Eighty-six percent of employees and execs say that a lack of collaboration and communication is the reason their workplace fails. Well, that collaboration is a lot easier when colleagues have good rapport and feel comfortable with each other. A bonded team is a more engaged team too, which boosts morale and increases retention—great for employees and employers alike.
If you need to boost morale and strengthen your team’s capacity for collaboration, it’s time to practice some meaningful team building activities. Check out our fresh ideas.
1. This time it’s personal
What to do: Ask each member of your team to bring in an item that’s personal to them. Everyone must place these in the centre of the table. The team then attempts to guess who’s object is whose. Once the object is reunited with its owner, that person can share more about it and why it’s important to them.
Why it works: Connecting with your team on a personal level through team building activities means you get to know the people beyond their professional roles. Having a closer working relationship with your colleagues leads to feeling less stressed and more supported.
Read more: How to Survive Back-to-Back Meeting Days
2. Give back, do good
What to do: Find a local charity or community project that’s recruiting volunteers. Sign your team up for an event, and there you have it. Don’t limit yourself only to a single day at the holidays. Invest in a long-term relationship with a non-profit that your team believes in. Just remember that if you’re going to expect employees to volunteer again, give them the work hours to do it.
Why it works: Taking time out to give back to your community will give you and your team a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Volunteering activities also promote active leadership, team management, and collaboration. You’ll see how your team performs in a unique working environment and how they react in unique scenarios, and it’s speculated that volunteering can reduce stress and improve health.
3. Sales is not about selling
What to do: Split your team into small groups of three or four. Ask each group to come up with a new product or service to market and sell to the team. Provide high-level key information they need to design, such as a logo, tagline, and selling points. To make this more fun, come up with silly criteria the team needs to work into their pitch, like only being able to start sentences with a certain letter.
Why it works: 75 percent of people feel they’re not achieving their full creative potential at work, so these team building activities give your staff an outlet to get imaginative. You’ll also be able to recognize skills in members of your team that you hadn’t previously noticed, such as leadership, marketing prowess, or public speaking.
4. A bucket o’ Lego
What to do: Split your team into small groups. Provide each group with Lego and a base plate to connect everything. Each give each member a piece of paper with instructions that only they’re allowed to read. The objective is simple: build a house. However, each team member needs to follow their instructions without revealing them to others. For example, one person may need to ensure only yellow bricks are used, but they have to make sure this happens without explicitly communicating it. Another might not be allowed to talk or may have to try their hardest to distract the team from their goal.
Why it works: Playing with Lego is fun, and it breaks the business-like trance that offices hold over us. Outside of releasing some childish joy and energy, this Lego team building activity can help players develop better communication strategies.
5. The web of life
What to do: Sit your team in a large circle and ask an icebreaker question that everyone will be comfortable answering. Then, hand a ball of string to the first person chosen to answer. Once they’ve answered, get them to throw the ball to another person, keeping hold of the end of the string. Once everyone’s answered, there should be a web of string connecting everyone to each other. This is one of the simplest team building activities to plan and arrange.
Why it works: Opening up new opportunities to meet others not only improves happiness but can create meaningful bonds. Women with a best friend at work were found to be 63 percent more engaged, and where there’s engagement, there’s productivity.
6. Go for ice cream
What to do: Going to lunch as a team can mean sitting in a loud restaurant at a long table, struggling to hear the person sitting across from you. People also tend to sit with coworkers they already know, so colleagues may not connect with anyone new. Instead of a typical lunch, grab the team and walk to get ice cream. The walk is part of the outing too.
Why it works: Ice cream is just different—it’s not lunch, it’s not happy hour—and it can still get everyone together and mingling. Taking a walk together is also a nice way to break up the day and get some fresh air. If there’s not an ice cream shop nearby, try coffee or donuts.
Read more: Your Inner Circle Is Your Ticket to the Top