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9 Team Building Exercises For Work That You’ll Want To Steal!

Indhuja Lal

Last Updated:  

8 November 2022

8 min read


“None of us is as smart as all of us” – Ken Blanchard

Victories are more fruitful if you are winning as a team. Be it in your personal life or business. Team building is essential for the smooth functioning of your business. If your employees are trying to get into the good books individually, it leads to unhealthy competition inside and ruins the positive work environment. You do not want your offices to turn into a hostile environment where everybody wants everybody else to make a mistake.

True empowerment comes from helping each other up rather than just trying to stay on top of the pyramid. This is something that you might easily overlook or has never looked like a concern to you until you got employees churning. Of course, at one point or another, your employees do change companies for various unavoidable reasons. But if that unavoidable reason is that they hate your company, well, you have got a burning problem.

Most of the time, the focus is given only to your customers since they maketh your revenue and growth. But you conveniently forget that growth should actually be starting from within. If your employee is unwilling to refer you to his or her close friend about your company, what does that tell you about your company?

They too are your brand ambassadors, your most trusted advocates, I must add. Making it more the reason to safeguard a healthy and positive environment, your employees are a direct touch point for your customers. And they would definitely pick up the negative attitude of your employees easily. They might even come off as rude and unprofessional and ultimately lose your customers. Don’t let your workplace become toxic, watch out for these 10 signs!

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.

Team building need not be an expensive herculean task. The fundamental aim is to have your employees know each other better enabling them to work as a team. Just like a football game, everybody has to assume their position and play that part well. Everybody wants to shoot a goal yet only one can actually kick it into the post. You have to let your employees work together and achieve targets together not arguing about who actually got to articulate the final answer to the manager. And if you need that, you need to empower your employees and to elevate their confidence in themselves.

Team engagement practices for work are a great way to do just that. It need not be all work and no play!!

You should be very careful while choosing these team building exercises for work since they might come off as plain childish or dull. You don’t want your employee groaning, “Not another boring game”.

Let us go through the 9 team building exercises for work that you’ll want to steal

1. Barter Puzzle

Strengthen your sales team or get your team members to practice their negotiating and strategizing skills through a game called barter puzzle. You have to divide your team into groups. Each of the groups is then given different jigsaw puzzles. The tricky part is, each puzzle has had pieces of the other jigsaw puzzles mixed in at random.

The game is that the team members have to create strategies and banter with other teams assuming roles to get the pieces they need to complete their jigsaw puzzle. The first team to successfully collect all the pieces and solve the puzzle wins the game.

Before starting the game ensure that each group only has 4 to 5 members since it would give each of them to display their skills adequately. And then explain to them that other teams might have the pieces they need.

Divide groups into 4 or 5. Make sure that each group has the same number of members. Give each group a puzzle with mixed pieces. Explain that other teams may have the pieces they need.

You could keep it even more interesting by removing the completed puzzle image after 5 minutes or so. They would have to build the puzzle from their memories put together.

This is an amazing team building exercise that requires the team to work in a tight group. It requires them to design and deploy strategies together.

The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.

2. All Adrift

This game gives you an amazing opportunity to see how your team makes decisions. This team building exercise for work is all about giving hypothetical scenarios where making the correct decision ensure the team’s survival. A hypothetical scenario is set up, in which an accident strands the team in a body of water. The traditional story is that the boat catches fire and the team is forced to abandon it. The team is rationed only a few minutes to grab items. You can print out the list of items that they can pick up in those minutes, like first aid kit, canned food, drinking water, compass etc.

The team members are supposed to list down the items they would grab from 1 to 10 in the order of most important, individually. After that, they have to make another list as a team on which items are their top priorities and fill in something they all agree on.

This activity is for around 30 minutes and then these decisions are rated. This game helps your team members to realize that you can make the smarter decision as a team than on an individual level. It helps them to cooperate, to be open to see viewpoints of others and accept when they are wrong.

3. Blind Drawing

It is similar to charades but has come with a twist. It is a team building exercise for work that can be carried out in a group of two. It is inexpensive too. All you need is a marker and whiteboard. Pen and paper should also do the trick. The two participants are asked to sit back to back. Only one of them should have drawing materials. The other participant is given the picture. Make sure that the picture is not visible to the participant who is drawing it. 60 seconds are given to describe the picture with shapes or indirect descriptions. For example, if it is a picture of a bee you can say buzz or if it is a flower, you could say orange or spring. When the time ends, the teams can compare the drawings.

It is comical to see how the drawing has turned out to teach your employees the importance of clear communication between two people. This team building exercise for work also conveys how hard it is to give instructions too.

It takes two flints to make a fire.

4. Game of Possibilities

This is a remarkable team building exercise for work that you could carry out with random objects and gain a lot of fun.

For this game, you are supposed to present a number of objects to your employees.  In groups, each person is given an object. He or she is then asked to demonstrate an alternate use for the particular object. The other group members are asked to guess the object demonstrated. It is a great way to bring out the creativity and imagination of your employees. You can use objects ranging from scarfs to fry pan. It is a fun way to boost innovation and originality among your employees.

5. Who am I?

With telecommuting, not all employees are required to come into the office. Many companies have hired people from different parts of the world and they are given the opportunity to work from remote areas. This makes it very hard to cultivate a team culture among your employees. Want to learn from the most fabulous organizational culture examples ever?

This team building exercise for work enables your employees to know more about your team members.

You would need a computer and video conferencing software for this exercise. Have each of your employee take time to write down 10 important and unique characteristics about themselves and their families. If possible they could also gather a few pictures of their family and childhood too.

You could either present the facts to other team members and then talk about it, or keep it interesting ask the other team members to guess to which employee the facts belong to. This exercise helps the employees to know each other more than on a professional level, which is essential to form a bond.

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.

6. Work Jeopardy

This team building exercise for work can promote teamwork as well as creative and quick thinking. You can make this exercise as simple or as elaborate as you would want.

It is more like a quiz. Using post-it notes or note cards, write down different categories for the questions and place it on a poster board. Determine how many columns and rows you would like to have and the themes to go with it. Place the post-its accordingly. Each answer across the board should have a dollar value attached to it.

Divide your employees into teams with an equal number of players. The first team to go chooses a category, if they fail to come up with an answer in 30 seconds, the next team can answer.

7. What’s Different?

This is an interesting team building exercise for work that trains your team to have better observation and concentration levels. It also encourages them to have attention to the details. This exercise doesn’t demand any extra equipment and consumes very less time.

For this, divide the employees into two lines and have them stand to face the other line. Give them a minute to study and observe the people in the other line. Now one line is given time to change 10 random things about themselves. The other line is asked to turn around so that they cannot see the first line anymore. The changes made could be rolled sleeves, untied shoes, changing jewelry etc. When the time given to make the changes run out, instruct the other line to turn around and find the changes made. The team that found the maximum number of changes within the time limit wins.

In union there is strength

8. Lava Flow

Lava Flow, which is also called as River Crossing, is an excellent team building exercise for work. You would be dividing your employees into different groups. You would be treating the floor as a river of lava and each group has to cross this boiling river of hot lava by maneuvering and jumping on a different object. The number of objects that can be used should be limited so that the team has to move and share the objects to cross the river. If any of the team members touch the river, they have to start over. The first group to cross the river successfully with all its members still safe wins.

9. All The News

You want to encourage your employees’ creativity and want to get an inside look at the perception of your employees on your business?

Here is the team building exercise for that.

To do this exercise, you need just a few newspapers, some whiteboards, markers, pens, and paper. As for all the games, divide your employees into teams. Each team should be given a newspaper. Ask them to come up with different headlines in the newspaper that relates to what the company will be doing in the future.

After the time limit, these headline ideas are shared with the rest of the teams and get feedback. This would be like a mini-brainstorm session for you to set new objectives and goals for your business.

From fairy tales to epic movies, they teach you that unity is the strength. Growth, development, strength, and positivity comes from within. Only a tree that is strong from the inside is chosen by a carpenter to work with. As the strength increases, so does its durability. It is the same for your business too. Fortifying your core team would always be beneficial. Employee engagement ideas shouldn’t be reduced to an annual hogwash. Keep your customers close and your employees closer by regularly monitoring their engagement levels.  The availability of employee engagement software has made monitoring employee participation and engagement way easier.

But above all, let them know you care and make dedicated efforts to improve their confidence. They are the representation of your company in front of your customers and the whole world. No matter how much farther technology takes us, we still long for that humane touch and warmth in our transactions. Robotic voices do lack the flexibility and reliability of a human voice. Let your customers see that your business is confident as your employee. With these team-building exercises for work, you would be moulding a better group of employees who are knowledgeable and emotionally connected to your company’s goals. 

Indhuja Lal

Product Marketer at SurveySparrow

A dilettante bohemian soul mesmerized with the magic of words, sworn to be unpredictable, and spellbound with the simplicity of humanity...

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