We all know the tried-and-true methods for a successful business.

Hit your goals. Stick to the budget. Keep the customers happy.

What’s missing from this list? Having a team of employees that know how to work together, communicate, and solve problems. A great way to establish these initiatives within an organization is to take the time to play team-building games or exercises that build a strong bond along the way.

Why are team-building games important? 

No matter how big your team is, or how important the meeting is to hit your goals, playing a team-building game or exercise is a great way to bring your team together and create a strong bond.

Not only can team-building games facilitate stronger collaboration and work culture, but they can also be the stepping stones to helping members of the team develop their problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities in a new, fun, and exciting way. 

Also, when your team sees that their leader, manager, or department head has taken the time to plan a fun game for everyone to participate in, it can boost employee productivity, engagement, and morale. Team building games are also a great way for your team to improve communication skills that can then translate to their work relationship as they collaborate on projects or larger assignments. 

8 team-building games to try this year!

If you’re interested in playing a team-building game, but aren’t sure which one would be best, take a look at these 8 examples that could work no matter the size of your team or if you’re working in-person or remotely. 

1 A game of trivia

Whether it’s to break the ice before a meeting or to add some fun to the typical Monday morning grind, office trivia is a great way to get everyone involved with someone fun and engaging before a meeting starts. Whether you assign someone each week to come up with questions surrounding a specific category, or you sign up for Water Cooler Trivia and questions get sent to your inbox, playing trivia as a team is always a fun way to find out who amongst your team is actually a genius. Or who knows a lot about the British Royal Family. 

This is also a great one to choose because there’s no hard and fast limit to how many coworkers can join or how large of a group size you can play with, and it doesn’t take up a ton of the workday to submit answers. 

2 Two Truths and a Lie

As the name of this team building game suggests, Two Truths and a Lie is when each member of your team comes up with three facts about themselves, except one of them is a lie. The lie should be ordinary and realistic, and not too extravagant. If the meeting room or space permits, you can also get the team to stand in a circle to see if anyone makes a certain facial expression when lying.

Then, each person says their three facts, with the lie in random order, and others on your team have to guess the lie.

For example, if were playing this game, I may say something like:

  1. I’m an only child
  2. My favorite genre of music is country
  3. My Hogwarts house is Slytherin

Then my coworkers would have to guess which of the above is a lie. Those who know me well know that number two is a lie. This game should only take between 15-25 minutes. It’s also best to give the team a heads up that it’ll take place so time isn’t wasted waiting for someone to come up with a lie.

3 Shark Tank

Shark Tank, based on the popular television show with Mark Cuban, can also be a really fun team-building exercise. The premise is the same, you and your team will break out into small groups of two and present an idea to the rest of the team. This game can really drive the entrepreneurial spirit and drive collaboration amongst the team as coworkers work together to come up with something inventive. 

The “Sharks” in this case can be the department managers or any senior team members who will judge each pitch. The Sharks should be encouraged to ask questions as if they’re evaluating a real product or up-and-coming business. The team with the best pitch or inventive ideas wins. 

Depending on how large of a team you have, Shark Tank can be a longer game, so plan accordingly!

4 Online gaming session

If your team is mostly remote, an online gaming session could be an ideal way to build relationships. Simply ask the members of the team for their favorite online game and then have the team vote for which one everyone can participate in.

Be sure to choose a game that no one, in particular, is exceptionally skilled at, otherwise, it could seem unfair. Once a game is chosen, divide the group into teams of two with each person having a different skill set or level of experience.

5 Share your Bucket List

Looking for a way to really get to know your team? Get everyone to share their bucket list.

A bucket list consists of the experiences or achievements a person hopes to have or accomplish in their lifetime, and you never know what someone may reveal. When sharing, ensure the team members tell each other why each item is on the list so that there’s a better understanding of their unique motivations. And, if more than one person shares the same item on their list, it’s a great way to establish team bonding and shared interests.

For example, bucket list items can be something like:

  • Travel to Italy
  • Ride a zipline
  • Learn how to surf
  • Go skydiving
  • Publish a novel

This game should only take between 15-25 minutes. Like Two Truths and Lie, give the team a heads up to have a few items on their bucket list ready to share with the group.

6 Escape rooms

Another great team building exercise is to solve an escape room. These can be either virtual or in-person and are great for testing how well your team thinks under pressure, works together, and manages resources. Everyone should put away their phones and work together to understand and solve clues, utilize communication skills, act as one cohesive unit, and agree on the next steps needed to, well, escape.

Whether the goal of the room is to hunt for buried treasure, break out a famous person from prison, or solve a crime, hopefully members of the team can all play to their strengths and unite as a team using active listening and problem solving.

Depending on how many team members are playing, escape rooms can either go really fast or take about an hour to complete.

7 This is Better Than That

To play This is Better Than That with your team, assign someone the task of bringing in four random objects that are either completely different, or the same kind of objects that look different.

You’ll then want to split the team into groups and describe a scenario where each team or small group has to solve a problem using only the four objects. This scenario can be anything from “you’re stranded in the middle of a desert” or “you’re saving the world from an alien invasion”. Then, each group will rank the objects based on how useful they’ll be in that specific scenario and share their reasoning. 

This fun game helps the team to break down a scenario, or a problem, and figure out the best ways to solve it. It acts as a way to bridge the gap between what the team may be working on as a current work project or challenge, and the best way to solve the problems that may arise. 

8 Code of Conduct

Last but certainly not least is Code of Conduct, which is meant to set the tone for an event or bring the team together based on shared values. On a whiteboard, sticky notes, or a sheet of paper, the team should come together to list words of values like:

  • We bring solutions 
  • We are team players
  • We don’t shy away from asking the tough questions
  • We learn quickly and continuously

It’s important to go through each suggested idea or way of thinking and ask members of the group how they believe the team embodies this code of conduct or how they can improve on it in the future. Code of Conduct is ideal for the start of an event, new quarter or half, or workshop.

It’s your turn!

No matter which team-building game you choose to play, you never know what you’ll learn about a fellow team member, coworker, or even your manager. They may seem silly at first, but when done correctly, and when enough time is set aside to make them fun, they can help to break the ice, form friendships and inside jokes, share a laugh, and help the group work as one.