Nobody likes to be the new guy — whether it’s at work, at school, or during extracurricular activities. You have the anxiousness of not knowing what to expect, the nervousness of wondering if you will get along with everyone, and also, you want to make sure you do a good job at whatever it is you’re doing. Being new carries tons of pressure!
To make newcomers feel welcome, many employers plan group activities to not only introduce people but also to get new employees acclimated to a group. However, that’s not the only time these types of activities might be useful!
Have you ever worked for a company where the spirit is low and morale is a little down? Perhaps the company has had a rough month or two and trust and communication just isn’t quite where it should be. Don’t worry, there are team activities catered to just those types of issues!
To address workplace communication and morale, try one of these fun team-building projects to lift spirits and make introductions.
Working Together as One: Physical Team-Building Activity
Have you heard of “Bonding Belt?” It’s a great team-building game to encourage discussion and interactions between co-workers and peers, and since a game only lasts for 15 to 30 minutes, you could also play it to start meetings off right!
The goal of Bonding Belt is to get from point A to point B, as a team and while “stuck” together, as quickly as possible. For the best results, get at least 6 people involved in this game (you can play with up to 60).
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A large, clear space to allow teams to move between two points
- A roll of cling film per team (or some rope, a band, or anything to keep everyone together)
- A timer
Each team is banded together with film or tape to ensure they are united in movements. To start, give the teams 5 minutes to discuss their strategies (at the end of that 5 minutes, they should be banded and ready to go). Next, make sure the start and finish lines are clearly labeled and both teams are aware of the starting and ending point.
Then, let your teams run, and keep track of their end times. Once all teams are aware of their finishing times, give them an opportunity to re-strategize their next attempt in order to beat their previous score. Repeat this process as many times as you’d like until the teams achieve their best times!
Getting to Know Other Employees: Mental Team-Building Activity
As your business expands and grows, it’s inevitable that you will have new team members and possibly have to form new teams as people move to different positions and job responsibilities change. This game is perfect for promoting communication, listening skills, and motivation.
This game is called “Circle of Questions,” and its name pretty much says it all.
You can use as little as 10 people to play this game, and the duration can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A whistle
- A stopwatch
- Pens or pencils and paper
Begin “Circle of Questions” by splitting the group into two equal teams (if there is an odd number, then either find another participant or let someone sit out until the next game). Ask one team to stand in a circle facing outwards, then ask the second team to create a slightly larger circle around the first one facing inwards.
First things first: have both teams greet each other. Then, explain that the people in the inner circle will ask a question (of a manager’s choice) of the person opposite them in the outer circle. That employee will have 30 seconds to give an answer before the whistle blows. Hint: make these open-ended questions and remember that there is no right or wrong answer.
After the allotted 30 seconds is up, the person in the outer circle will ask the person in the inner circle the same question with the same rules applying. After both people have asked each other a question, then the inner circle will move clockwise one place and the outer circle will move counter clockwise one space to find a new partner.
Expect some confusion at first, but after several tries you will get the hang of it. Repeat this exercise by asking more questions, each time alternating which circle gets to ask the question first. Stop the exercise when everyone has asked and answered a question, or whenever you get to an appropriate stopping point.
Example questions: Where would you like to be in 5 years? What does success look like to you? What’s your greatest strength? (Try to ask questions that gradually work toward a theme you would like to address).
Improving Communication Channels: Mental Team-Building Activity
Anyone can have a team, but you can’t have a great team without communication. Effective communication is the foundation to keep any relationship (personal or professional) succeeding and thriving. To truly succeed, you have to know how to voice your thoughts and opinions but also understand how to listen and receive information to achieve the greater good for a company.
The third game is called “Being There,” and it not only encourages communication and memory but also promotes attention to detail.
You can use as many people as you want for this game, as long as there is an equal number on each team, and there’s no limit on the number of people who can play.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A large open space
- Pens and pencils or paper
- A list of 5-20 questions (about the work/meeting environment OR about the participants themselves)
Start “Being There” by reading off the questions to both teams, having them write down their answers on a sheet of paper. To make it competitive, you can have teams exchange answer sheets and score each other while the answers are being read. The winning team will receive a prize.
This game will help your team address distractions as well as deal with attention span. How aware are you of the world and working environment you are living in? How does “being there” and “being present” affect a relationship or career? This game gives any team a playful introduction into a very important topic.
Example questions: What color are the floor tiles in the kitchen? How many credit cards are in your wallet or purse? How many people work in your department?
No matter what kind of team (or topic) you are trying to address, there is an activity out there catered just for it. Your company is not the first one have an issue that needs addressing, and it certainly won’t be the last! Team building exercises are not only good tools for building a great workforce, but also for creating a fluid work environment. When your workers are comfortable with themselves (and others around them) to do the best work they can do, then your company will advance to new heights!
Which team-building exercises do you find the most helpful? Would you play any of these games at your workplace?