12 Team-Building Games Your Employees Will Enjoy
A team-building game can help employees create strong teams where everyone works well together. Coworkers can get to know one another in a more personal way by playing team games outside of the expectations of daily work. Games can encourage interaction between people who do not often work together, or they can focus on establishing trust within groups of people who collaborate regularly. In this article, we offer 12 team-building game ideas that can help build closer bonds among coworkers.
What are team-building games?
Team-building games, also known as team-bonding games, are organized workplace activities designed to encourage communication and problem-solving skills that will help team members collaborate at work. Shorter games can serve as the opening activity at a conference or meeting, or team building can be the focus of an office-sponsored retreat.
12 fun team-building games
Here are 12 games that can help people collaborate and get to know one another better:
Office game show
Two truths and a lie
House of cards
What’s my name?
The egg drop
Never have I ever
The common book
1. Office game show
Base your game show off of one of the many on television today, and write clues, puzzles or trivia questions relevant to your company’s field. A word puzzle, for example, might reveal the mission statement that should be familiar to anyone who works for your company. A trivia quiz show might include questions about the products you manufacture or your company’s history. The funnier the questions and answers, the more enjoyable it should be for everyone.
2. Two truths and a lie
In this game, everyone writes down three facts about themselves, but only two are true. Everyone else has to guess which one is the lie. This game helps people get to know one another by revealing potentially outlandish and interesting facts about their lives. The answers might even invite follow-up questions that help people find out their team members’ hobbies and interests.
3. Scavenger hunt
Organize teams of people who do not normally work together and come up with funny or silly tasks around the office or your town. Each task can have a different point value to add up to decide the winner, or you can give the prize to the first team to complete the whole list. Scavenger hunts involve everyone in some way and allow people to bond through competition.
4. House of cards
Divide your employees into teams and give each group a deck of playing cards and a pair of scissors. The team that can create the tallest structure that stands the longest using just the provided materials wins. This game encourages cooperation and collaboration. Managers can observe who shows leadership skills and innovative thinking for future projects.
5. What’s my name?
This game is a great way to start a company party or as a way to help people relax before a meeting or conference. Someone writes the names of famous people on sticky notes. Each person takes a note without looking at the name and sticks it on their forehead. Then everyone moves about the room asking “yes” or “no” questions to try to figure out who they are. This encourages casual conversation among coworkers.
This is a great team-building game to take outdoors. It could be part of a retreat or take place in the parking lot during a regular workday. Someone sets up a series of soft obstacles on the pavement, such as traffic cones, inflatables or foam objects. People gather in teams of two, and one puts on a fabric cover over their eyes. The partner without the eye cover helps guide their partner around the obstacles. The person whose eyes are covered isn't allowed to communicate verbally and relies on the words and instructions they receive, but they will have to start over if they hit an obstacle. This activity encourages trust and teamwork.
7. PowerPoint karaoke
To help you assess how your team handles presentation skills and working together in unexpected circumstances, assemble people into groups of three or more and give them a set of unrelated PowerPoint slides. Set a time limit for discussion and then have the groups give a presentation based on the slides. You will be able to see who takes the leadership initiative and who handles presenting well. It can also help you determine how to assemble teams for upcoming projects.
8. Self portraits
Gather paper of various sizes and colors, along with art supplies like colored pencils, pens, markers and crayons. Instruct the employees to create a self-portrait however they would like. Then hang the portraits up on a wall and let the others guess who is who. Let the artists explain why they drew themselves the way they did. Learning about the way others see themselves can help bond teammates together in a new way.
9. The egg drop
Organize your members into groups of three or more, and give them a raw egg and access to a selection of office supplies like cardboard, paper, scissors, tape, clips, and pens and pencils. Within a specified time frame, teams assemble a container that can cradle the egg. Each team drops the container from a certain height to see if their egg can survive the fall. The assembly of the containers demonstrates teamwork and shows who has innovative problem-solving skills.
10. Mad Libs
This workplace activity can get team members to relax and laugh before a meeting or conference. Write a funny story or find one online, then remove nouns, adjectives and verbs. Put blank lines in their place and indicate which part of speech will fill each gap. Then have your team members fill in the blanks to create an absurd story. If the story is related to the type of work you do, it can be a great segue into a training session or a presentation.
11. Never have I ever
Provide large cups and ice along with an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages, and have each person fill up their cup. This game works best for groups of 12 or fewer. People sit in a circle and each person describes things they have not done, starting with the phrase: “Never have I ever … ” Others who have done the thing the person said will take a drink. It can be a fun way for people to share interesting facts about themselves and for everyone to learn new things about their coworkers.
12. The common book
Place a large blank book in a common area where employees may pass by over the course of their day. Leave markers, pens or other art supplies next to the book, and encourage your employees to fill the book with professional or personal work successes, accomplishments or things they enjoy about their work. To help inspire your team members on what to write, you could set a jar there that holds prompts written on slips of paper. Leave it there until it is filled up, and share some of what was written at a work party to build up morale and encourage people to fill up the next book.
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