Team building can be a great way to boost office morale, get to know your coworkers and encourage team collaboration. There are many styles of team-building activities to choose from. Puzzles can be a fun and effective way to challenge and engage with your team. In this article, we explain what team building puzzles are, the benefits of doing puzzles with your team and give a list of 10 example puzzles you can use to connect with team members.
What are team building puzzles?
A team building puzzle is an activity where the team must work together to solve a problem. Sometimes referred to as lateral-thinking exercises, team building puzzles can offer a fun and refreshing way for teams to get to know one another, eliminate barriers between management and employees and encourage communication through team problem solving. There are many types of puzzles you can do with your team from in-office brain teasers and trivia questions to larger excursions like scavenger hunts and escape rooms. Whatever activity you choose, puzzles offer an opportunity for team members to work together and have fun.
Benefits of team building puzzles
Some of the many benefits of doing team-building puzzles include:
- Encourage team morale: Games and team-building exercises offer an opportunity for teams to relax and show their personalities at work. Providing team-building puzzles is a great way to energize team members and boost morale.
- Improve communication skills: Team-building puzzles often require coworkers to work together to solve a complex problem or complete a task. This can directly influence their ability to communicate effectively on other work-related assignments.
- Help team members get to know one another: Puzzles can be a fun way for team members to interact and get to know more about one another. Providing an activity can remove formal barriers that may prevent team members from bonding with their coworkers.
- Improve group participation: If you have a challenging time getting certain team members to speak up during meetings, puzzles can be a great way to help them feel more comfortable as part of the team. By having fun and getting to know their coworkers more personally through solving puzzles, shy team members can take part in a more accepting, light-hearted environment.
10 puzzles you can play with your team
If you're looking for fun, team-building puzzles you can play with your team, here are some remote and in-person options you can choose from:
Two truths and a lie
Two truths and a lie is a great way for team members to get to know one another and give them a fun problem to solve while getting to know their coworkers. To start, have a team member share three facts about themselves. Two of the facts must be true, and the third must be a lie. Other team members have to work together to identify the deceit. If they get the answer wrong, the speaker wins. If they get the answer right, the audience wins.
Teams can play this puzzle remotely or in person and can reveal new and interesting facts about team members that their colleagues may not have known. Consider being creative with your answers and try to reveal facts coworkers may not know about you to make the puzzle more engaging, informative and challenging.
Don't crack the egg
Don't crack the egg requires teams to use resources around the office to design a protective cage for a raw egg. The aim of the puzzle is to create a cage that prevents your egg from breaking when dropped off the roof or from a great height. To complete this puzzle, you need an egg, access to a drop point and potentially useful supplies like paper, tape and random objects from around the office.
The puzzle is a fun challenge that requires teams to work together to create a solution to a difficult problem. At the end, test the teams' constructions by dropping the egg cage from a tall height onto a hard surface. The team whose egg survives, or is the least cracked, is the winner.
Related: How To Build a Team Environment
Mission statement fill in the blank
This mad-lib-esque puzzle is a creative and fun way to familiarize your team with your company's mission statement. Start with a core value or a company mission statement and remove common parts of speech like verbs, nouns and adjectives. Replace the omitted words with blanks and ask team members for suggestions to complete the sentence. Aim to provide humorous and unconventional words that combine to create funny statements.
While there are local and virtual escape rooms you can use, it is possible to create your own as well. An escape room is a game where trapped players need to solve a team-building logic puzzle or series of logic puzzles to escape. These are a fun and effective way to encourage teamwork and communication. Often the entire team has to work together to find the solutions or keys that allow them out of the room.
Scavenger hunts can be a fun way to challenge team members and get them working together. Provide a list of objects for team members to collect or provide them with clues they can use to discover the hiding place of an ultimate clue or prize. Consider providing clues that encourage team members to work together and race against opposing teams to win.
Fill in the map
For this team-building puzzle, provide your team with a world map and ask them to work together to fill in the names of the countries. Time them for around twenty minutes to see how many of the world's 195 countries they can identify. This puzzle can be a fun way for teams to work together on a challenging assignment and to identify potential geography experts on the team.
Fill in the map puzzles can encourage conversations about travels and experience that help coworkers get to know more about one another.
Asking your team to solve a riddle can be a good way to engage their minds and challenge their problem-solving skills. Here are some example riddles you can try with your team:
- A man pushes his car to a hotel. He pays the hotel owner money and then pushes his car away. Why does he do this? (Answer: He is playing monopoly). Allow your team to ask you yes or no questions to help them solve the riddle.
- A boy and his father and badly injured in a car accident. An ambulance takes them to the nearest hospital. They arrive in critical condition and the boy is taken straight to surgery where the surgeon says, "I cannot operate on this boy because he is my son." How is this possible? (Answer: The surgeon is the boy's mother).
For this exercise, you need pieces of paper and pens for each of the participating team members. Have each team member write a sentence at the top of their paper and pass to the left. The next team member's challenge is to draw a picture of what the first team member wrote. When they have finished their drawing, they should fold over the top sentence of the paper so only the drawing is visible. Have them pass their folded paper to the next team member who attempts to draw a new picture based on the sentence.
The game finishes when the paper makes it back to its starting point. Unfold the paper to see the evolution of the original sentence.
Rope square is a puzzle that challenges four blindfolded team members to create a perfect square out of a piece of rope. Have them pick up a section of rope and slide their hands until everyone's section is equal. When they think they have finished, they can remove their blindfolds to examine how well they did. For an added challenge, ask one team member to remain silent. This can help illustrate the importance of communication and participation in accomplishing a goal.
Learn a dance
Learning a dance as a team can be a lighthearted way to move, have fun and challenge your team. Find a line dance or simple choreography online and challenge team members to memorize the steps and move in sync. Allow them to work together to teach one another the moves.