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8 Team Building Exercises That Aren’t Completely Lame

BY Tami Brehse In Profitability On Oct 13, 2016 With 1 Comment

Team-building exercises help promote comradery, increase collaboration and facilitate communication among co-workers, all of which lead to a stronger “team” mentality—we’re all in this together.

But it’s no secret that many team-building exercises are groan-inducing (build a tower out of marshmallows and toothpicks!) and can be more tedious than they are productive.

The solution? Picking activities your staff will actually enjoy because they don't feel like work.

Here are eight unique things you can do as a team to not only bring your staff closer, but have a little fun in the process.  

  1. Escape Room

We’ve seen this fun mystery game popping up all over the country as of late. If you’re in a medium to large sized city, chances are there’s one nearby (for reference, here’s one close to our offices in Ogden, Utah).

Here’s how it works. Your team is placed in a locked room with a timer counting down from one hour. The room contains things like locked boxes, safes, and even doors, along with lots of other items—some of which are clues, others are distractions meant to throw you off.

It’s your team’s job to collaborate and piece together the clues, finding the way out of the room before the timer runs out. It’s a blast to feel like a real-life Sherlock Holmes, if only for an hour.

  1. Workplace Trivia

This one can be done from the comfort of your conference room.

Before the team gathers, come up with a list of trivia questions based on your office or your work. Here are a few ideas:

What color is the rug in the reception area?

What’s the name of the bakery at the end of our street?

How many clients are currently on our roster?

Where did we hold our holiday party two years ago?

How many ceiling tiles are there in the break room?

You can also incorporate inside jokes that only your staff would know about.

Then, have your staff break into teams of 3 or 4 and play a round of trivia to see who knows the company best. The winning team gets lunch on the office.  

  1. Habitat for Humanity Build

Habitat.jpgHabitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that helps struggling families become homeowners. The process is pretty amazing; the family (with the help of volunteers) builds their own house from the ground up.

Your team can take part in the building process—and no, you don’t need any construction experience. You’ll pick a Saturday or Sunday to commit to, likely with half of your team taking the morning shift, half the afternoon.

You’ll be tasked with things like hanging drywall, hammering nails, lifting walls and laying sod. For most people, it’s a totally unique and empowering experience to be part of building an actual house!

I’ve participated in multiple Habitat for Humanity builds and highly recommend it. Volunteers are often invited back for the ribbon cutting when the house is complete, and it’s an unforgettable feeling to see the family’s joy as they walk into their new home.  

  1. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a great game for employees to learn a little more about one another and make each other laugh in the process.

Have everyone gather in a circle. Each person must come up with three things to share about themselves with the group—two of which are true, one of which is a lie.

For example:

I ran a marathon last summer.

My uncle was an astronaut for NASA.

I have a pet iguana named Earl.

Go around the circle and have each person share his “facts,” then let the rest of the team vote on which one is the lie. The answers might surprise you!

  1. Cycle Party

A bicycle-themed twist on the typical office happy hour. Cycle Party (also called Bike Party, Pedal Party or other names depending on your city) is a bar on wheels, powered by your team’s collective pedaling.

The apparatus usually seats between 8 and 12 people, each of whom have a seat at the bar and pedals at their feet. A conductor provided by the bike company handles the steering and makes sure you don’t run into any oncoming traffic.

It's a great way to loosen up as a team and get a little exercise in the process. If you prefer to go sans-cocktails, make it a brainstorming meeting for an upcoming project. 

  1. Plane Crash

If you were stranded after a plane crash on a deserted island, which one item would you want to have with you?

Have your team break into small groups and pose this question. Instead of choosing just one thing, task them with selecting ten items from within the office that would be most strategic to have along when the plane goes down.

After ten or 15 minutes to strategize, have each group take turns sharing and explaining their picks with the rest of the office.

  1. Office Pictionary

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Everyone knows that boisterous client who wears big hats and brings her poodle with her to the office. But can you draw her?

Put a workplace spin on Pictionary by having your staff submit office-related people, places and things for their colleagues to draw. You might include office supplies, terms that are specific to your industry, or people your staff mutually knows.

Then, break into two teams, take turns pulling the ideas from a hat and get to drawing!

  1. Guess My Space (great for remote teams)

Just because you all work in different places doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the team-building action. In fact, it’s even more important to build a sense of community when you don’t physically see one another on a daily basis.

For this game, have each person submit a photo of their workspace or a room of their home, removing any identifying characteristics like pictures in frames. Then, have the team guess which space belongs to which team member. The person with the most correct guesses wins.

Does your team have any fun team-building exercises that won’t make the staff cringe? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Additional Resources

How can great managers motivate their employees? It can often feel like a puzzle--and that's exactly what it is. Watch career analyst Dan Pink examine the puzzle of motivation among teams, and why traditional rewards don't work as well as you might think.

 

 

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