5 Team-Building Activities for the Workplace

By Josh Clark

Teamwork is an essential part of any business. Without teamwork, an office can become unproductive, inefficient and, sometimes, an unpleasant work environment. One way to bring your employees together and encourage teamwork among them is to use team-building activities. It might sound silly or like a waste of time, but team-building activities can actually help improve communication, teach effective problem-solving strategies and give your team members the chance to learn about their coworkers.

5 team building activities for the workplace

1. Talk over drinks

Now I am not saying to go Mad-Men-Don-Draper-style and have a scotch in your morning sales meetings—unless of course it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. But having a couple cold beverages after work occasionally can really boost team relationships.

2. Get active

Setting up a kickball or softball team for your employees to join, as well as starting a team for a charity race or marathon, can all create camaraderie. Springing for custom team shirts is a fun idea for the event or games. Even offering a discount at a local gym may encourage group trips and friendships. Having these optional activities for workers on the weekends or weekdays will both improve the health of your employees and strengthen teamwork.

3. Two truths and a lie

Before your next team meeting, use the activity “two truths and a lie” as an icebreaker. While sitting in a circle, have everyone share two truths about themselves and one lie. After one person shares, the rest of the team will try to guess which statement was the lie. Employees might be surprised what they learn!

4. The human knot

This activity is more than just an icebreaker and requires good communication and problem-solving skills. Have the participants stand in a circle and tell them to grab the hand of someone who is standing across the circle with their right hand, then to do the same with their left hand. Make sure that everyone is holding hands with two different people. Then, with everyone holding hands, have your group try to untangle themselves.

5. Being there

This activity will help make team members aware of how “present” they are in their work environment and life in general. Before you start the activity, write down a list of questions (5-20) that have to do with the work environment. An example could be, “What color are the walls in the lunch room?” The point of this game is not to embarrass your team by finding out what they don’t observe, but to make themselves aware of how well they pay attention to their daily surroundings. After you have all of your questions written down, read them off and have participants write down their answers on a sheet of paper. Whoever has the most correct answers wins a prize!

A little fun at the office never hurt anyone, and these activities offer more than just a good time. Try one before your next meeting, during that three o’ clock lull, or after hours and see how it works for your team!

One thought on “5 Team-Building Activities for the Workplace

  1. Scott Simmerman

    Well, those 5 are really more like icebreakers and designed to build friendliness. But they sure do not anchor all that much to the issues and opportunities that are presented by workplace improvement initiatives.

    One will find that most workers will actually WANT to focus on making improvements in how things get done and to have an impact on things like customer service and overall productivity. They are also highly likely to have ideas about what they can do to improve the smoothness and efficiencies, since those directly benefit them.

    Instead of playing Sticky Beak or messing around with rearranging their names, why not simply involve them in some teamwork focused on improvement? That other stuff is okay, and I am certainly up for a beer every so often. But friendliness does not generally translate much into performance (yeah, it is true that raw hostility will cause a decrement in results).

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