how a team works together while bringing everyone together in a shared experience.
This might include working on communication, collaboration, alignment, team values, motivation, and anything else that can enable a group to work together more effectively. It might also include resolving conflicts, sharing skills, or simply bringing your group together in a shared experience.
Broadly speaking, any team building effort should be designed to help bring team members closer or find ways to first define and then move towards your shared goals as a group.
As Forbes notes, team building is “most important investment you can make for your people.” On this point, it’s worth noting that team building doesn’t just happen during the activity and so being purposeful your choice of exercise is important.
The best team building activities hold space for building connections in a way that spills over into day-to-day work and creates lasting bonds. It’s not enough to throw your team into an escape room or scavenger hunt without first thinking about why or how this will benefit your team!
After you’ve chosen some engaging team building activities, it’s time to design a complete process that will engage your team while achieving your desired outcomes.
SessionLab makes it easy to build a complete team building agenda in minutes. Start by dragging and dropping blocks, add activity timings and adjust your session flow to create an effective session.
Team building activities are games and exercises that help a group collaborate on a shared goal, discuss important issues constructively, share in a fun experience or find better ways of working together.
These activities can take forms – from quick and funny games you use in your regular meeting, or the may be part of a larger process or team development workshop.
Being purposeful and knowing the objective of your session means you can choose an activity accordingly. Sometimes, your team will come together because they have problems to solve, or you might just want to have fun and celebrate your wins. Pick the right activity for the right time to ensure your team is onboard and ready to engage!
Here are the main categories of team building activity that you might want to use with your team. We’ve made it easy to get started with the right activity for your team by including the length of each game, how many participants can play and how hard it is to run alongside clear instructions.
Starting the team building process can be difficult, especially if you’re working with a new team who don’t yet know each other well. The activities in this section are focused on helping teams get to know each other better and start to develop bonds and trust as a team.
Even if your team has been around a while, learning more about one another and building deeper bonds is useful for both team cohesion and group happiness. These are also great activities to use when trying to improve employee engagement and company culture – any organization is only as strong as the bonds between its people!
Try these get-to-know-you games to encourage conversation and break the ice – especially if you’re working with a remote workers who might not be in the office together.
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|3 Question Mingle||30 – 60||2 – 40||Low|
|9 Dimensions Team Building Activity||20 – 60||3 +||Low|
|Awareness Circle||10 – 30||5 +||Low|
|Best and Worst||10 – 15||5 – 10||Low|
|The Four Quadrants Activity||30 – 120||3 +||Low|
|Group Order||5 – 10||5 +||Low|
|Happiness exercise||10 – 20||4 – 30||Low|
|Just One Lie||15 – 30||5 – 20||Low|
|Life map||30 – 60||3 +||Low|
|Name Juggling||1 – 15||5 +||Low|
|Open Fist||5 – 10||3 +||Low|
|Personal Presentations||60 – 240||2 -40||Medium|
|Cross the Circle||5 – 10||10 – 25||Low|
Conversation is often the best starting point when it comes to team building, but without structure, it can be difficult for groups to get moving. In 3 Question Mingle, each team member writes three questions on sticky notes and then has a one minute meeting with another person. They each ask another one question and then trade those post-its. Invite the group to move around the room asking questions in pairs and swapping questions afterwards.
Not only does this team building activity help an entire team get to know each other, but it also invites the group to ask the questions they want to ask. By combining structure with self direction, you can get your team building workshop off to the right start! Bonus points for adding those sticky notes to a memory wall for later reflection!
Building better team relationships and improving group dynamics often means sharing something about ourselves and finding space to discuss and be honest. In this team building exercise, give each team member a set of red, green, yellow and blue dots alongside the 9 dimensions you’ll be looking at. Each participant puts a dot on each dimension based on whether they believe they’re crushing it or need to do more work.
By sharing some of their 9 dimensions, your team gets to surface things they’re proud of, as well as those that need work. You’ll explore what your group is aligned on in the debriefing section and then move forward together as a team.
Getting to know people is easier for some members of a group than it is for others. While extroverts can start chatting to new team members with ease, introverts may find it more difficult to bond with their team and create meaningful team bonds.
In this activity, you’ll encourage a group to get to know each other without speaking and show that everyone in a team has a connection. Another great takeaway from this activity is to take note of the diversity (or lack thereof) in the room and consider this as a point for future team development.
Teambuilding activities are often at their most effective when you ignite the passions of everyone in a group and bring up talking points that enable people to share something of themselves with the team.
Best and Worst asks each participant to ask one question about the best and worst thing they want to learn from the group. For example, “What’s the best recipe you know?” or “What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?” After putting all the questions in a hat and choosing a random pair, invite the group to share their answers and related stories.
Sometimes pictures are better than words when it comes to helping a team get to know one another. Creative games like this one can also be especially effective at helping introverts or distanced teams share with the group.
Start by handing out sheets of paper and inviting each participant to draw a 2×2 grid and pose four questions to the group. Each team member draws their answer in one of the grid squares and once the time limit is up, invite the group to share. If you’re looking for a fun game that encourages creative thinking while being visual and memorable, look no further!
Supporting the get-to-know process at the start of a session or with a new team can be as simple as asking participants to group themselves together based on what they know about each other and inviting them to find out what they don’t.
This activity requires nothing more than getting your group together in a room and asking them to line themselves up in an order based on a criterion such as distance from home to the workplace, birth date in the calendar year or number of different countries visited. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get people talking and sharing when in pursuit of a common goal.
Good teams know how to appreciate one another and share joyful, happy experiences. When a new team is getting to know each other, using an exercise that encourages the sharing of positive stories and experiences not only allows people to connect but also builds a positive atmosphere in the room.
You might also use this team building activity at work or with a more established team. If your team has been going through a challenging period, it can be transformational to share things that make everyone happy and defuse stress or tension as a team.
Not all team building games need to reinvent the wheel. Particularly with new teams or groups that aren’t used to team building, keeping it simple with a tried and tested method can be your best bet.
Just One Lie is adapted from the well-known icebreaker two truths and a lie, though encourages participants to mingle and share lots of facts about themselves with one another – great for breaking the ice and getting to know one another too!
Both groups and individuals go through many twists, turns and changes throughout their life. At its best, team building not only helps create better teams but allows time for reflection and deeper sharing between participants.
With Life Map, encourage your group to draw or create a collage of their life story they can then share with the team. This kind of deeper getting to know your exercise can really help bring a team together and allow for meaningful self-reflection too!
Working with new teams means having new names to learn. Team building starts with getting to know everyone, but how can we make this more fun and dynamic than simple introductions?
In this get to know you game, start by having everyone stand in a circle and introduce themselves by name. Introduce a ball and have people state someone’s name before throwing the ball to that person. That person thanks the person who passed the ball by name before then passing the ball on to someone else. Once people get comfortable, spice things up by introducing more balls and trying to keep them in the air!
Finding you have things in common with other team members is one of the cornerstones of effective teamwork and communication. While conversation games or other team building activities might ask for an in-depth approach, Open Fist helps teams bond with a simple, effective activity.
Sharing little known facts about ourselves can help teams be more cohesive and by limiting the number of shared facts to the amount of fingers on a hand, this quick team building activity can fit into an agenda with ease.
Team building is all about building trust and openness between teammates. Sharing personal experiences and enlarging the social aspects of the group with presentations not only allows everyone to get to know each other but also encourages team development skills too.
For this team building method, ask each participant to prepare a presentation including three things that have shaped who they are as a person. Encourage creative thinking by asking teams to use simple drawings and words to visualize their presentation too.
Finding common ground and shared experiences across a diverse group is what team building is all about. In this playful team building activity, participants are encouraged to cross the circle in response to questions posed by a person in the middle.
For example, “Cross through the circle if you have worked here more than 5 years.” or “Cross through the circle if you can play an instrument.” After each stage, a new person gets to pose a question and your team gets to know one another and their commonalities in a simple, effective way.
In an increasingly stressful environment of deadlines and meetings, it’s worth remembering the value of joy, play and simply have fun as a team.
Injecting fun and laughter into your team building event is effective on many levels. We often recommend starting a session with one of these activities, as they can help set a more relaxed and personable tone in an instant.
We’ve also found that some of the more memorable moments of our sessions have come out of these kinds of activities. It’s lovely to have something funny to reference in future meetings too!
Bringing team members out of their shells and loosening them up with a funny game can also help prevent existing hierarchies or team structures from affecting the team building session.
You can also use these funny team building activities to kick off your session, or when the energy levels drop and you need to get your team re-engaged for the team workshop ahead. Let’s take a look.
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|Bang||5 – 30||10 – 40||Low|
|Build-a-Shake||5 – 10||4 +||Low|
|Count Up||5 – 30||10 – 40||Low|
|Follow the Leader||5 – 20||2 +||Low|
|Portrait Gallery||30 – 60||2 – 40||Low|
|Snowball||20 – 40||8 – 50||Low|
|Celebrity Party||30 – 60||5 – 20||Low|
|Non-Verbal Improv||10 – 20||5+||Low|
|Rock, Paper, Scissors (Tournament)||5 – 10||4+||Low|
|The Viking||5 – 30||10 – 40||Low|
|Wink Murder||5 – 15||6 +||Low|
Having fun and energizing your team is a great way to kick off your team building event. Bang is a simple and effective game that encourages quick reactions and fun – perfect for both new and established teams to play together!
Start by electing a sheriff and having the rest of the group stand in a circle around them. The sheriff spins around and points at one person in the circle and says “bang!” That person then crouches as quickly as possible. The two people on either side of the person crouching must quickly point at each other and shout the other’s name. Whoever does not react quickly enough is eliminated. Try using this one at the beginning of a team building event to really loosen up the group!
Creating a secret handshake was something many of us did as kids. This team building activity taps into that same sense of creativity and also encourages team members to get to know each other while sharing and building on their handshake in pairs. By moving between pairs and teaching others the steps of your handshake, this also helps create group closeness and cohesion. We love team building activities or office games that encourage people to bring a little of themselves to the table and Build-a-Shake is a great example of that!
Simple tasks that require team focus, cohesion, and awareness are great for any group working on team building. In Count Up, a team has to come together and count up to twenty with their eyes closed and without any other communication. People cannot say more than one number at a time, and if two people speak at the same time, the group must start over.
Though it seems simple, this team building exercise can really demonstrate the power of effective teamwork and is a great opener for a team building workshop.
When performing online team building, simple activities are often the best strategy in ensuring participation and removing frustration. Follow the Leader is a great team building energiser suitable for online and offline teams.
In virtual settings, put Zoom into gallery view and invite people to perform an action in the frame of their screen that other participants have to follow. Being a little silly is encouraged and this team building exercise often results in laughter and energy as a result!
Creative team building activities are great for breaking the ice or energising a team via play. In Portrait Gallery, you and your team will collaboratively create portraits of everyone in the group and have a fun, electric set of portraits to display afterward.
Start by splitting your group into two teams. Team B will draw portraits of Team A, though every 10-15 seconds, they’ll pass their current drawing to the next person to continue. By the end of this team building game, you’ll have a set of eclectic portraits for everyone in the group and have broken the ice significantly too!
Fun team building games are a great way to start any group development process, and they’re even better if they energize the team too! Snowball is a great activity for getting people out of their seats and moving around while also breaking the ice.
Start by asking a question relevant to your group and ask each participant to write an answer on a piece of paper. Once that’s done, invite everyone to crumple their paper and come to the centre of the room to have a snowball fight! After a few minutes, ask everyone to keep a snowball and find the person who wrote the answer. Not only does this team building exercise invite energy into the room, but it encourages people to get to know each other too.
You’ve likely played the game where you stick the name of a random celebrity on your head while then asking questions to help you guess who it is. (Or at least seen a film where someone else does it!) It’s simple, but it absolutely works when you want to break the ice or just generate some laughter and conversation.
This classic team building game is a great way to warm up large groups, encouraging mingling and have fun too. Ask participants to be creative, keep it light and not to give hints and you have all the makings of an effective team building exercise.
Whether you’re working with remote teams or co-located groups, having fun when you get together should never be undervalued. We love simple games that are also ways to begin conversations about how we’d like to work together more effectively.
This improv game is easy to touch and is a great way to build team connections while raising some smiles. Start by preparing some actions on post-it notes, such as drinking a glass of water or eating pasta. Next, invite participants to mime the action without speaking. Include more difficult and amusing scenarios to challenge the group and create some funny opportunities for team connection!
Encouraging team members to play and have fun is an often overlooked aspect of building better teams. Play is an inherently human activity, and by doing this as a team, we can start to see ourselves as more than just a group of people who work together.
In this version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, large groups pair off until only two players remain for a final showdown. We love that losing players become fans of the winners and cheer them on. This is a quick and easy team game that can build excitement and get the group ready for deeper team building activities to come!
Fun team building activities often ask the group to let go of their inhibitions and find space to be playful and silly. This game from Hyper Island encourages the group to perform some loud, exuberant moves to emulate our favourite historical raiders – the Vikings.
You might use this activity during a longer workshop or meeting to energize a group and create a memorable moment with your team. For bonus points, have a group photographer capture those moments and put them on a history wall for reflection later!
We love team building exercises that include space for friendly competition and laughter. Wink murder is a variation on a classic party game that asks every team member to try and catch the wink assassin, whose job it is to eliminate the other players by winking at them without being caught.
We especially like the fact this game makes team members to use creative thinking while playing. Run multiple rounds with extra rules such as adding an accomplice to spice things up and have even more fun!
Running team building games in the office can be a great way to finish up the week, onboard new team members or just boost employee engagement.
While all of the activities in this post are suitable for the office, the team building games in this section are especially effective in a corporate environment where some team members may need some coaxing or you want to gently introduce important topics.
Try these activities if you want to add an opportunity for your team to bond during a corporate training session, all-hands or other office event.
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|Appreciations Exercise||10 – 20||6 – 12||Low|
|Cover Story||30 – 90||2 – 40||Medium|
|Coat of Arms||40 – 60||6 – 12||Low|
|My Favourite Manager||20 – 45||6 – 50||Medium|
|Who are you?||10 +||2 +||Low|
|History Map||60 – 120||2 – 40||Low|
|Birds of a feather||10 – 15||15 – 50||Low|
|Human Knot||15 – 30||7+||Low|
Office trivia can be fun, but you know what’s better? Taking a moment to appreciate each team member and uplift everyone in the group.
This method is designed to help everyone in a group receive appreciative feedback on their strengths from others. Start by sitting the group in a circle and having each participant write their name on a piece of paper and pass it to the person on their left. Each person writes down what they have most valued about the person whose name is on the sheet before passing it along.
At the end, share these appreciations and celebrate everyone in the group! You might even include this activity during a happy hour to truly celebrate one another!
Bringing an activity that encourages creative thinking and imagination can be an effective method for getting team mates involved at your next corporate event. In this game, small groups create a magazine cover with your team on it and add headlines and taglines that show the best possible version of your team.
By defining the ideal future state for the organization your group can see what actions they might take today while also creating a fun and useful artefact for the team. Use as many sheets of paper as you need!
Even established teams have more to learn about one another. A corporate team building activity is a great time to encourage groups to go deeper and share who they are as a team.
In Coat of Arms, each team member begins by drawing a personal coat of arms and then sharing it with a partner. The partner interprets the coat of arms and then presents it to the rest of the group. This kind of getting to know you activity taps into group creativity and is a fun way of helping your team bond.
Leaders and managers can be a deciding factor in creating a great company culture and employee happiness. In this game, get started by bringing your team together to discuss their favourite and least favourite managers.
This corporate team building activity is great at creating a safe space to discuss management styles and create empathy between teams. You’ll often find team members can shift their perspective, learn something about how they relate to their leaders and have fun too!
Explore team roles and responsibilities in a lighthearted manner is a great way to spend time during an office event.
In this simple but powerful team building exercise, share the image of the crew of a pirate ship. Next, invite participants to reflect on who they most identify with on the ship. Who is the captain? Who is looking out for land or maintaining the deck? By reflecting together around a fun premise, you can encourage meaningful discussions with your grop.
Building effective teams is often a process of ideation, reflection and iteration over time. Sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight of just how much a team or organization has grown. With this corporate team building activity, invite your group to reflect and build on their collective experience with a memory wall that collects moments over a fixed period of time.
It’s a great way of reinforcing major takeaways, celebrating the highlights and creating a sense of closure and progress. By also encouraging the creation of a shared visual resource, History Map also enables creativity and a sense of fun that can provide the perfect end to a project or working session.
It’s not uncommon for teams to naturally form sub-groups with common characteristics. This exercise effectively shows how consciously creating more diverse groups can make teams more resilient and productive.
Get started by giving each team member an index card with a single letter on it. Then ask people to form a group of five people as quickly as possible without any further instructions. Next, ask the groups to form the longest word possible from their cards. It will quickly become apparent that the best way to win the game is with a team that has diverse cards.
This simple game is a great introduction to a wider conversation about diversity or inclusion. As always, debrief learnings and invite deeper conversation in the group to make this activity a success.
Corporate meetings can sometimes be heavy going, but they don’t need to be. In this fun teambuilding game, encourage your group to loosen up while working together to solve a puzzle that involves their bodies!
Start by getting your team members into groups of 7-12 people. Ask each group to stand in a circle, close their eyes and then link hands with two other people in the circle. Next, ask each group to work to untangle the human knot they have created without breaking the chain. This is a really fun game that requires clear communication, collaboration and a little flexibility too!
Team work doesn’t always come naturally, and effective team collaboration needs attention, reflection and work in order to happen. It’s not enough to just assume your team members will be able to work together efficiently: all teams can benefit from a strategic and well-thought approach to how they communicate and collaborate.
Whether you’re having a team away day or using methods expressly designed to improve collaboration, you’ll find inspiration in the activities here!
These team building exercises are helpful whether you’re trying to solve miscommunication or collaboration issues, or just want to strengthen your company culture or communication skills.
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|Conflict Responses||60 – 120||2 – 40||Medium|
|Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR)||35 – 45||4 +||Low|
|Myers-Briggs Team Reflection||60 – 120||2 – 40||Medium|
|Strength Building Exercise||15 +||4 +||Low|
|Strength Envelopes||40 – 60||5 – 40||Low|
|Team of Two||20 +||2 +||Medium|
|What I Need From You (WINFY)||55 – 70||10 +||Low|
It’s important to remember that every team is made up of individuals and sometimes, conflicts or disagreements can arise. While its regular working practice to disagree, our responses to conflict and how we deal with them when they arise are in our control and can be improved.
In this exercise, reflect on previous conflicts as a team and collectively create a set of guidelines to use in the future. Resolving issues effectively is a massive part of team collaboration, and by including all team members in this process you can get more meaningful results too.
Team empathy is a vital ingredient of good team work though whatever the size of your organization, it can sometimes be difficult to walk in the shoes of others and see things from other perspectives.
Heard, Seen, Respected is a team building activity designed to help participants practice deeper empathy for colleagues and build the kinds of bonds and working practices that can improve team collaboration. By inviting participants to notice patterns in the stories shared and find common takeaways, it’s a great way to get everyone involved on the same page and improve communication skills too.
One potential obstacle to effective team collaboration is when members of the group don’t fully understand one another. Team building activities for work that encourage participants to not only try and understand their colleagues but themselves can be especially helpful when helping a team be more cohesive.
In this activity, invite your group to first take a version of the Myers-Briggs personality test. Start by asking each team member to reflect on their own personality type before then moving towards small group discussion.
When using this activity, it’s important to correctly frame the usage of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) framework: This can be a useful framework to understand different communication preferences between people, but team members should not be labeled or put into boxes based on their self-reported preferences.
Exercises for team building come in many varieties. In this activity, the emphasis is on the team championing one another and increasing confidence, self esteem and mutual trust.
Start by asking team members to share an event where they accomplished something that made them feel good about themselves. The rest of the team chimes in to suggest two to three strengths they must have exhibited in order to achieve the accomplishment. Team collaboration often means helping others on the team achieve their best, and this activity helps the group uplift one another meaningfully and effectively.
All members of a team have unique strengths, capabilities and working preferences. When working as a group, you can improve engagement and group workflow by having each participant utilize their strengths and do work that interests them the most.
With this team building activity, ask participants to write their name on an envelope and invite other members of their team to spend a few minutes writing down strength statements for that person. Place these in the envelope and pass them along so at the end of the session, each person has a set full of strengths they can use as the basis for reflection.
Whether you work in a small startup or a multinational organisation, the reality is that a large part of your working day will be spent working in pairs and interacting on a one-to-one basis. Whether in-person, over email or on video chat, finding ways to work together more effectively is vital for effective teams.
Try this team building exercise to help empower your groups toward more effective communication skills and have more meaningful interpersonal relationships at work. As a member of a remote team, I’ve found this method to be personally useful time and time again.
Some of the best team building activities focus on helping your group improve their teamwork skills and communicate and collaborate better as a team. A sometimes overlooked part of working as a team is clearly articulating what you need from other people and knowing how to ask for it.
What I Need From You is a team building method designed to help team members better articulate their core needs and be transparent with the group. This leads to a more cohesive team that works together with integrity and understanding.
Teams often come together to solve collective problems as a group. Whether these are large projects or simply finding better ways to work together on a day-to-day basis, solving problems is something all teams should do – in or out of a conference room!
Enabling better team practices with a game that asks for creative problem solving is a wonderful way to bring everyone together. We love using these kinds of team building exercises to bring large groups together to solve a fun, simple problem.
By engaging team members in this way, they not only have fun, but they learn how to work together more effectively and reflect on how they can take that learning back to their day work.
In this section, we’ll look at team building exercises you can use to encourage creative thinking, problem solving and teamwork in an experiential way!
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|Blind Square – Rope Game||40 – 45||4 – 20||Low|
|Crocodile River||60 – 120||10 – 40||Medium|
|Egg Drop||10 – 20||5 +||Low|
|Helium Stick||5 +||5 +||Low|
|LEGO Challenge||60 – 120||10 – 40||Medium|
|Marshmallow Challenge||45 – 60||6 – 100||Medium|
|Spider Web||15 – 30||6 – 20||Low|
|Stress Balls||10 – 15||5 +||Low|
|Scavenger hunt||30 – 45||5 – 50||Medium|
Nothing energizes a team workshop like a seemingly simple problem that also gets everyone moving and engaged. In this team problem solving game, start by tying a length of rope into a circle and invite the participants to plan how to make the rope into a perfect square while blindfolded.
After planning time, team members is blindfolded and has ten minutes to form the square. By debriefing afterwards, your group will find communication, planning and attention to detail are all important aspects of team problem solving – all while having fun too!
We love team building activities that challenge the group to work together in inventive ways and also help energize a workshop setting. Crocodile River is a team problem solving exercise that challenges team members to support one another physically as they look to move across a wide outdoor space.
By changing the setting and inviting problem solving and strategic thinking to solve a challenge, your group not only stretches their problem solving muscles but also works on team communication, leadership and cooperation. As with any more abstract team building game, be sure to debrief afterward for best results!
Classic team building games like Egg Drop offer tried and tested ways to encourage teams to solve problems together while improving the way they communicate. This game often generates a bunch of laughter and creative thinking too – how can we save this poor egg!
In this team problem solving activity, invite small groups to build a freestanding structure that can support the dropping of an egg from seven feet. Include some caveats and challenges to make it more difficult and encourage an even greater degree of team collaboration. Just make sure you bring a mop for afterwards!
Bringing team members together with problem solving activities that also encourages play can perform multiple functions. Not only do you encourage teamwork and the building of various team skills but you can have fun and promote laughter too.
Helium Stick is an example of a simple team building game that does double duty by encouraging fun, physical activity while introducing and exploring some core team building concepts. Ask the group to lower a long pole to the ground while keeping all of their fingers in contact with the pole at all times – more difficult than it first appears!
Creating something is often the purpose of bringing your team members together. Tap into the engaging process of co-creation and collaboration with this team building game using LEGO.
Building on the concept of LEGO Serious Play, this exercise is a great way of encouraging play, out-of-the-box thinking and creative approaches to existing problems. Additionally, each team member has a secret assignment which increases the challenge and encourages finding inventive ways to cooperate effectively and achieve both personal and team goals.
Real-life challenges are often time-sensitive and need to be considered thoughtfully and pragmatically. Team building activities for work are especially effective when they help create this same sense of urgency while encouraging team work.
In just eighteen minutes, groups must build the tallest free-standing structure out of materials including: spaghetti, tape, string, and one marshmallow, placing this last item on top. In this version of the team building game, there’s a debriefing section which encourages reflection on the roles of everyone in the team.
Getting outside and doing fun, physical activity can be a great way to bond teams and mix up a normal working routine. In this team problem solving game, participants are asked to work to make holes in a grid of string and rope that can safely and effectively accommodate everyone in the group getting through at once. Team members are not allowed to touch the string or rope and with diverse groups, the difficulty this presents makes for an interesting problem solving challenge for teams to solve.
At one point or another, most teams will be asked to perform effectively under pressure, whether that’s generated by internal or external stressors. By using team building games that help participants work together and communicate effectively even under difficult circumstances you can prepare your team members for almost anything!
Stress Balls is a fun game to help start exploring team resilience and problem solving under pressure, and it’s easy to run with large groups too! Start by simply passing a single ball around the room before adding more complex rules to help team members learn a valuable lesson about communication and teamwork!
Activities that encourage groups to use teamwork and communication to achieve their goals are great ways to build team spirit. A classic scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to bring large groups together and have fun doing something a bit different!
Be sure to use office trivia, inside jokes or aspects of your company culture to inform this fun team building activity. You’ll find it much more effective if it’s tailored to your group. Bonus points if you can mix in activities that speak to the various departments or skillsets in the group during your scavenger hunt!
In the virtual-friendly version below, you’ll also find rules to help you run this activity with a remote team.
Mutual trust is a vital ingredient for any group of people working together, though it doesn’t always emerge organically. Taking the opportunity to build team bonds and create trust creates benefits for team connection, happiness and your company culture too!
While many of the fun team building activities above will bring your team together in some way, these methods are designed to expressly create better team bonds and build trust.
When working on improving team trust, we recommend being open about the goals of the exercise and encouraging the group to be honest. Being intentional during these activities can really help bring the group together!
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|10 – 20||6 – 12||Low|
|Trust Battery||20 – 40||4+||Low|
|Telling Our Stories||60 – 120||2 – 40||Medium|
|Better Connections||20 – 30||2 – 100||Medium|
|Feedback: Current Strongest Impression||60 – 120||2 – 40||High|
|Trust||40+||2 – 40||High|
|Translated Rant||10 – 30||4+||Low|
Great teamwork isn’t just about bringing a group of people together into the same space. Without honesty, openness, and trust, your team can’t collaborate effectively and can lead to frustration or frazzled relationships.
Trust Battery is a team building activity designed to help all members of your group reflect on their trust levels and rebuild those batteries with lower levels. By encouraging all members of a team to meaningfully reflect, you can enable better team collaboration and help your team feel closer and more cohesive too.
Everyone has a story to tell, though without a framework or guiding principles, surfacing those stories in a way that makes everyone feel safe and head can be tricky – especially for new teams. Team building activities that combine self reflection, sharing and structure are great for helping people to get to know each other deeply and build better bonds.
In Telling Our Stories, invite participants to reflect on childhood, young adulthood and today while answering questions on colored post-it notes. By sharing from the full gamut of our experiences, your team can get to know one another meaningfully and create trust too.
Great teamwork and collaboration is all about building stronger relationships and connections and this often means taking the time to see each other as more than just our job title. Once we get a fuller picture of who we are outside the office, everyone can feel more seen and understood. This is one of the cornerstones of team bonding and trust!
Encourage people who know each other the least to pair up and create space for meaningful reflection too – your team culture will thank you for it! It’s also a great way to improve communication skills and break down silos.
Giving and receiving feedback is a great team building activity that sees benefits long after your session. When we find ways to be more open with one another and say what we really think, the results can be transformative for any group.
This activity is a great one to bring to any event where you want to improve team bonding, as it creates a safe and simple way to start practicing more honest feedback. The next time you think about how to improve the way your team works together, think about whether you have a good feedback culture. The trust that good, open feedback can create is a fundamental part of any high performing team!
When a team doesn’t trust one another, the atmosphere and culture of a team suffers. Creating space to align and create a shared understanding of what trust means to your team is a great way to build team bonds and improve the way you all work together.
Start this activity by bringing together a set of trust cards containing characteristics, behaviours, attitudes, habits, values, and beliefs associated with trust in the workplace. Next, ask participants to create their own trust cards and move towards creating three core trust cards for your team.
By co-creating the output together, this team building activity is great for ensuring buy-in and creating long-lasting trust.
Team building workshops are a great place to give your team room to have fun, vent and be honest with one another. Creating space for honesty while also building communication skills is the goal of this fun team building activity!
Split your group into pairs and have one person rant about a pet peeve for 60 seconds. Next, have the other person translate this rant while focusing on what the person really cares about. This kind of deep listening activity is fundamental to creating team trust, and sharing some of our annoyances in the group is great for building bonds too!
Even the best teams can have differences of opinion and approach. While different viewpoints and perspectives are useful in many situations, it’s also vital that everyone is aligned on team purpose and vision.
Aligning on how the team will work together is an important part of helping the team be happy, productive and pulling in the same direction.
In this section, we’ll look at team work activities to help improve team alignment and get everyone working towards the same purpose. Let’s get started!
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|Alignment & Autonomy||60 – 120||2 – 40||High|
|Engineering Your Team OS||60 – 120||2 – 40||Medium|
|Generative Relationships STAR||20 – 25||5 +||Medium|
|Team Canvas Session||90 – 150||2 – 8||Medium|
|Team Self-Assessment||60 – 120||2 – 10||Medium|
|Letter from the Future||60 – 120||6 – 30||Low|
|Team Purpose & Culture||60 – 240||2 – 10||Medium|
Activities that help improve each member of your team work more effectively and feel empowered to operate autonomously can be great for improving employee happiness and productivity. If we feel aligned on the core purpose and goals of our team while also being given the space to work in the way that is right for us, we can boost employee engagement and job satisfaction too!
In Alignment & Autonomy, invite participants to reflect on times when they felt aligned and autonomous versus non-aligned and non-autonomous. By sharing, reflecting, and then ideating on solutions, your whole group can move forward together.
When seeking to improve teamwork, it can be useful to think of your team as a system with complex, interlocking parts which may need a gradual refresh and redesign. This kind of abstraction can help prevent discussions from becoming too personal or difficult and ensure that your team alignment efforts are a success.
In this activity, your team designs an ideal working system by making aspirational statements and then methodically chooses a single statement to work towards ahead of the next meeting. By making positive changes incrementally, your team can achieve alignment and better working practices in a meaningful and sustainable manner.
Better working relationships start with shared reflection and the discovery and discussion of existing working patterns. This team alignment activity invites participants to assess their team along four vertices: Separateness, Tuning, Action and Reason and jointly shape next steps and future actions.
By including the whole team in the alignment process from start to finish, you can get meaningful buy-in and see real results! We love using this on an online whiteboard too. It can be a great way to help remote workers consider their inter-personal relationships!
Team alignment isn’t always straightforward. The more large, complex or multi-discipline your team is, the trickier it can be to help the group mesh and understand their roles and responsibilities to the team and each other.
In Team Canvas Session, you and your team create a shared visual resource for understanding and articulating your goals, values and roles of your team. It can be used for general alignment, for onboarding new team members and even for defining the structure and purpose of a brand new team – simply recreate or download the team canvas and get started today!
All groups need to go through a period of reflection and self-assessment in order to grow. But without structure or a guiding framework, these discussions can become bogged down or unproductive. With this reflective team building activity, you can enable a thoughtful and thorough team self-assessment along six guiding dimensions.
Start with individual reflection before bringing everyone back together to debrief and see what you’re aligned on and what needs more work. By then narrowing these down to the most important elements, you can align and enable better co-working practices quickly and efficiently!
Without a cohesive shared vision, teams can become unproductive or harbor frustration on team direction. By spending time with visioning activities, you can help everyone push in the same direction while still utilizing their unique talents.
In Letter from the Future, invite your team to imagine all the changes that might impact them in the next 5 years and write a letter back from that point. Ask your team to cover what’s been accomplished in those five years, and what kind of challenges and obstacles were overcome to make this happen. Remember to remind teams that good letters have a beginning, middle, and end and that they should read clearly – this will help during the sharing and debriefing section of this method!
Defining your team’s purpose and culture is an integral part of team building. By clearly articulating why your team exists and how you will all work together to fulfill that purpose, you can align and bring focus to all the work you do. This team values and vision activity aims to create a shared visual resource that your team can refer to in the future.
It also uses wisdom from other successful organizations to help enable meaningful conversation and move from individual purpose statements to a single one for the whole team. If you’re looking for a complete process that can guide your team values and vision efforts, this method from Hyper Island is worth a try!
The process of team building and enabling a group to work together more effectively can be involved and exhaustive.
As with any group process or workshop, taking the time to reflect, recap and check out can ensure the lasting impact of what was covered in the session.
You’ll often find that finding time to close team building activities creates space for further employee engagement and reflection. Getting team members involved in choosing the next activity or coming up with a theme for the next round of office trivia!
In this section, we’ll take a look at some great team building activities for closing a session and for recapping the main learning points. Let’s dive in!
|Team building activity||Length in minutes||Participants||Difficulty|
|Check-in / Check-out||5 – 30||2 – 40||Low|
|Bus Trip||20 – 45||10 – 30||Low|
|One Breath Feedback||5 – 15||2 – 20||Low|
Ensuring everyone in a group is present, focused and committed to the work of a session is a vital ingredient in making a team building session a success. With this workshop method from Hyper Island, you can not only start and end your session the right way, but you can help everyone in your group be seen, heard and understood by the rest of the team.
This is especially useful with a remote team, where ensuring clear connection between team members who don’t share a physical office is especially important.
This activity also helps encourage reflection and brings the workshop to an effective close – be sure to give it a try!
The trip back from a team building event is a great place to share feedback and appreciate one another. Don’t have a bus? No worries! Create a few rows of chairs and simulate the experience for this reflective closing activity.
Once you’ve gotten the chairs of the bus set-up, ask participants to speak the person next to them and share: what they like about the other person, what they appreciate and what about the other person makes them happy. Speak for just 45 seconds each and then ask the group to switch seats.
In particularly large teams, it can be tempting to forgo the closing activity or individual feedback steps just because it will take so long and it can be hard to maintain energy and interest. One Breath Feedback solves this problem by giving each participant the space of a single breath to check out and reflect on the session. By ensuring that everyone has room to speak and be heard while also placing a time limit on the reflection, you can cap off a team building workshop effectively and intelligently.
Building better teams often starts with designing an effective group process. Whether this takes the form of a workshop or meeting, you’ll want a balance of activities, ice breakers and reflective methods in order to help your group align and grow together.
In this next section, we’ll take a look at some example processes with a complete template you can use to get started. Let’s take a look.
Helping new teams to bond and find a shared purpose and value system is often best achieved with a well designed group process. Try the team development day template when working with a brand new team or one which has seen large growth and is in need of development.
Here, you’ll find a complete one-day group process full of team building activities that can take a group from getting to know each other all the way through to defining their needs and making commitments.
Good teams are empathetic and in touch with their emotions. Using the emotional culture deck, this workshop can be run in under 3 hours and helps your team define and improve working relationships and the emotional culture of your team.
Taking the time to articulate and define these items ensures that everyone in your group is seen, understood and valued, and that you have a shared language for moving forward.
Cohesive teams that work well together are those with an understanding about what makes a team and how it functions.
Support your team building activities with this half-day workshop template and guide your group through a process of understanding and building on the dynamics of working together.
Designing an effective team building workshop means creating a balanced agenda of activities and group discussions while also keeping everything on time.
With SessionLab, you drag, drop and reorder blocks to build your agenda in minutes.
Your session timing adjusts automatically as you make changes and when you’re done, you can share a beautiful printout with your colleagues and participants.
Enabling better teamwork and building stronger, more cohesive teams isn’t easy. Whether you’re running a team building day, team workshop, or simply adding some team building activities to your meetings, we hope that some of the methods above can help you and your group come together and do better work.
Got a team workshop to plan? Check out our complete guide to workshop planning to make the process a breeze. Want to start creating your agenda quickly? Use a meeting or workshop template to save time designing or get inspiration.
Which of these team building activities is your favourite? Is there anything missing from the list above? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about how we can all improve our team building efforts.