The Best Team-Building Games to Play at Work

by Sabrina Son on Jun 17, 2017 5:00:00 AM

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Is it fair to say your company is made up of many strong teams consisting of employees who have each other's backs? If not, it's time to make some changes.

That's because organizations can only make it to the next level when employees work hard together and give each other as much support as they possibly can.

Remember, coworkers are the number one thing employees like about their jobs, a fact we uncovered in our previous research. But that doesn't mean that you can stick two strangers in the same office and expect they'll get along swimmingly right out of the gate. 

It takes time to forge and nurture strong employee relationships. Unfortunately, our 2017 Employee Engagement Report revealed that a majority of organizations appear to understate the importance of team building: A mere 24% of today's professionals feel connected to their peers.

When workers aren't connected to their peers, how can you expect your team to come up with game-changing ideas? And how can you expect your employees to volunteer to help one another out when it's needed?

The good news is that by making team-building initiatives a top priority, your organization can help increase the chances your employees develop solid relationships with each other. As a result, employee engagement, morale, and happiness improve — making your team more productive and your bottom line healthier.

The even better news? Team-building activities don’t have to cost anything or take up too much time. And the benefits — better communication, fewer barriers, and more camaraderie — speak for themselves.

The next time you have a Friday afternoon meeting, try incorporating one of these three awesome team-building games.

PS:  The Definitive Guide to Employee Engagement

 

01. Mine field

Can you navigate a mine field? Not a real one, of course.

This is a great and simple game for smaller teams. Here's how it works: 

  1. Grab a bunch of colored plastic discs (i.e., "mines") and lay them down on the floor or the ground in a grid.
  2. Have one person (usually a manager) determine the successful way to get across the mine field without stepping on an active mine.
  3. Each member of the team then takes turns trying to navigate the mine field. They can continue moving forward until they step on a "mine." 
  4. Whenever someone steps on the wrong disc, the judge will notify them that they made the wrong move.
  5. That person then returns to the end of the line.
  6. The next person in line makes their own attempt at navigating the mine field, building off the previous' persons progress (or lack thereof).
  7. The process is repeated until someone makes it across the mine field successfully.

 

This game serves as a great team-building experience because each employee is forced to communicate with one another to help figure out the correct path forward.

Here's a demonstration of the game courtesy of the San Diego chapter of the Girl Scouts:

 

 

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02. Snakes

What better way is there to get your employees to trust one another than by blindfolding them and let them guide each other around?

Snakes is a great game that's sure to provide lots of laughs. Here's how to play:

  • In a large room or on an open field, break your group into teams of six to eight people.
  • Have each team get into single-file lines.
  • The person at the end of the line doesn't have to put a blindfold on, but everyone else does.
  • Once everyone is blindfolded, have a manager put buckets on the floor or ground in random locations, one for each team.
  • Then have the manager scatter various small objects — like balls, notebooks, and crayon boxes — across the floor or ground.
  • Next, have each person in the single-file line put their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them.
  • The person who's not blindfolded then proceeds to lead the "snake" in front of them to the nearest object. When the snake needs to move to the right, the non-blindfolded person will tap whoever's in front of them on the right shoulder. That person will then tap whoever's in front of them on the right shoulder. And so on.
  • Once the snake is steered toward an object, the non-blindfolded person gently pulls the shoulders of whoever's in front of them backwards to indicate it's time to stop. This begins another chain reaction until the blindfolded person leading the snake stops and starts searching for the object that's nearby.
  • After the object is found, the non-blindfolded person then steers the snake to the bucket in a similar fashion. 
  • Once the object is placed in the bucket, the person at the front of the line moves to the back and becomes the non-blindfolded person while the previous "captain" puts their own blindfold on.
  • The manager then moves the objects and buckets around.
  • The process is repeated until the first non-blindfolded person makes their way to the back of the line once more.
  • The first team to move through their entire snake wins.

 

Snakes is a great trust-building activity that requires each member of the team to work in unison to reach a common objective. These skills translate extremely well to work settings.

Check out how the game is played in this video by Paradigm Shift:

 

 

03. Balloon race

How patient are your workers? Schedule some time for a balloon race and you'll find out soon enough.

Here's how the game works:

  • Break your group into teams of five to eight people.
  • Make sure you have a bunch of inflated balloons on hand.
  • Have each team form single-file lines, placing an inflated balloon between each person using everyone's stomachs and backs to hold them in place.
  • On the manager's command, the teams will then proceed to attempt to make it to a predetermined finish line.
  • Each balloon must be held firmly in place as the teams move closer to the finish line. In the event a balloon falls out of place, the team must return to the starting line.
  • The first team to make it to the finish line without dropping a balloon wins.

Not only does this team-building activity help team members build strong bonds with one another, it also teaches participants the importance of moving to the rhythm of the rest of the team.

Watch the game in action in this video courtesy of TeamActivities:

 

 

 

Team-building games can enhance collaboration and morale in your organizational culture, and there’s no reason not to have a little fun in the office from time to time.

So schedule a team-building session sooner than later. You won't regret it. 

 

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This post was written by Sabrina Son

A Seattle native, Sabrina loves her morning (or anytime) coffee, spending her weekends on the mountains, and of course, the famous rain.

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