As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.
Does the thought of playing office team-building games make you cringe? If so, we get it. Playing ice breakers and corporate games is not everyone’s cup of tea. But the good news is that team bonding doesn’t have to be awkward. We’re saying goodbye to boring office games that everyone dreads!
Here’s a list of ten activities managers and leadership teams can use to build trust, improve employee engagement, and create familiarity among colleagues—without the cringe. 😉 Implement ideas like these at your next department stand-up, company update meeting, or (dare we say) just for fun.
Table of Contents
- 5-minute Team Building Activities
- 1-hour Team Building Activities
- Workplace Spirit Week Ideas
- Make an Employee Appreciation Gift Box
5-Minute Team Building Activities
1. Name that Logo
Split staff members into teams. Give each team a sheet of a dozen semi-popular logos. Set the timer for five minutes, instructing players to take their best guess at each logo. The team that guesses the most companies correctly wins. You can make this game even more educational by including logos of popular companies or organizations related to your industry.
2. Survive the Island
Tell participants that they are about to be stranded on a deserted island for a week. Each person is allowed to bring one item with them. After splitting into groups, each person must briefly explain why they chose their item and how they play to use it on the island. Teams must work together to devise a plan of how they will use all items to survive. May the best survival plan win!
3. Paper Tower Frenzy
With just a few sheets of paper, give teams five minutes to build the tallest paper tower they can. Teams are not allowed to use tape, glue, or any other materials. Instead, they must work together to roll, fold, and tear their pieces of paper to create their masterpiece. When time is up, measure the height of each tower and select a winner. This game can also be played with dried spaghetti and marshmallows instead of paper.
4. 6-Degree Connection Challenge
This game is all about making connections and pushing your team to tackle a difficult problem in a creative way! Put everyone into small groups, then give each group two random items that are not closely related. Within five minutes, teams must work together to discuss how item #1 connects with item #2 in six degrees or less. Once time is up, a judge decides whether the connections make sense.
5. People Bingo
Make a custom bingo square with categories like “Someone with blue eyes,” “Someone who plays piano,” “Someone who’s been to Mexico,” and “Someone who has an older sibling.” Players must fill out their cards by asking others whether an attribute applies to them. The first person to achieve Bingo wins! Make the game harder with difficult attributes, like “Find someone who dislikes your favorite food.”
This employee networking idea is a great way to help improve company culture. If you're looking for game square inspiration, check out our Company Kick-off Bingo Card example:
1-Hour Team Building Activities
1. Protect the Egg
The egg drop contest involves creating a device that can successfully keep a raw chicken egg from breaking when dropped from a certain height. Split staff members into two or more teams. Give each team a limited amount of time to design and construct a contraption to protect their egg. Provide various materials to use, like cardboard, toilet paper, recycling materials, rubber bands, glue, tape, string, balloons, popsicle sticks, and bubble wrap. Don’t forget to lay down a tarp before testing!
2. Convince the Sharks
In this game inspired by the television series Shark Tank, put everyone into small groups and have them create a fun product pitch for a panel of “investors” (I.e., the Sharks). The goal of this game is to have team members take turns convincing the Sharks that their idea is brilliant enough to invest in. Groups get one hour to create a slide deck, draw a diagram, create a skit, or otherwise prepare their spoken pitch to win their deal. Products can be as silly or serious as groups want.
3. Create For a Cause
This activity is perfect for organizations looking to give back to their communities. Have your entire team work together to build or create something unique that can be donated to a local non-profit organization. For example, your team could build a “free little library,” construct a wooden bench, plant trees, paint a mural, or design cards for a local hospital or nursing home. We love this activity because it allows everyone to see the positive impact their teamwork has had.
4. Sneak a Peek
Have a “game master” use LEGOs, modeling clay, building blocks, or art materials to craft an object or structure. Divide your team into groups, then have one member of each team “sneak a peek” at the hidden object/structure for 10 seconds. After taking mental notes, the peeking person must return to their group and describe what they saw. The group can start recreating the structure based on what the person saw.
If the structure is not complete after a minute of building, send another member of your group to once again “sneak a peek.” Return to your group and give more directions. This rotation continues until the group feels confident that they have recreated the structure. The winner of this game is the first group to successfully recreate the object. This game is best played in short lightning rounds.
5. Taste Maker Match-up
Before the game begins, create a list of food pairings that go well together, such as the following:
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Salt and pepper
- Cheese and crackers
- Bacon and eggs
- Grilled cheese and tomato soup
- Cookies and milk
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Burger and fries
- Cake and ice cream
- Coffee and donuts
- Butter and popcorn
- Chips and salsa
Write each individual food on a piece of paper, then tape one sheet to each person’s back. Ask participants to mingle with the group. Not only must they identify what is written on their backs, but they also must identify their food pair. The only rule is they can only ask yes/no questions (I.e., "Am I a breakfast food?” “Am I a food that is served cold?"). Have attendees carry notepads to take notes.
Consider Hosting Workplace Spirit Week!
From themed days to spirit-raising activities, silly games, and friendly competitions, workplace spirit week has the potential to help teams build cohesion, solve problems, celebrate accomplishments, and strengthen company culture.
Workplace spirit week involves five business days (or all seven days) of employee engagement activities in which teams, departments or companies gather to have fun and strengthen bonds with their peers.
Like high school spirit week, workplace spirit week can help your team form fond memories of a time when work was put on pause so everyone could have fun. Plus, who doesn't enjoy looking forward to a week full of fun and friendship? Themed activities are a go-to strategy for promoting work/life balance, showing appreciation to employees, and reducing employee burnout.
Looking for a totally unique gift your team will love?
Consider working with pc/nametag to design your very own employee appreciation gift boxes. A curated gift box with snacks and presents is sure to be a hit with your team, whether they work in-office or remote. We’d be glad to work with you to bring your vision to life. Start by viewing our selection of pre-assembled boxes or start from scratch with your own selection of gifts.
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