Your team is the driving force behind your company. Regardless of business size, every person in your group serves a role to keep it running. One way to break the ice, build valuable skills, and decrease office tension is to incorporate team-building activities within your work program.

Are you working remotely due to COVID-19? Not a problem. Remote team-building activities are plentiful, and anyone can participate.

This list includes the best team-building activities for work that won’t make your employees groan. Whether they are online, outdoors, or on-site, these activities lead to healthier teams and less stressful work environments.

Indoor Team Building Activities for Work

Indoor team-building activities are a fun distraction when you can’t make it outside. These simple team-building activities don’t require too much space and work in just about any room in the office.

Napkin Draw

The back of the humble napkin is home to some of the world’s most famous business concepts and solutions. The Napkin Draw encourages competition, thinking out-of-the-box, and works for small, mid-size, and large team sizes.

  • Team Size: Startup to corporate-size teams
  • Duration: 20-30 minutes
  • Equipment: White napkins, pens.
  • Skills: Teamwork, unconventional thinking, problem-solving

Instructions

  • Divide participants into equal groups and give each group a white napkin.
  • Think of problems that have more than one solution. The problems don’t have to be about your company and can relate to the environment or a hypothetical scenario.
  • Ask each group to think about a solution to the question. The group must work together to develop a solution for the problem, and someone draws the solution onto the napkin.
  • The group that has the most creative solution to the problem wins.

Purpose: The Napkin Draw is a fun and competitive game that encourages group members to work together. Drawing the solution on a napkin requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.  Ideally, the members should not know one another well, although this isn’t mandatory.

Movie Day

Movie Day is an advanced team-building activity perfect for medium and large businesses. You must have equipment for this activity for it to be effective. The idea is to create a 4-5 minute movie per team about a specific concept. To make the event more challenging, you can ask the team to develop unique ideas.

  • Team Size: Medium to corporate-size teams
  • Duration: All-day event
  • Equipment: Cameras, tripods, microphones, props
  • Skills: Teamwork, leadership, creativity, problem-solving, collaboration

Instructions

  • Generate a concept for a short, 4-5 minute movie.
  • Divide your participants into teams of at least ten people.
  • Each team has to choose a director, camera person, scriptwriter, and actors.
  • The team has all day to film the movie and to edit it before submission.
  • All participants watch the films together and vote for the most creative one.
  • The team that wins receives a prize.

Purpose: Making a movie is deceptively simple and requires coordination and harmony between members. The activity is a challenging yet creative concept that encourages members to work together, share ideas, and develop fast solutions to reach a goal.

Blind Instructions

The Blind Instructions game enhances your team’s communication skills and shows them how people interpret information differently.

  • Team Size: 4 – 12
  • Duration: 30 – 60 minutes
  • Equipment: Large whiteboard, markers, blindfolds
  • Skills: Teamwork, communication, coordination.

Instructions

  • Have a picture of an object ready.
  • Divide your participants into pairs; one person in each team draws on the whiteboard blindfolded while the other person gives them directions about their drawing.
  • Split the whiteboard in half with a marker.
  • Two teams must play against one another.
  • One person from each team must draw the object without knowing what it is, using only verbal directions from the other team member.
  • The team that manages to draw the most accurate picture wins.

Purpose: Blind instructions fosters competition and encourages participants to use their imagination, creativity, and verbal skills to describe and interpret concepts.

Map Your Opinion

The purpose of Map Your Opinion is to represent the many diverse opinions that your team has. The activity gives you a glimpse into the minds and personalities of your employees. It even highlights unconventional views they may hesitate to verbalize.

  • Team Size: Small to corporate-sized
  • Duration: 30-60 minutes
  • Equipment: Whiteboard, sticky notes, pens
  • Skills: Communication, team-building

Instructions

  • Generate a list of topics that are controversial but not inappropriate, such as global warming.
  • Write the topic in the middle of your whiteboard and draw a horizontal line.
  • Label the top part of the line as “favorable” and the bottom as “unfavorable.”
  • Invite participants to write their opinion about the topic on the sticky note and place it on the whiteboard based on whether they agree or disagree.
  • The closer the sticky note is to the term, the more strongly the person should feel about their opinion
  • As the sticky notes increase on the board, you will notice the development of a spectrum that shows how your team feels about an idea.

Purpose: Map Your Opinion uncovers impressive views that your team may hold. These maps also show you who thinks outside of the box or may have a viewpoint that they otherwise wouldn’t share.

Fun Team Building Activities for Outdoors

If you have enough time and space, outdoor team-building activities are a perfect way to increase competition within the team. The following activities aren’t strenuous to the point that older team members can’t participate,

The Dancing Cloth

The Dancing Cloth is an active game that requires physical and visual coordination. Team members learn to work together to keep a tennis ball on a piece of cloth and ensure that it doesn’t fall through different holes randomly cut throughout the fabric.

  • Team size: Medium to corporate
  • Duration: 20 – 60 minutes
  • Equipment: Large, square pieces of cloth, golf balls, scissors
  • Skills: Coordination, communication, leadership

Instructions

  • Cut random holes throughout the cloth, making sure to keep some space between the holes.
  • Divide your team into groups of four.
  • Each member holds a corner of the cloth.
  • Place the golf ball on the fabric, and the team must keep it moving as long as possible without allowing the golf ball to fall.
  • The team that lasts longest while preventing the ball from falling wins.

Purpose: The dancing cloth requires coordination between members and helps them work together to reach a goal. It encourages friendly competition and doesn’t require too much physical exertion.

Cross the Finish Line

Cross the Finish Line is all about coordination. Although it seems easy, it requires communication and taking action with other team members to attain a specific result. When done right, you’ll have a great picture of the team that you can hang on the break room wall or send to each member.

  • Team size: Small – corporate
  • Duration: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Equipment: Chalk, rope, and a camera or smartphone
  • Skills: Planning, communication, coordination

Instructions:

  • Draw a finish line on the ground or establish one with a piece of cloth or rope.
  • Instruct all team members who work together to stand behind the line.
  • On the count of three, the entire team must run to cross the finish line in tandem, with their feet going over the line at the same time.
  • If the crossing fails, the team must repeat until they cross the line in perfect tandem.

Purpose: The concept may seem simple, but getting a group of people to cross a line simultaneously is not easy. The team may inadvertently choose a leader who will guide them through the process for the perfect finish.

Body Words

The concept of the Body Words game is creating the shape of a letter with a person’s body to form a word. To make the game more creative and challenging, the word can’t be too simple.

  • Team size: Small to corporate-sized
  • Duration: 30 – 60 minutes
  • Equipment: None
  • Skills: Creativity, leadership, cooperation, planning.

Instructions:

  • Divide the team into two groups
  • Each member of a group must act out a specific word in less than two minutes
  • The other team must guess the word before time runs out
  • The team that identifies the most terms before time runs out wins

Purpose: These types of games are team-building icebreakers and act as primers for other, more complex games later on. The Body Words game allows team members to relax and enjoy themselves while also using their creativity to reach a goal.

Community Service

Community service activities aren’t just beneficial for your team – they help communities and allow participants to feel like they are part of a cause.

  • Team size: Small to corporate-sized
  • Duration: Half-day or all-day event
  • Equipment: Varies depending on the activity
  • Skills: Team-strengthening, icebreaker, social responsibility.

Ideas:

  • Cleaning up beach, highway roadside, or neighborhood
  • Painting homes in low-income neighborhoods
  • Volunteering at a food shelter or domestic violence center
  • Building a house with Habitat of Humanity

Purpose: Community service group activities build bonds between your members and help them feel good about giving back.

Remote Team Building Activities

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means that many offices today are going digital. Keeping your distance doesn’t mean that you can’t perform team-building activities from home. These fun activities bring your team together and allow them to share their space in a lighthearted, informal manner.

Remote Office Trivia

Remote office trivia is a fun team-building activity that requires little more than a camera to get started. This activity is a great icebreaker and isn’t disruptive to your workflow.

  • Team size: Small to medium
  • Duration: 30 – 60 minutes
  • Equipment: Smartphone
  • Skills: Cohesiveness, bonding

Instructions

  • Each person on the team must send you a picture of their workspace
  • After gathering all the photos, gather your team for a short 20-minute meeting
  • Display all the images on the screen and have the group guess to whom each office belongs
  • The member that has the highest number of correct guesses receives a prize.

Purpose: Home offices often depict the personalities of your employees, and members learn new things about their colleagues by seeing their setups. The pictures can foster friendly relationships, such as when members discover similar tastes in décor or hobbies.

Online Game Battle

An online game battle between members brings out their competitive side. When teams compete informally, it is not only more amusing but also allows them to break the ice and work together to achieve a goal or target.

  • Team size: Small to corporate-sized
  • Duration: A few hours
  • Equipment: Game and PC
  • Skills: Competition, leadership, teamwork.

Instructions

  • Ask your team if they play online games and choose one that they can all access or download.
  • Examples include Fortnight, Mario Kart, DOTA, and Red Alert. Many of these games are available online for free.
  • Assign teams to play against one another or to defend one another against other players
  • Depending on the nature of the game, the defeated team loses or the team defends itself against other players

Purpose: Games involving teamwork build camaraderie and communication between your members. Since they often provide a welcome distraction and help let off steam, you may notice better productivity if you continuously adopt this strategy.

True Lies

True lies is a game that shows your team how well they know one another. Players give a series of true and false statements about themselves, and other players must guess the inaccurate information.

  • Team size: Small to corporate-sized
  • Duration: 20 – 30 minutes
  • Equipment: None
  • Skills: Relationship building, cohesiveness.

Instructions

  • Organize a video conference and inform your team of the rules.
  • Each person must provide two factual statements and one false statement about themselves.
  • The false statements must not be outlandish, making it more difficult for the other participants to guess.
  • Taking turns, each participant makes the statements, and the other members must guess their accuracy.
  • The member with the highest number of accurate guesses wins.

Purpose: Remote work may remove the human element from interactions between your team. When you introduce an activity that allows each member to think about their colleagues and remember previous interactions, it strengthens the team.

When done right and thoughtfully, team-building activities have a positive effect on morale and boost productivity. They encourage collaboration and help you understand your team members on a deeper level. With both paid and free options, even the most cost-conscious companies can create meaningful and fun experiences for their employees that will have a positive impact on their work environments.