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Team Building Activities That Motivate Employees

5 Team Building Activities That Motivate Employees

Have you ever worked for a company where the spirit is low and morale is a little down? Even the best companies experience slow moments where employees start to lose a little momentum. Whether the business has had a rough month or communication just isn’t quite where it should be, there are plenty of team building activities that can help revitalize your group!

With only 15% of the world’s one billion workers feeling engaged at work, it’s safe to say that investing in team building activities is as beneficial for the employees as it is for the business owners. In fact, a Gallup study discovered that disengaged employees cost the United States anywhere between $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity each year – ouch!

To improve workplace morale and work on building trust, be sure to try some of these fun office team building games to lift spirits and make introductions (and if all else fails, try giving out some trendy promotional products!)

Communication Team Building Activities

One of the most important components to any team is healthy communication skills. Whether you’re a nurse or a graphic designer, clear and concise communication is can prevent a lot of work-related mishaps. We’re no stranger to communication team building activities, so we’ve selected our number one go-to exercise to share with you!

Blind Drawing Game

Blind Drawing is the perfect team building activity for a group that is in desperate need of a good laugh! It requires little-to-no thinking while still allowing you to better understand the people you work with. When you don’t know someone very well, this is one of the easiest ways to break the ice!

You’ll start by selecting a designated person who will stand at the front of the room and describe what they’re seeing in a picture. From there, divide the rest of your team into small groups and provide each person with paper and a clipboard. The individual holding the picture will describe what they’re seeing in the photo while the drawers will do their darndest to draw what is being described to them. Just try not to laugh when you realize the extent of your coworkers’ poor drawing skills!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:
One or more pictures
Pens or markers
Sheets of paper
 Clipboards

Blind Drawing | Team Building Activities

Once everyone has finished their drawing, you’ll showcase your work of art to the room! The winner is selected by each group voting for the picture that is the closest match to the original photo. This activity will not only encourage listening skills, but it will also be a great resource for your team to learn how their coworker’s brain works!

Team Building Icebreakers for Small Groups

Maybe your team doesn’t have hundreds of people to fill a conference center, and that’s okay! Just because you don’t have 500 employees doesn’t mean it isn’t important to take some time away from their desks. If you’re searching for team building activities on a budget, we’ve got the one for you!

Circle of Questions Exercise

As your business grows, it’s inevitable that you will have new team members. You also might have to form new teams as people move to different positions and job responsibilities change. This game is perfect for promoting communication, listening skills, building trust, and motivation!

Circle of Questions is 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:
Paper
A stopwatch
Pens or pencils
A whistle
An open space

Activity #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin Circle of Questions by dividing 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.

Once both teams have greeted each other, 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. Stop the exercise when everyone has asked and answered a question!

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).

Teamwork in the Workplace

It’s something we learned about in grade school, yet we all still struggle with from time to time: teamwork. Maybe your team is full of creative geniuses who are find it hard to admit when they’re wrong, or perhaps everyone easily gets stuck in their own bubble. Either way, it’s easy to find team building activities to do in the office that will strengthen your teamwork skills. Here’s our number one activity for teamwork in the workplace!

Sneak Peek Activity

One of the most critical pieces of the workplace puzzle is teamwork. Without it, there’s a large decrease in overall efficiency. In fact, around 39% of employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough! If you don’t want to be a part of such a staggering statistic, it’s time to round up the masses and plan a collaborative teambuilding activity before it’s too late.

For this fun game, you’ll divide the group into two teams. Group A will be responsible for building a Lego structure, and group B will be tasked with the recreation of the design!

Once Group A finishes their construction in a separate room, one player from each team can look at the structure for 10 seconds. Afterwards, they must return to their team and provide a 25 second instruction on how to recreate what they saw in 1 minute. After the minute is up, another player can take a “sneak peek” at the Lego constructions and repeat the process. The game continues until everyone on each team has had a chance to look at the structure, and whoever completes the structure first is crowned the winner!

Here’s what you’ll need:
Several sets of Legos
A separation room for Lego construction

Sneak Peek | Team Building Activities

 Once Group A finishes their construction in a separate room, one player from each team can look at the structure for 10 seconds. Afterwards, they must return to their team and provide a 25 second instruction on how to recreate what they saw in 1 minute. After the minute is up, another player can take a “sneak peek” at the Lego constructions and repeat the process. The game continues until everyone on each team has had a chance to look at the structure, and whoever completes the task first is crowned the winner!

The goal of this team building activity is for all participants to experience firsthand the value of teamwork. When effective communication aligns with collaboration, the end result is a thriving workplace for all!

 

Attention to Detail Icebreakers

While many of us wish we could focus on one project at a time, the reality is we often have to juggle many at once. This can be an acquired skill, and during the learning process it isn’t unusual for your coworkers to miss small details when they’ve got a lot on their plate. It’s important to flex your creative muscles, so take a look at our favorite attention to detail icebreaker!

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Whether your team is full of tech addicts or writers who are destined to be the next Edgar Allan Poe, the foundation of their success will always start with collaboration. To be a true listener is to be an efficient worker, and it’s essential to always strive for improvement in the workplace!

If your office is full of foodies who could never turn down a sandwich, this next game is for you! You’ll start by having everyone write down detailed instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While this might sound easy, EVERY step will need to be accounted for! From taking the lid off the peanut butter jar to putting it back on again, it’s important for each set of instructions to be as detailed as possible.

Here’s what you’ll need:
A loaf of bread
One jar of peanut butter
One jar of jelly
Paper plates
Plastic silverware

Peanut Butter Jelly Time | Team Building Activities

 

From there, everyone’s papers will be collected and it’s time to select a volunteer sandwich maker! This person will head over to a sandwich making station as a set of instructions is randomly pulled from the pile. The writer of that recipe will come forward to read their instructions out loud as the sandwich maker follows the instructions exactly as they are written. As soon as they slip up, you’ll select a new sandwich maker and new set of instructions.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds! For example, did the instructions say to put the peanut butter onto the bread but the sandwich maker used a knife to do so? Did they take the bread out of the bag instead of untwisting the tie? If so, they’re automatically out! You’ll keep the process going until someone follows the instructions exactly. This is a great way to visualize how easy it is to miscommunicate or misunderstand basic instructions, and encourages your team to communicate effectively.

Problem Solving in the Workplace

Finding fun team building activities for adults in the workplace isn’t always easy. You want to choose an option that enhances your team’s problem solving skills while still having fun! Sometimes, subtle is best, and that’s why we chose this favorite as our go-to team building exercise for problem solving.

Marble Mania Game

No matter your profession, problem solving is a critical skill that is needed in all industries. While the phrase “the show must go wrong” is traditionally used in show business, it’s also true for the workplace! Inevitably, your team will encounter a roadblock at one time or another. It’s always worth preparing for these stressful times with unique team building activities!

One of our favorites at Quality Logo Products® is Marble Mania! You’ll start by providing each participant with a cardboard paper towel roll that has been cut in half, and placing a bucket on the ground. Then, one person will start the game by dropping the marble into one of the paper towel tubes, with the remaining team members placing their rolls strategically in order to guide the marble into the bucket!

Here’s what you’ll need:
Several empty paper towel rolls, cut in half
A bucket
A marble

Marble Mania | Team Building Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depending on the size of your team, this activity could last anywhere between 5 or 10 minutes. Feel free to repeat the game by moving the bucket once your first round is up to make things harder. Want to kick it up a notch? Try placing the bucket in a higher up location like a desk or cabinet. Your team will be solving complex problems in no time!

Are team building exercises effective?

Team building activities are scientifically proven to have positive effects in the workplace. Specifically, teams who are looking to improve specific teamwork breakdowns are known to see the most benefit from team building games or activities. Of course, the overall impact of each exercise depends highly on your team and their personality traits, but the only way to know for sure is to try. There’s a team building exercise out there for everyone!

Why team building works

Team building activities work because of their ability to help participants get out of their comfort zones. Additionally, these exercises open the doors to improved communication between employees. For team members who may have never been introduced, team building games provide a platform to break the ice in an unintimidating way. The next time a colleague needs to meet with someone in a different department, they’ll feel less awkward about it since they shared a common experience.

Now don’t be fooled! At Quality Logo Products®, we take our own advice. Take a peek into some of our recent team building activities that range from Office Olympics to hosting a company-wide volunteer day!

 

 

Which morale building activities 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?

Sources:

Clifton, J. (2017, June 13). The World’s Broken Workplace. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from http://news.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/212045/world-broken-workplace.aspxs

Sorenson, S., & Garman, K. (2013, June 11). How to Tackle U.S. Employees’ Stagnating Engagement. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from http://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/162953/tackle-employees-stagnating-engagement.aspx



Candice Jones

Candice is on the web team at QLP. She's extremely family-oriented and enjoys spending all of her free time with her daughter and family. She LOVES to shop and just experience life again through her daughter's eyes. There's nothing better than that in the world for her! You can also connect with Candice on Google+

Comments

  1. Amy Swanson

    These are great suggestions, Candice! Another popular one is “3 Truths and a Lie” where you write down three things about yourself that are true (the more outrageous, the better) and one thing you make up. You read them aloud and people have to guess which one is the lie. It’s a great ice-breaker and you learn more about your coworkers as a result, without even realizing it.

    • Candice J.

      That is a fun one! I know I’ve played it several times before at new jobs and it was always a great way to encourage conversation without even knowing it. The only team building game I hate is the trust game where you fall back and put your trust that the person behind you is going to catch you. That is a horrible game, i don’t think i’ll ever like it.

  2. Jen

    This was such a neat blog Candice! I don’t think I’ve ever had to play any of these games when starting a new job, but I have played them in school and as a summer camp counselor. I enjoyed learning about my fellow classmates and volunteers. These games really do bring people closer together and break the ice.

    I really like Amy’s 3 truths and a lie game suggestion too, it’s so much fun!

    Nice job Candice, we should try a couple of these games here at QLP this summer. 🙂

    • Candice J.

      I’m sure that would be a great experience! It might even be more fun than TriJenga….maybe…. TriJenga is pretty intense.

  3. Jaimie Smith

    Candice this was really cool.
    I like the third game about the work environment around you. That would be fun to play.
    Its very similar to a game I have seen at many Bridal showers. A person asks everyone questions about the bride halfway through the shower, while the bride sits outside somewhere where noone can see her. Some questions are about her in general, and some are things like what is she wearing and stuff) Its a real interesting game.
    Amy’s game 3 truths and a lie is pretty fun. I have played that before at different events and occasions.
    AWESOME post Candice.

    • Candice J.

      I think a lot of these games could be used as ice breakers and conversation starters at a lot of different events. Bridal showers, baby showers, etc. Thanks for commenting!

      • Vivian Monye

        Thank you Candice for a lovely post. I am actually researching on games for an outdoor employee end-of-year hang out and II think this would be great!

  4. Mandy Kilinskis

    I feel like the Circle of Questions game would stress me out. I have less than 30 seconds to say where I want to be in five years? “Buh…uh…alive?!”

    But games like these are definitely a great way to break the ice and build up team morale! Great suggestions, Candice!

    • Candice J.

      I think Alive is a great response to that question! I feel like if you don’t think that’s great answer, there might be bigger problems that need addressing. I think the Circle Of Questions game would stress me out too. Turning clockwise, counter clockwise, speak, don’t speak, I feel like I’m playing some weird version of adult simon says. Haha, thanks for commenting!

  5. Rachel

    Interesting stuff, Candice! I’d say another great team-building exercise is a bags tournament. 😉 Worked for us, anyway!

    Thanks for the team-building ideas!

    • Candice J.

      You’re right! Our 2012 unfinished tournament was pretty awesome too! Even though my team only played once it was A LOT of fun considering I’ve never played before. I think there are a lot of things/games that wouldn’t normally work for most companies but works for us. I can’t count how many times a day i say, “Only at QLP…” QLP is AWESOME! Thanks for commenting!

  6. Morgan

    I LOVE these ideas! I don’t work for anyone nor do I have employees (yet) but I can tell you that I haven’t learned how NOT to introduce new people to a company from working for a variety of different employers. I absolutely love these tips. It always sucks to be the new gal. But actually putting together a team building exercise that actually brings people together is a great opportunity.

    I think having some group outings outside of the office can be a great way to bond.

    Thanks for the tips!!

    • Morgan

      Er, I HAVE learned how NOT to introduce new people to a company from working for a variety of different employers. 🙂

    • Candice J.

      First off Morgan, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Secondly, I knew what you meant, I think my eyes automatically learn how to correct typos as I am reading. But I agree with your statement completely. I’ve had various different employers do horrible jobs when trying to introduce and integrate new employees into a company. Although, I do realize it must be tough for these companies to to create these activities and there is going to be trial and error along the way. Group outings outside of work are a great way to bond and get to know more about your co-workers. Especially if its a company event and family is allowed to attend. People tend to feel the most comfortable and open up when they are around people they love!

  7. Eric

    Arcade basketball. All the way.

    Still holding out for some Air Hockey up in here… 🙂

    • Candice J.

      Of course how could i forget arcade basketball?!? I only have to listen to people play EVERYDAY I’m here since we got it working. Although Air Hockey would be pretty awesome…not sure if we have any place to put it. I’m sure we will try tho.!

  8. team building speaker

    Candice –

    Thanks so much for the fun ideas you shared…
    I especially like the “bonding” physical activity, as it sounds much like a “welded ankles” game that I have used a number of times!

  9. Peni (Ben) Teo

    Candice,
    Thank you for the great tips. I was looking for some fun games and activities to get to know my new staff and faculty at a new high school I am being assigned as their new Principal. The school had a couple of challenging years and I am being assigned to resolve some of those challenges and turn the school around. I love all of the team building games mentioned here and I will sure use them for my leadership workshop ‘ice-breaker’ and introduction.

  10. Craig

    great Ideas. I do team building events and so I am always looking for activities to include. These are some great ones and I appreciate your post. Very useful and above all practical. Team building is so very important and should be fun!
    Thanks

  11. Vernie

    This is a great blog. It could really help me prepare for our company’s team building. thanks

  12. Marie Williamson

    First, great post Candice!
    This is the first time I’ve seen the Bonding Belt activity, do you see a lot of reluctance from folks due to physical reasons – obesity, personal hygiene, personal space issues, etc? And if you do, how do you overcome them, or can you pick them out right away and move along to a different activity? We do team building activities as part of our events, and I’m trying to visualize the activity and how to overcome any challenges that may crop up like this.
    Thanks
    Marie

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Hi, Marie!

      Candice is actually no longer with QLP, but I will do my best to answer your question. There isn’t too much hesitation to participate because a lot of people relish the chance to stretch their legs after being at a desk for so long. However, if anyone really doesn’t want to participate, we don’t force them but make sure that they take the lead in one of the less-physical team building games. There’s no point in doing a team building game if people are going to complain about it.

      Thanks for leaving a comment!

      Mandy

  13. Beth

    A good idea for corporate group activities in Raleigh NC would be to go to indoor war – They are right n Raleigh. It was very fun and we all had a great team building experience! http://www.indoorwar.com/location/raleigh-north-carolina/

  14. Anthony

    I think team-building exercises are awesome!!! If my employee’s aren’t happy than I’m not happy! It’s more fun to be around others when we are having a good time and doing awesome things at work (like always). Cool Post! I dig it.

  15. Doc

    Big A+ for team building. Getting to know the people you spend so many hours with is vital to overall employee happiness and has a direct relation to productivity as well. I’m always a fan of finding common interests with fellow employees and bonding over those activities.

  16. Chrissie

    Thank you! I am going to use a couple of these for our Divisional Meeting.

  17. mike

    I hope you can help me. I attended a staff meeting with my previous company 8 years ago which included an icebreaker at the beginning. The meeting had a facilitator and the four of us as participants. This was an exercise for communication in which the facilitator gave each of us a memo containing instruction for an upcoming event. Each memo had more information than the previous and each participant would describe how we would manage it. By the time the facilitator read the real memo we all sat there and said “where did all that come from”. I’ve been searching icebreakers for two days and cannot find it. I am having my own staff meeting and would desperately like to use the exercise. Have you heard of this exercise of something similar?

  18. Leo

    Happy co-workers (and wife) makes for a happy life!! Taking time out of the day to build comradey in an office! #2 is awesome! Having to think on your feet…that’s what everyone needs to be able to do. You are honing in on two skills here. One being relationship refining and the second, your ability to think quickly! AWESOME!

  19. Dr. MY

    I will be starting a new job in PNG as Head of Science. This will be a new experience for me and I will incorporate some of the team building activities here. Do you have any other advice or suggestions you can offer me at this time. My goal is to make PMIS the best environment for both my students and my team.

  20. Ryan

    I really like these ideas. I have played games like the circle of questions before and they really help open up a group of people. Not enough can be said about the correlation between a comfortable work environment and success.

    I will definitely share these ideas with people I know!

  21. Tim

    Great game suggestions! Thanks for sharing

  22. Kelly Bird

    Communication is hard for any kind of relationship but so important. Games like this make getting to know your colleagues fun and I think they are a great way to get new people interacting as well as keep things fresh with people who may have worked together for a long time. You never know what you’ll learn about someone that will give you new insight. Love these!!!

  23. keith

    This is great stuff. Team building is key no matter where you work. It is always fun to get to know your co-workers in new and fun ways. You never know what you’ll learn and it can help make the work place a more fun environment. Awesome post!

  24. Ashely

    Ashley here! I can’t believe I missed this blog! I have literally had this discussion three times this week with clients trying to find ways to connect with co-workers! I now have a clear and current reference to recommend to my clients!

  25. Stacy

    I LOVE this! I feel like work is your second home and should feel as such. Not only is a team work environment important for moral but it increases production. A happy employee is a productive employee.

  26. Doug Staneart

    Candice, nice list of activities. I have a few additional games and icebreakers listed at http://www.leadersinstitute.com/teambuilding/team_building_tips/index.html if you’d like to use some of them as well.

  27. Geeta Mehta

    Hi All,

    I just gone thru with all the conversation above.
    Amy’s 3 truth 1 lie – I have implemented this in a new way.
    I have molded it like 3 likes and one dislike.
    Whenever a new employee comes onfloor, he has to perform this activity and if someone from audience is able to identify the dislike then new employee has to perform any one thing from his/her likes 🙂 like dancing, singing, mimickery, poem, etc..

  28. Mollie

    Great ideas here!

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  30. chetan savani

    First, great post Candice! But games like these are definitely a great way to break the ice and build up team morale! Great suggestions, Candice! i am also love the egg-drop game everytime i play it too. It’s valid across all ages!

  31. Micha Scheunemann

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  32. Dave Anderson

    I like the idea of having team building exercises so that new employees can get to know their coworkers and feel welcomed by everyone. I also agree that team building exercises can help energize a group of people that are a little down. I know that there are hundreds of different types of team building exercises but that no matter what you do as long as everyone is involved the results will be positive.

  33. team building games for work

    first great blog thanks for sharing

  34. Hospisoft

    Great game suggestions! Thanks for sharing your article….

  35. Lvy Warner

    Thanks For Sharing

  36. Lvy Warner

    thank you so much for sharing great article !!!

  37. Annax Technologies

    Great tips. I am new to the blogging world just started a month a go.

  38. Arav Panchal

    it is very knowledgeable and valuable article.

  39. Tom

    Thanks for sharing!!

    A team activities really helps to build a stronger bond among the team members.These are really great team building activities. However, human knot is my favourite.

  40. Leon Grant

    Other content online cannot measure up to the work you have put out here. Your insight on this subject has convinced me of many of the points you have expressed. This is great unique writing.

  41. mahesh alagappa

    Gr8 stuff here… have used some of them to good effect. However given the cultural differences cannot use some of them here in India. Of course in metro cities like Mumbai , Bangalore Hyderabad i am cool with most of the games, however in Tier 2 or Tier 3 cities have to be a bit careful not to “step on toes”

  42. Bruce

    Great suggestions! I really suggest that all business practice team building exercises to motivate employees. Thanks for sharing!

    Bruce, https://www.printavo.com

  43. smith rock

    This is a great blog. It could really help me prepare for our company’s team building, great. thanks

  44. smith jenny

    good site

  45. Dianne

    These three fun activities are really good. This will help the employees to interact with each other. I like the bonding belt, because this is a fun activity.

  46. Tom

    Great articles Candice! All the point sound good to enhance bonding between co-workers.

  47. John

    First, great post Candice! But games like these are definitely a great way to break the ice and build up team morale!

  48. Jessica Simmons

    These are some great suggestions Candice. Escape rooms are also good ways to break the ice with new team members. The games are fun-filled and include hours of problem-solving as a team. This brings the team closer to each other.

  49. josephat aduwo

    Excellent suggestions for a goal oriented team.

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