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 well at your new job or responsibility. 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.
Bonding Belt is a fantastic team-building game that encourages discussion and interactions between co-workers and peers. The game only lasts for 15 to 30 minutes, so you could play it before staff or group meetings!
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, but teams of more than 10 can get a little crazy.
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)
Team building should spark unity, not mutiny!
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!
As your business grows, it’s inevitable that you will have new team members. You also might 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. It’s a great game if you’re attempting to work towards a theme or problem you would like to address as a company.
You can use as little as 10 people to play this game and can go up to as many as you would like. Depending on how long you want to play, the duration can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Pens or pencils & paper
How well do you know your co-workers or employees?
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 have both teams greet each other. Then 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. Pro tip: make these open-ended questions to get interesting answers.
After the allotted 30 seconds is up, the person in the outer circle will ask the person in the inner circle the same question. 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, or if you run out of pre-approved questions.
Example questions: Where would you like to be in 5 years? What does success look like to you? What’s your greatest strength? What kind of management style do you like? (Try to ask questions that gradually work toward a theme you would like to address).
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. Communication is the foundation of any great company. To truly succeed, you have to know how to voice your thoughts and opinions but also understand how to listen and receive information.
The third game is called Being There. 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.
You can use as many people as you want for this game, as long as there is an equal number on each team. There’s no limit on the number of people who can play. The game can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on how many people play and how many questions you ask.
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)
Communication and memory are key in the workplace.
Start Being There by reading off the questions to both teams and 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.
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 to have an issue that needs solving, 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? Is there a particular game that your company or organization really likes to play?