Team Building Games for the Office, Remote Workers & Outdoors

in Research   Posted on May 14, 2021  Author: Imed Bouchrika,

A team that plays together, works well together. However, the minute management announces a team building game, it will most likely be met with blank stares and rolling eyes from employees. Many companies can relate to this scenario (Tallyfy, n.d.).

Most team building tasks make employees feel embarrassed rather than enthusiastic. Also, many of them think about how much work they could accomplish if they are not to participate in these events. When employees are displeased at the thought of playing company games, the management will have a hard time achieving its goals (Cohen, 2019).

Luckily, there are team building games that employees can find fun, comfortable, and educational. This article provides you with a good resource should you find yourself designated to plan for the company’s next bonding activity.

Team Building Games Table of Contents

  1. Quick Team Building Ideas
  2. Team Building Outdoor Activities
  3. Team Building Games During COVID
  4. Other Team Building Tasks

Getting Started with Team Building Games

MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory researchers say that conversations during informal meetings are the most significant element that leads to team success. Therefore, team building games are good opportunities for teams to engage in informal yet enjoyable talks (Teambuilding, 2021).

As a team building planner, always remember that:

  • Team building is supposed to motivate employees. It should also help employees know something about how their coworkers work, think, and resolve conflicts (Johnson, 2021).
  • These games must not be seen as a one-time event but as a continuous process. They must establish trust among employees and ensure that everyone is headed toward one direction (Tit, 2018).
  • They should not gather employees just to force them to interact with each other. Instead, they must be deeply ingrained into the company culture by seamlessly incorporating them into daily office operations (Brightful, 2021).
  • Success is measured not by the number of hours spent working but by the work quality. Too much workload results in burnout and fatigue. Let employees take a break from everything so that they can look at a situation from a different viewpoint.
  • Employees have their own strengths and weaknesses. Three key factors are the level of collaboration, trust, and communication among them (Malas, 2021).
  • The amount of needed time and money to conduct the activities must be figured out as well.

Quick Team Building Ideas

Many employees worry about missing deadlines if they play games. Here are quick team building ideas that will not take up the entire meeting (Johnson, 2021).

Game of Possibilities

  • Duration: 5 – 6 minutes
  • Participants: One or multiple small groups
  • Materials: Any objects

Provide one person from each group with an object. Each of them must demonstrate to the rest of the group how they can use the object given to them. They cannot speak and must demonstrate by only using original and funny ideas. Other members have to guess what object is being described.

Water Cooler Trivia

  • Duration: 5 – 10 minutes
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: None

Every week, participants will answer trivia questions on numerous topics and send their answers to get featured on a weekly leaderboard. Results will show who among the employees are trivia experts and funny ones, alongside each team’s average score. This game can be played via email or Slack.

Winner/Loser

  • Duration: 5 – 6 minutes
  • Participants: Two or more
  • Materials: None

Partner A will tell Partner B about something bad that happened to his or her life. It can be about anything, but it needs to be true. Then, Partner A will retell the same experience, but will only emphasize the positive sides of it. Partner B will aid in discovering the bright side of the experience. Later on, they will switch roles.

Purpose Mingle

  • Duration: 1 – 2 minutes
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: None

Prior to the meeting, let each employee walk around and share what they wish to contribute to the meeting with as many coworkers as they can. Offering a prize to the employee who can interact with the most number of coworkers and to those who can successfully contribute something to the meeting is recommended.

M&M Arm Wrestle

  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Participants: 4 – 20
  • Materials: A bag of M&Ms

Have participants form in pairs and expect an arm-wrestling match. Whoever pins down his or her partner’s arm gains a point and gets an M&M candy. The goal of M&M Arm Wrestle is to gain as many points as the participants can before the time runs out. Normally, participants will pay attention to the competition of wrestling arms against each other instead of working together and winning points for their teams. Let them play a few extra rounds to realize this notion (Tit, 2018).

Amoeba

  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Participants: Medium to big teams
  • Materials: None

To play Amoeba, start by mentioning a number. The number refers to how many people must be in a group. For instance, if the number five is mentioned, participants must then form into groups of five as quickly as they can. Whoever gets left behind once all the teams have formed loses the game. Continue playing until only one person is left.

businesses and social collaboration tools

Team Building Outdoor Activities

Outdoors is always fun. It also brings many benefits, namely vitamin D, enhanced concentration, and faster recovery. Moreover, it is a great venue to bond with coworkers. Have a great time at work with these team building outdoor activities.

Human Knot

  • Duration: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Participants: 8 – 20
  • Materials: None

Ask everyone to stand in a circle facing each other. Tell them to place their right hands out and hold the hand of someone across from them. Then, ask them to place their left hands out and hold another hand from someone across them. Within a set time, all of them must untangle the knot of arms without letting go of each other’s hands. For larger groups, make several smaller circles and let them compete against each other (Johnson, 2021).

The Perfect Square

  • Duration: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Participants: 5 – 20
  • Materials: Long rope tied together, blindfolds

Ask employees to hold a piece of the rope while standing in a circle. Then, have them put on the blindfold and place the rope on the floor. Let them walk shortly away from the circle. Later on, ask them to come back and make a square with the rope without taking their blindfolds off. Have a time limit and instruct them to stay silent to make the game more challenging and competitive.

Egg Drop

  • Duration: 1 – 2 hours
  • Participants: Two or more small groups
  • Materials: Various office supplies

Egg Drop is one of the most popular team building outdoor activities. To play this game, divide participants into groups of three to five members. Provide each group with an uncooked egg. Place all the office supplies in a pile. Supplies can be tape, pencils, straws, and so on. Give them 15 to 30 minutes to use the supplies in making a contraption. The contraption surrounding the egg must keep it from breaking if dropped. Once the set time is up, drop each egg on the ground and find out which egg survives.

Team Emblem

  • Duration: 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: Cardboard, chart paper, markers, crayons, tape, or anything else needed to draw or paint a team emblem

Participants will be divided into small groups of three to four people each. Have groups gather the required materials to draw or paint their team emblems, which must reflect what their team values are. Later on, let them show their emblems to each other and explain the reason behind their outputs (Cohen, 2019).

Shipwrecked

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Participants: 8 – 24
  • Materials: Actual or images of food, water, weapons, tarp, flares, matches, and so on

Let employees picture this: their plane has just crashed on an island and they only have a few minutes to gather items from the plane wreckage before the entire plane gets burned. Divide participants into two groups. For 25 minutes, let them choose the items they think they will need and rank them according to their importance. Some items are important but limited; thus, they will have to barter with each other.

Frostbite

  • Duration: 1 – 1.5 hour
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: Cardstock, toothpicks, rubber bands, sticky notes, and so on

Divide employees into small teams of four or five. Have them imagine that they are lost in the arctic and must make a shelter to survive the cold winds. Each team must vote for a leader who will be tasked to play the role of a frostbite victim; hence, he or she will not be able to move physically. At the same time, the rest of the team will be suffering from snow blindness. The leader will give orders on making the shelter without helping and the members must follow without seeing (Erts, 2016).

Frostbite is one of the most challenging team building outdoor activities. It aims to test the survival instinct of employees.

All the News

  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Participants: 5 – 20
  • Materials: Newspapers, whiteboard, markers

Divide participants into small teams. Then, give each team a newspaper and have them think of newspaper headlines that describe the company best or predict future department accomplishments. They can think as many as they can and as far as in the future they wish. Once all teams are done, let them share their headline ideas.

This game can help business owners get ideas about the future of their companies and set new goals (Toggl, n.d.).

Source: Gallup, n.d.

Team Building Games During COVID

Remote workers deal with a different kind of challenge because they become uninvolved in any direct personal communication. A TINYpulse research on what leaders must know about the virtual office culture reveals that remote employees have weaker relationships with coworkers compared to those working in the office (Regan, 2020).

One way to get ahead in managing crucial situations like this pandemic is to facilitate the following team building games during COVID:

Typing Speed Relay

  • Duration: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: None

The Typing Speed Relay is a more collaborative take on the typical typing tests online. Form people into teams, have each member perform a typing test, and add their scores to make a total score for their teams.

This is one of the team building games during COVID that promotes friendly competition. It also enhances typing skills, which is an essential factor in a remote work setup (Alexis, 2021).

Water Shots

  • Duration: Flexible
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: A glass of water

Water Shots fosters healthy hydration among employees. Select a trigger, such as “every time someone walks behind the screen” or “anytime someone speaks on mute.” Anytime a trigger occurs. all participants have to drink water.

Slideshow

  • Duration: 30 – 50 minutes
  • Participants: 6 – 50
  • Materials: None

Slideshow is an impromptu team building game. Here, one person will narrate a story of a process or an adventure, while the other will act as the slideshow or visuals of the narration. Participants may use props to make the task more exciting.

Self-Portrait

  • Duration: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: Markers, crayons, colored pencils, paper

Ask employees to draw a self-portrait anonymously. Let them send their outputs via chat and post them online, guess which is whose, and explain the reason behind their drawings.

(Pandemic) Bucket List

  • Duration: 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: None

The year 2020 is the first year of everyone’s unfulfilled plans and goals. This fact is upsetting, and it can have an essential effect on the well-being of employees. To prevent a big morale drop from happening, have them list down a pandemic bucket list. These things must be attainable even during the pandemic. Assign each employee with a remote buddy who can support and encourage them. At the end of the year, set up a meeting for this activity, where everyone can declare the achievement of their goals (Simic, 2021).

This game is considered one of the most inspiring team building games during COVID.

Camera Race

  • Duration: 10 – 20 minutes
  • Participants: Any
  • Materials: Any

In Camera Race, employees need to race to be the first one to bring a certain item to the camera. The host decides what items are to be brought and crowns the winner of every round.

remote team building

Other Team Building Tasks

Team building does not always have to be all about just fun, they can also be something that can make employees reflect about who they are as workers, what their company holds, and more. Here are other highly recommended team building tasks.

Mad Lib Mission Statement

Transform the company’s mission statement into the famous Mad Lib game. Eliminate main nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Make a worksheet in which the eliminated words are displayed as a blank line with directions on what types of words are required. Ask each group member to provide the word. Once there is an ample number of words, let all employees read the mission statement. It will sound funny. After a while, ask employees again for the same word types. Find out what types of words will be provided. Redo the game until they come up with a mission statement that feels right for them.

Another way to play this game is to classify the kinds of words prior to the first round. Tell participants that the words must suit them best. However, this must be done without letting them know that they are working on a mission statement (Campbell, n.d.).

Active Listening

Gather the team for what they believe is another meeting. Read a long speech filled with mind-boggling but logical jargons that talk about sales and marketing. Incorporate sentences that talk about something else in the document. These sentences must contain information that will be asked to them after the speech. Afterward, have them write down what they believed was talked about. Conduct a quiz about the random sentences, too.

Paintballing

Paintballing will need to be scheduled ahead of time and will last for about two hours. Nevertheless, it is a fun way to establish positive rapport among employees. This is best played together with the managers and some HR personnel. Allowing employees to chase the management around with a paintball gun is an unconventional yet interesting workplace morale booster (Tallyfy, n.d.).

Community Service

Community service helps employees give back and bond with each other in a new setting. Great examples of community service projects are participating in farming and agriculture initiatives, volunteering in feeding programs, and tutoring children from under-resourced communities.

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What US Employees Consider Important

What US Employees Consider Important
Recognition: 37

Recognition

%
What US Employees Consider Important
More autonomy: 12

More autonomy

%
What US Employees Consider Important
More inspiration: 12

More inspiration

%
What US Employees Consider Important
More pay: 7

More pay

%
What US Employees Consider Important
More training: 6

More training

%
What US Employees Consider Important
A promotion: 4

A promotion

%

Source: O.C. Tanner, n.d.

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Adults Need Some Playtime, Too

Muse career coach Al Dea compares employees with professional sports teams who work and practice with each other to be the best at what they do. Just like them, employees cannot proceed with a task without knowing the positions of the other members, who is relaying the next task to whom, and who must handle an ABC situation. They will not achieve anything if they do not know and understand each other (Kalish, n.d.).

Many companies have already started to realize how important office perks and socializing activities are to their culture. They now know that taking some steam off can make their workers happy and productive. At the end of the day, employees are just grown kids who still need playtime to awaken their creative selves (Tit, 2018).

 

References:

  1. Alexis, M. (2021, March 30). 30 Online Team Building Games for Remote Teams in 2021. Teambuilding. https://teambuilding.com/blog/online-team-building-games
  2. Brightful. (2021, January 29). 8 Best Team Building Games of 2021https://www.brightful.me/blog/team-building-games/
  3. Campbell, S. (n.d.). 32 Team Building Games Your Whole Team Will Love. When I Work. https://wheniwork.com/blog/team-building-games
  4. Cohen, E. (2019, June 3). 35 Team Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Love. Workamajig. https://www.workamajig.com/blog/team-building-activities
  5. Erts, N. (2016, August 10). Top 50 Team-Building Games that Your Employees Would Love to Play. Sage HR. https://blog.sage.hr/top-50-team-building-games-employees-love-play/
  6. Johnson, C. (2021, April 27). 13 Awesome Team Building Games (Infographic). Wrike. https://www.wrike.com/blog/team-building-games/
  7. Kalish, A. (n.d.). 22 Team-Building Activities Your Coworkers Won’t Hate. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.themuse.com/advice/team-building-activities-games-for-work-office
  8. Malas, F. (2021, May). Team Building Activities: 34 Activities To Create An Unstoppable Team. ClickUp. https://clickup.com/blog/team-building/
  9. Ocasta. (n.d.). 30 new ideas for virtual team games and activities this lockdown (updated). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://ocasta.com/blog/new-ideas-for-virtual-team-games-this-lockdown-updated
  10. Piedfort, M. (2019, February 2019). 22 Top Team Building games That People Will Actually Want To Do. Workzone. https://www.workzone.com/blog/team-building-games/
  11. Regan, R. (2020, April 26). 10 Team Building Games for Remote Workers. Connecteam. https://connecteam.com/team-building-games-remote-workers/
  12. Simic, A. (2021, March). 30+ Virtual Team Building Activities for Remote Teams. Deel. https://www.letsdeel.com/blog/virtual-team-building-activities
  13. Simon, B. (2017, February 2). Top Team-Building games: Experts Share Their Favorites. Smartsheet. https://www.smartsheet.com/top-team-building-games-experts-share-their-favorites
  14. Tallyfy. (n.d.). 6 Fun Team Building Games That Your Employees Won’t Hate. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://tallyfy.com/team-building-games/
  15. Tit, M. (2018, May 7). 21 Team Building Activities That Your Team Won’t Sigh At. Paymo. https://www.paymoapp.com/blog/team-building-activities/
  16. Toggl. (n.d.). 38 Team Building Games That You Will Actually Enjoy. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://toggl.com/track/team-building-games/