Team bonding activities are a great way for your team members to really get to know each other. Sure, they can drive some morale-boosting office friendships, but the main goal of these exercises is to teach your team how to better communicate and problem-solve together. Below are 21 team bonding ideas you can try – some in-person, some online, and some either or both.
- 6 team bonding ideas that work for in-person teams
- 15 team bonding ideas for virtual and in-person teams
- Why are team bonding activities important?
6 team bonding ideas that work for in-person teams
Change up your typical office routine and build team collaboration with activities that tackle it in a new, creative way. Below are six team-building games you can play to keep your employees engaged and motivated in the office.
1 Untie the human knot
Untie the human knot is a classic team-building activity that works best with seven to 20 players. To play this problem-solving game, first, gather everyone into a small, tight-knit circle. Then, have everyone lock hands with someone who isn’t directly next to them. The goal is to see if everyone can untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands. The more people playing, the tougher it’ll be to win.
After a few rounds, you can test the group by adding a time limit or doing a silent round. This team-building exercise is a great way to have team members work together to solve an issue. They can then bring their new problem-solving skills back to their desks.
2 Back-to-back drawing
Similar to Pictionary, back-to-back drawing is a 30-minute game that can improve team communication. To play this game, which can be played with a smaller or a larger group, all you need are paper and pencils. You should also print some photos of anything at all – a dolphin leaping from the ocean, the Eiffel Tower, you name it.
To start, divide your team members into groups of two. Each person will sit back-to-back, one person with the photo and the other with pencil and paper. The person with the pencil and paper will then draw something based on what the other person says. That person can’t say what’s in the picture – they have to help the other person get there without saying it. After a few minutes, see which group did the best and crown them the winner.
Reap the benefits of team bonding
Improve communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills by building trust with team bonding activities on a collaborative meeting agenda. Try using a tool like Fellow today!
3 Egg drop
The egg drop game is a great option if you’re looking for a fun team-building activity for problem-solving and collaboration. All you need is a carton of eggs and basic construction materials such as newspaper, cotton balls, rubber bands, and more. Ideally, you’ll play this game outside since, you know, it involves eggs breaking.
To play this game, divide your team into small groups and set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes. Within this time frame, each group must build a carrier to keep the egg safe when they later drop it several feet. The winning group has the last egg standing as you keep increasing the drop height.
4 Escape room
Ditch the office and find an escape room in your area – it’ll be great for communication and problem-solving. You won’t need to bring anything besides yourself, your team, and a way to pay for the escape room. There might be a limit on how many people can be in the room at once, so split your team into a few groups. If they can successfully find their way out of a room full of confusing riddles, they can likely solve lots of problems on the job.
5 Scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great way to get team members – both new and experienced – to chat with each other and work together. It’s also a surefire way to get new hires learning about your organization. Your whole team can join – there’s no minimum or maximum number of players.
To set up your scavenger hunt, divide your team members into smaller groups. Then, set them out to find certain facts about the organization or actual tangible items. For new employees, you can ask questions such as, “Who founded our organization?” or “How many people work in this office?” Whichever team finishes first wins the scavenger hunt.
6 Board games
Board games are great to stash in your conference room or office space whether they’re for small or huge groups. They take up virtually no space, they’re often pretty easy to learn, and lots of people love them. Some board games are super collaborative, whereas others require more critical thinking – either way, they help with key work skills. Plus, they can help your team clear their head and unwind for a bit before getting back to work.
15 team bonding ideas that work for both virtual and in-person teams
Many great team-building activities are fun and effective both in person and virtually. The 15 games below are some practical, fun, and effective examples.
- Count to 20
- Compliment circle
- Campfire stories
- Show and tell
- Two truths and a lie
- Back of the napkin
- Magazine cover
- Personality tests
- Brainstorming session
- Investor pitch
- Odd combinations
- Lunch and learn
- Hosting a contest
- Guess the object
See how well your team knows their history – whether general history, company history, or something else altogether. Trivia is a fun way to put your team to the test both in-person and online. Anyone can join in, though some trivia games go best with teams of five or six people. Trivia can build knowledge or simply get your team members to have some fun together instead of just being colleagues.
A great DIY trivia idea is to pick a subject and have everyone send you photos for it. For instance, your subject can be “Name that baby,” and each team member can submit their baby photos. Or if you want to stick to company history, you can use photos of different people from your organization. Once you have everything together, start a video call or get everyone into a conference room. Whichever person or team gets the most questions right wins the game.
2 Count to 20
Count to 20; sounds easy, right? Well, not quite. This game is all about perfecting your group dynamic – but through limited communication. What a twist!
To play this game, everyone in your group – you can play with as few or as many people as you want – should sit in a circle or together on a video call. The goal of the game is to count from one to 20. However, the trick is that anyone can start the count or say a number at any time. If more than one person says a number simultaneously, the game starts over. Collaboration is key to winning here.
3 Compliment circle
A compliment circle is an excellent way to lift your team’s spirits and give them the chance to recognize one another. It’s a great way to remind everyone that positive peer feedback can be great for everyone’s work.
For this team-bonding idea, have your whole team stand in a circle. Or, if you’re playing virtually, draw a circle and write everyone’s name on it. Each team member should compliment the person to their left. This gives everyone a chance to be in the spotlight, and it’s a great introduction for new hires.
The compliments in this game can be as simple as, “Jan, I loved the idea you pitched at the meeting this week.” Or they can be as specific as “Bob, you really do a great job of keeping our files organized with your color-coded system.”
4 Campfire stories
Campfire stories don’t necessarily need to happen over a campfire. Instead, you can tell them in a hybrid meeting, entirely in-person, or fully online. They can help your team members relate to each other’s experiences, and that’s how you build the trust key to great teams.
For this team-building activity, which is great for six to 20 people, you should first think of a few “trigger” phrases. These phrases can be anything from “first day” to “most challenging experience.” After you’ve written your trigger words on sticky notes, divide a whiteboard in half and place all the sticky notes on one side.
Once that’s done, you’ll have each team member choose a sticky note and tell a story based on the trigger word. As they share their experience, you should ask other team members to write down trigger phrases if they have similar stories. After all the trigger words are used, you’ll have a wall filled with connected stories from your team members.
5 Show and tell
You can spin this childhood classic into an office activity if you make your theme “projects.” Each team member will discuss a project they’re working on and open the floor to other team members. Anyone at all can give feedback, offer suggestions, or ask questions about the project. The result is team-wide collaboration and new ideas that could help someone have a breakthrough.
6 Two truths and a lie
Two truths and a lie doesn’t require any materials. All you need is a group of team members – whether a small or large group – willing to share! To play, each person in the group will state three things about themselves. One of the three things will be a lie. Each person will then guess which thing is a lie. There’s no winner here – the main goal here is simply bonding, the sort that lays the bedrock for trust.
7 Back of the napkin
Back of the napkin is a quick, 10-to-20-minute game that promotes teamwork and critical thinking. To play, you’ll need at least six players since the game requires at least two groups of three.
To start, come up with a bunch of open-ended problems. These problems could relate to your organization or anything at all – even world peace is an open-ended problem here. After coming up with a few problems, give each person a napkin. If your team is remote, have everyone use whatever regular paper they keep at home instead.
Each group will draw a solution to the problem. Not write – draw. That means charts, graphs, and regular ol’ pictures are all on the table. Choose whichever solution you like best as the winner.
8 Magazine cover
Think of your favorite magazine cover. In this game, you’ll create a similar cover, but “office edition.” So instead of having a mega-celebrity like Rihanna be your cover star, you’re highlighting a big team achievement, whether real or fake. You’ll get everyone’s creative juices flowing and encourage them to think both while dreaming up future successes.
To come up with their cover, each team should write a headline, find images, and write quotes. They’ll have an hour to complete the task. Whoever comes up with your favorite magazine cover wins.
The magazine cover game has no maximum or minimum number of players to participate. If you’re playing online, make sure each member has access to any software that could help them create their cover.
9 Personality tests
A personality test is an easy activity everyone can do on their computer from the comfort of their own home (or desk at your office). Each team member’s results can tell you how they work and hint at their strengths and weaknesses. Leave some time for your whole team to discuss everything they learn about themselves and each other.
To make personality tests into a team bonding idea, find an online personality test and ask everyone to take it. Then, ask everyone to share their results. You could even go a step further and have everyone draw or describe their ideal office space based on their personality.
10 Brainstorming session
A brainstorming session can be a great team bonding idea. It can get your team thinking about how to get everyone toward the finish line. You might come up with great new ideas for a new campaign or ways to cut down your production time. For ultimate bonding, encourage everyone to compliment each other when the light bulb goes off in their head. You’ll build trust and creativity all at once.
Brainstorming for team bonding is best if your team members know well in advance so they can think of their own ideas. For example, if you have a meeting every Monday, tell everyone you want to brainstorm next week to give everyone enough time. You should then ask each member to come up with at least three ideas to bring to the table.
11 Investor pitch
This team bonding idea is exactly like Shark Tank – well, not really. Your team will work in small groups and come up with their idea and pitch it in just 90 minutes. That’s a lot different than the years of prep most of the contestants bring to the table! You can play this game with up to 24 team members and groups of two to six people.
The Shark Tank game can promote creativity and collaboration. It’s also just a fun way for players to open up and relax during a stressful workweek. And maybe you can actually use some of the ideas they come up with!
12 Odd combinations
Think about everyone on your team, and you’ll notice everyone is pretty different. Some team members might be quiet and reserved, while others might love being the center of attention. For this activity, you’ll pair these opposite personalities without telling them. You can pair any two people with opposite personalities – it’s not just about loud and quiet. And you can play this game with your whole team.
First, think of things that are different but weirdly work together. The food world is full of examples: peanut butter and jelly, eggs and bacon, coffee and creamer. Next, you’ll tape one item to each team member’s back. Then, they’ll go around the room and ask yes or no questions to guess their item. (If you’re going virtual, you can use breakout rooms for the Q&A.) Once they figure it out, they’ll need to find their other half. To figure out who’s what, communication will be key.
13 Lunch and learn
Lunch and learn is basically the “show and tell” game but with food. It’s a great way to learn new things about your teammates you never knew before. It basically involves someone giving a little talk about a non-work hobby over team lunch. It’s best to get everyone in the room (or on the Zoom) for this one.
For example, maybe one of your team members is an incredible pianist or loves woodworking on the weekends. Discussing their hidden talents can help them build their presentation skills – and, while they’re at it, make some friends.
14 Hosting a contest
Hosting a contest is a great way to build some healthy competition – and friendship, and thus trust – among your team members. To do it right, tell all your team members ahead of time, and don’t make it about work. That means your contest should be, say, a bake-off, not a “who can do this work task fastest?” kind of deal. Nobody has to participate, but everyone is welcome to judge. And anyone who does enter the content should have plenty of time to prepare.
15 Guess the object
If your team is having a tough week, the “guess the object” game can be a super quick way to lighten the mood. Your team members will look around for an object, and then, they’ll have to demonstrate it – think charades. Everyone else will guess the object until someone gets it right. There is no limit on how many people can play, and there’s also no limit to how far your team can take their creativity here. They can hold on to that creativity when they get back to work.
Why are team bonding activities important?
Team bonding activities matter because a team of highly skilled members who trust one another can do better work. These activities can help team members open up and feel comfortable in their work environment. They’re especially great for building communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. And they’re just plain fun – a workplace that’s boring all the time is no good for keeping employees engaged.
Add team bonding ideas to your meetings with Fellow
Before you jump right into your next meeting, you might want to set aside 10 minutes for a quick team-bonding exercise. But you don’t want to surprise everyone with that – you should let them know in advance through a meeting agenda. With Fellow, you can collaborate on meeting agendas and share them with everyone so they know team bonding time is on the way. This way, everyone can show up at the meeting excited for a fun, meaningful change.