Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities That Don't Suck

A team that works well together is more effective, more productive, and more successful — not to mention happier and more fun to work with! But team building at work can be tricky, especially when typical team building activities tend to induce more eye rolls among teammates than high-fives.
 
Whether you were hired to put together some team-building initiatives or you think your team just needs to get together and do something fun, workplace team-building activities are the way to go. There are even lots of options available for online team-building activities when your team is distributed. Adults can have fun, too!

Don't be seen as the Michael Scott of your office, trying to organize team bonding ideas that involve egg and spoon races and hotdog eating contests. Corporate wouldn't stand for that. This list is going to become your go-to for office team building, and can even be modified as games to play with remote employees. Everything from small team building activities to problem-solving exercises, we've scoured the internet to create the ultimate list of fun team building activities for the workplace to laugh, learn, and connect with your team.

Team building activities and games

1. Zombie Escape

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: 1 rope, 1 key, and 5-10 puzzles or clues, depending on how much time you want to spend on the game

Instructions: Gather the team into a conference room or other empty space and "lock" the door. Beforehand, select one team member to play the zombie — dead eyes, arms outstretched, muttering "braaaaiiiinnnnssss" and all. The volunteer zombie will be tied to the rope in the corner of the room, with 1 foot of leeway. Once the team exercise starts, every five minutes the rope restraining the hungry zombie is let out another foot. Soon, the zombie will be able to reach the living team members, who will need to solve a series of puzzles or clues to find the hidden key that will unlock the door and allow them to escape before it's too late. 

2. Battle of the Airbands 

For: Team Bonding

What you'll need: Speakers, smartphone or mp3 player

Instructions: Ever watched Lip Sync Battle? (Tom Holland's is a personal favorite.) Expand the idea to a full battle of the air bands. Split your group up into teams of 3-4 people and let them decide who will be the singers, guitarists, drummers, etc. Give them some time to choose, rehearse, and perform a lip-synced version of whatever work-friendly song they like. If they have a few days, teams can dress up or bring props. After the performances, teams can vote on the winner (with the caveat that no one can vote for their own band). Or, let a neighboring department in on the fun and have them choose the winner. 

3. A Shrinking Vessel 

For: Creative Problem Solving 

What you'll need: A rope, blanket, or tape to mark a space on the floor

Instructions: Make a space on the floor and have your whole group (or a set of smaller teams) stand in that space. Then gradually shrink the space, so the team will have to think fast and work together to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries. 

4. Back-to-Back Drawing 

For: Communication Skills

What you'll need: Paper, pens/markers, printouts of simple line drawings, or basic shapes. 

Instructions: Split your group into pairs and have each pair sit back to back. One person gets a picture of a shape or simple image, and the other gets a piece of paper and pen. The person holding the picture gives verbal instructions to their partner on how to draw the shape or image they've been given (without simply telling them what the shape or image is). After a set amount of time, have each set of partners compare their images and see which team drew the most accurate replica. 

5. Office Trivia 

For: Team Bonding

What you'll need: 20-25 trivia questions about your workplace

Instructions: Looking for a quick and easy team-building activity that is also suitable for remote cultures? Come up with a series of questions specific to your workplace and test your team's knowledge. "What color are the kitchen tiles?" "How many people are in the IT department?" "How many windows are there in the entire office?" "What brand are the computer monitors?" "What month of the year is most common for birthdays among our employees?" This is a quick team-building activity that tests how observant your team is, and can be done in both a conference room and over Zoom.

6. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower 

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, 1 roll of masking tape, 1 yard of string, and 1 marshmallow for every team. 

Instructions: Using just these supplies, which team can build the tallest tower? There's a catch: The marshmallow has to be at the very top of the spaghetti tower, and the whole structure has to stand on its own (that means no hands or other objects supporting it!) for five seconds.

7. Community Service

For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers 

What you'll need: A few hours out of the workday

Instructions: Participate in Adopt-a-Family programs during the holidays, organize a beach clean-up, take on a community beautification project — find an activity that appeals to your team or reflects your company values, get out of the office, and do some good for your community and your team.

8. Salt and Pepper 

For: Communication Skills

What you'll need: Tape, a pen, a small piece of paper for each employee, and a list of well-known pairs (think peanut butter and jelly, Mario and Luigi, or salt and pepper). 

Instructions: Write one half of each pair on the sheets of paper (Mario on one piece, Luigi on another, and so on). Tape one paper to each person's back, then have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their back. The rule: they can only ask each other yes or no questions. Once they figure out their word, they need to find the other half of their pair. When they find each other, have them sit down and find three things they have in common while the rest of the team continues. 

9. Masterpiece Murals 

For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers

What you'll need: Pre-drawn canvases, paints and brushes, a drop cloth or tarp

Instructions: Give each member of your team a canvas and brush, and let everyone create a colorful masterpiece on their canvas. Once they're dry, they can be put together and displayed in your office as a mural, or placed throughout your workspace.

10. Afternoon at the Races 

For: Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: One pinewood derby car kit for each team, chalk for start and finish lines

Instructions: Have teams build and race their own mini pinewood cars. If you want, go all out and let teams create mascots and themes, and host a mini-tail gate with snacks and music. 

11. Toxic Waste 

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: 1 small and 1 large bucket, 1 rope, 1 bungee cord loop, 8 bungee cords, 8 plastic or tennis balls

Instructions: Use the rope to make an 8-foot circle on the ground that represents a toxic waste radiation zone. (You can make the radiation zone bigger to increase the difficulty.) Put the balls in the bucket and place it in the center of the circle to represent the toxic waste. Place the large bucket about 30 feet away. Teams must use the bungee cords to find a way to transfer the toxic waste balls from the small bucket to the large bucket within a certain amount of time (15-20 minutes). Anyone who crosses the line into the radiation zone will be "injured" (you can blindfold them, or make them hold one hand behind their back), or "die" (must sit out for the rest of the game). Dropping toxic waste balls will similarly result in injury, and spilling the entire bucket means everyone on the team is dead. 

Solution for referees: Attach the bungee cords to the bungee loop, then have everyone hold and pull on the cords to stretch the loop and guide it over and down around the toxic waste bucket. Loosen the cords to contract the bungee loop so it grips the bucket. Use the cords to lift the bucket and tip the balls into the large "neutralization" bucket. 

12. Company Coat of Arms

For: Team Bonding

What you'll need: Paper, pens, markers

Instructions: Have teams create your company coat of arms. In the first space, draw something that represents a recent achievement. In the second space, draw something that reflects your company values. In the third space, draw something that represents where you see the company going in the future. Post the finished coat of arms in your office. 

13. Campfire/Memory Wall

For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers

What you'll need: Post-It notes or a whiteboard

Instructions: Write a few general work-related topics on the whiteboard or on sticky notes posted to the wall: “My first day,” “Teamwork,” “Work travel,” etc. Gather your team together and have everyone choose one of the topics and share a story from their time with your company to laugh and bond over shared experiences. You can also pass out sticky notes and have everyone write down positive memories of working together or special team accomplishments. They can use words or pictures to record these memories. Then have everyone share their memory and post it on the wall, forming a positive memory cloud. 

14. Frostbite 

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: 1 packet of construction materials (like card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team, an electric fan

Instructions: Your teams of 4-5 are no longer sitting in your office, they're Arctic explorers trekking across the frozen tundra! Have each team elect a leader to guide their expedition. When a sudden storm hits, the team must erect an emergency shelter to survive. However, both of the team leader's hands have frostbite, so s/he can't physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. Give each team a set of construction materials and start the timer. When time runs out, turn on the electric fan's arctic winds and see who successfully built a shelter that will keep them safe. Adjust the difficulty with sturdier construction materials (provide popsicle sticks instead of toothpicks, etc.), by changing the fan's settings, or by having the fan running while the team constructs their shelters. 

15. Minefield 

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: An empty room or hallway, and a collection of common office items

Instructions: Use boxes, office chairs, water bottles, etc. to create an obstacle course of "mines" within your empty space. Divide the group into pairs, where one partner is blindfolded. The other must guide that person from one end of the course to another without setting off any mines. The person guiding their partner cannot enter the course and must only use verbal instructions to get their partner through. Depending on the number of people you have and how difficult you want this activity to be, you can vary the number of pairs trying to complete the course at the same time so that pairs have to work harder to listen to each other and communicate clearly. 

16. Egg Drop 

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: A carton of eggs; basic construction materials like newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc.; tarp or drop cloth, parking lot, or some other place you don't mind getting messy!

Instructions: Divide the group into teams and give each one 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier that will keep an egg safe from a two-story drop (or however high you choose). If you end up with a tie, gradually increase the height of the drop until you're left with a winner. 

17. Scavenger Hunt 

For: Collaboration Skills & Team Bonding

What you’ll need: Pen and paper

Instructions: A classic team bonding game that we did ourselves! Split everyone into groups and make a list of fun things to find or do outside your office. Make it each team's mission to find and photograph everything on that list within a certain time limit. The first team to complete each item on the list wins! 

18. Plane Crash 

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Skills

What you'll need: 20-30 minutes

Instructions: Imagine this: the plane carrying your team has crashed on a desert island. Have your group work with 12 items from around the office that they think would be most useful in their survival, ranking each item in order of importance. Alternatively, have individuals make their selections first and then have the group discuss and come to a consensus. This game focuses on communication and negotiation skill-building.

19. Spider Web 

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What You'll Need: String and tape

Instructions: Tape two pieces of string across a doorway, one at about three-and-a-half feet and the other around five feet. This string is the poisonous spider web. Teams must get all their members through the opening between the strings without touching it. Increase the difficulty by taping more pieces of string across the doorway.

20. Paper Plane Contest 

For: Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: A long hallway, tape to mark the launch line, measuring stick, card stock

Instructions: This game can be played either indoors or outdoors. Each team gets a piece of card stock to construct a paper plane. Show them a variety of airplane designs and let them work together to construct one they think will fly the farthest. Add to the fun by decorating the planes before launch. The team whose plane flies farthest wins all the glory!

21. Dare Jenga

For: Team Bonding & Ice Breaking

What you'll need: A Jenga set (preferably with large blocks)

Instructions: This one is a fun team-building icebreaker for work that will get your team to test their limits. Write a dare on the surface of each block. Make them fun dares around the office such as: doing 15 pushups, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" out loud, or wearing the oversized sombrero for the rest of the workday (yes, we have an office sombrero). When all the blocks have dares on them, stack them up like in Jenga. When people pull a block out, they have to perform the dare that's written on it.

Team-building activities for remote teams

Team-building activities are not just for staff in the office. Whether your team is fully remote or operates a hybrid model, involving everyone in team-building activities is crucial for building team morale. Check out these virtual team-building games that can be played by staff working remotely, so you can try them out wherever you're based. 

1. Whose Office Is It, Anyway? 

For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers

What you'll need: Internet connection, file sharing tool

Instructions: Have your team members send a photo of their home offices, and then have everyone guess whose workspace is whose. Keep the game going with photos of everyone's coffee mugs, desktop backgrounds, or the view outside their window. 

2. Conference Call Trivia 

For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers

What you'll need: Internet connection

Instructions: Divide into teams and play trivia. You can find good trivia questions and answers online, or pull out some Trivial Pursuit cards. It's a great way to learn about people's non-work interests and personalities.

3. Online Multiplayer Games

For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise

What you'll need: Internet connection

Instructions: Pick a game that will let your team work together to strategize and problem solve, like Travian, or browse the many free and paid co-op games on Steam. Use your computer's built-in microphone and speakers to chat, or use headsets. 

4. Charades or Catchphrase via Video Hangout or Skype

For: Collaboration Exercise & Team Bonding

What you'll need: Internet connection, video chat app

Instructions: Divide your group into two teams, and play classic party games like Charades or Catchphrase via video call. You can send everyone the link to an online Charades or Catchphrase ideas generator that will provide word prompts for you. 

5. Online Karaoke Party

For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers

What you'll need: Internet connection

Instructions: Let loose with an online karaoke party! Use the built-in microphones and speakers on your computers to challenge teammates to a karaoke battle, compare high scores, or just have fun showing off your singing skills. 

How Wrike can bring the collaborative spirit to your team

Team-building activities are a great way to build morale and team spirit in your organization. But for this to carry over into your everyday work, you need to ensure your employees have the tools they need to collaborate seamlessly. Wrike's versatile collaboration software allows teams to work as one, fostering an environment of accountability, productivity, and growth for every person, regardless of where they're based.

Features like collaborative workspaces, custom-field request forms, customized workflows, real-time updates and approvals, and powerful reporting tools all help teams to do the best work of their lives from anywhere. Try it now with a free two-week trial

Additional team building resources for work

Sources:

Comments 0

Sorry, this content is unavailable due to your privacy settings. To view this content, click the “Cookie Preferences” button and accept Advertising Cookies there.

Cookie Preferences