Companies all around the world go above and beyond to build strong teams capable of performing difficult tasks with the minimum amount of resources, in the shortest possible time. That is the very definition of productivity. All leaders and managers know that having people work together means enhanced problem-solving capabilities and greater potential for innovation. And this is how team building activities were born.
Team building activities at the office
Growing team cohesion and employee engagement isn’t an easy task though and if you let it happen organically, it could take months or even years. To speed up the process, some companies send their teams on paid vacations, organize team buildings, hire professional coaches or specialized teams for in-house training.
However, most small businesses and startups don’t have access to that kind of resources, or their form of organization simply won’t allow it. Whatever the reason, the good news is that there are plenty of solutions that team leaders and managers can apply themselves, in their very own conference rooms.
This article illustrates 7 such team building activities that require minimum resources but turn out great results.
1. Two Truths and a Lie
This is a great ice-breaking team building activity and the perfect way to learn more about coworkers in a funny manner. If you haven’t already played this as a teenager, the rules are very simple: form small teams of 3-4 members and ask them to take turns and say 3 random things about themselves. Two of the statements need to be true while the third should be a lie. The other members each take a turn trying to guess which of the three statements was the lie.
Stop the exercise after everyone had their turn or after a given period of time.
All you need for this exercise is a beach ball or balloon and a room with a high ceiling. The exercise makes team members work together towards a common goal: keeping the balloon in the air for as long as possible.
Start by forming 2 teams and have both begin at the same time. The team that still has their balloon in the air when the others drop it wins. Make sure a designated person keeps track of time.
Once the exercise is over, give the teams the opportunity to revise their strategy and repeat the exercise once more. People will see that if they collaborate and strategize together, they end up having better results than playing by the ear, all on their own.
3. Lego Challenge
Even though your employees are most likely adults, you can bet they are all familiar with the most popular construction game of all times: Lego. But what does playing with lego bricks has to do with teamwork? Well, it can be a great exercise of camaraderie, cooperation, trust, and communication if done right.
Make 2 teams and give each of them enough pieces to recreate a given structure. Show the structure for 10 seconds to everyone, then hide it and ask the two teams to build a similar one within a given time frame. Each individual can sneak a peek to the hidden structure for 10 seconds, then return to their team and add the extra details they observe.
Team members learn to work together, communicate, exchange ideas and literally build something together. The winner is the team that has the closest structure to the original when the time expires.
4. The Last Minute
Getting to know the people you work with at a deeper, more intimate level, can strengthen the bond, increase trust, and turn the work environment into a friendlier one. This team building activity gives people the opportunity to share something meaningful about themselves and have their colleagues remember them for that.
Many times distant coworkers know each other as the guy who eats goat cheese for lunch and the girl who leaves the microwave door open. This exercise is meant to put an end to that and help individuals see each other for more than appearances.
The rules are simple: everyone gets 2 minutes to think of the most meaningful moment of their lives – which they would want to relive during the last minute of their lives if given the opportunity. Then everyone takes turns sharing that with their teammates.
5. Room Scouts
This is a great exercise for sales teams. It will not only test their skills but helps them learn from each other and collaborate in a friendly and fun environment. Make 3 teams and ask each of them to pick a random object they can see in the room and prepare a sales pitch for it. The object can be anything from tables, chairs, wall clock, to doors, lamps, and windows. Have them come up with a full marketing plan: brand, slogan, logo etc.
Teams should take turns presenting their sales pitch to the others, which in return should give each team anonymous scores from 1 to 10. The team that has the highest total score wins the game.
6. Classify Things
Start this exercise by collecting a few random objects from around the room and putting them on a table, or any place where everyone can see them. Divide your people into smaller teams of 5-6 persons each and ask them to classify the objects into at least 5 different categories. After a given period of time, each team has to present its classifications and the logic behind it.
The classes can be anything, from size, functionality, and color to less obvious common traits. This will stimulate people’s imagination and make them think outside the box, seeing everyday objects from a whole new perspective.
7. Deserted Island
This one is a classic team building activity. Probably every living person on Earth was faced with the question: Name X items you would take with you on a deserted island 🙂 However, the catch, in this case, is that team members have to reach consensus before presenting their list to the others.
Form at least two teams and give them enough time to debate and decide together what would be the items that are most likely to help them survive. The purpose of this exercise is not testing their survival skills, but their ability to communicate, cooperate and reach consensus while putting individual preferences aside for the common good.
Virtual team building activities
In a world in which virtual teams are more and more frequent, we should never forget to mention and include this 21st century model of organization. Especially since there is no reason why remote teams couldn’t enjoy the benefits of team building activities. Of course, some of them would need to be adapted to the online environment, but there’s nothing too complicated.
With a couple of exceptions (balloon and Lego), all the other team building activities listed above can easily be performed in the virtual world, with the use of smart team communication apps such as Hubgets.
You can perform a team building exercise at the beginning of each day, week, or month or whenever you feel the team might benefit. And remember, the sky has never been the limit, use your imagination 😉