September 26, 2022

Trending 15-minute team building activities for every team

Choose one of these popular 15-minute team building activities for work meetings, small groups, remote teams, and new hires we’ve selected for you.

A happy team is an effective team. That’s why investing time in what used to be perceived as fun and games nowadays is an important strategy to boost productivity.

In less than 15 minutes, team building exercises can help you with the core organizational values, such as: 

But time is still money, which is why you want to find exercises that won’t eat up most of the day. For even shorter activities, we also collected ideas that only take five minutes. In this piece, you’ll find activities:

Short fun team building activities to get to know each other

Having a successful onboarding for the new hires can become a critical factor in employee retention. However, it can be challenging to get a group of strangers on the same page from the start. Get the conversation started with these quick and fun team building introduction activities designed for non-integrated teams! 

1. Guess What?

Props needed: None

Great for: Feeling more connected, having fun

How much do you know about your team, aside from how their weekend went and how hot/cold/rainy it is where they live? Guess What is a quiz-style activity that lets you guess facts about each other. It's a great way to get to know your team while having fun. Guess What? is free to try.

How it works:

  1. Create a free account
  2. Share the activity link with your team
  3. Spend 15 minutes getting to know each other
  4. Bonus: Get metrics on how your team is feeling

2. Two truths and a lie

Props needed: None

Great for: New hires

This game is a perfect icebreaker that allows people to demonstrate their sense of humor, share some of their interests, and make the first impression like none other. Which makes it a perfect team building activity for new hires. And the best part is that the rules are in the name.

How it works:

  1. Participants introduce themselves and share three facts about their lives — two real ones and one fake. 
  2. The rest of the team has to guess which one is a lie. 

It’s simple, quick, and yet never fails to deliver great fun. 

3. Alphabet brainstorm

Props needed: Random letter generator (optional)

Great for: Creative work

This icebreaker is amazing for waking up our brains and getting ready for some creative workflows. It also leaves some room for discussion if the participants dispute their results — an excellent way to practice your debate skills!

How it works:

  1. The host selects a topic for your game
  2. They pick a random letter of the alphabet
  3. The players come up with any word or a phrase starting with that letter, as fast as they can

The topics can range anywhere from “The things you can keep on your office desk” to “The most embarrassing thing you can bring to an after-hours team building event”. Go as far as your organizational culture allows! 

4. What do we have in common?

Props needed: none

Great for: new hires 

This quick team building activity is perfect for new hires, especially those that join remote teams! It also doesn’t follow any strict rules, so it can be treated as a conversation, rather than an exercise. 

How it works:

  1. The bravest player shares a couple of sentences about themselves and their interests
  2. Whoever has the same interest takes over the conversation and adds one of their own.
  3. Continue until everyone has at least one hobby in common

It’s one of those quick and easy team building activities for work that set the mood from the start and let new employees instantly feel like a part of the team. 

Don't want to plan team building from scratch?

See activities

5. Would you rather

Props needed: none

Great for: setting the mood 

The beauty of this quick game is that you can adjust it to the situation: if you want to have a more professional session, keep your “would you rather” questions to work-related themes. 

How it works:

  1. Select the overall theme for the session
  2. Come up with two equally valuable options to choose from 
  3. Take turns 

If your company culture allows and you want your participants to get to know each other better as people, not just as employees, this 15-minute team building could take any shape and range for a variety of topics, from superpowers to imaginative scenarios, to geopolitics. Get creative!

Fast team building games for remote teams

Remote work, greatly popularized with the spread of the pandemic, is here to stay. So here are 4 team building activities you can enjoy within the first 15 minutes of your virtual get-together. Also read our article on the best team building software & tools.

6. Random Fairytales

Props needed: none

Great for: Lightening the mood and having fun together

If you’re familiar with Gartic Phone or the telephone game, you’ll know what to expect with Random Fairytales. While the name suggests a game for kids, we designed Random Fairytales to get any professional team’s creative juices flowing. Not to mention that they’ll be dying laughing.

You can try Random Fairytales for free!

How it works:

  1. Person 1 gets two words and makes up a sentence containing these words
  2. Person 2 has to draw that sentence
  3. Person 3 gets the drawing from person 2 and has to guess the sentence behind it
  4. Now person 4 has to draw that sentence
  5. and so on

7. Share the love

Props needed: none

Great for: boosting morale

Not quite a game, but this exercise may become a turning point in the way you interact with your team. After all, it’s all about recognizing the value of each person and expressing your gratitude. 

How it works:

  1. Start by complimenting your team member
  2. They need to compliment someone else in turn
  3. Continue until everyone has felt the love

The praise can be directly related to their work or speak to their general positive qualities — anything goes, as long as you keep it respectful and polite. By the end of the exercise, you should have a beaming team full of love and respect for one another. 

Team building activities designed with Coventry University

See activities

8. Tall tales

Props needed: none

Great for: creative work

This quick imaginative icebreaker will work best for creative teams that value good storytelling. It is an excellent way to start a brainstorming session or an online team building event. 

How it works:

  1. Start telling the few first sentences of a story
  2. Another player has to pick it up from where you left off 
  3. Let everyone on the team take turns

You can aim to end your story in one round, or within a fixed number of turns for each player, depending on the size of your team. 

9. Trivia or pop quizzes

Props needed: Kahoot / Quizizz (optional)

Great for: brainy teams

Nothing gets the brain cells working better than a quick round of trivia! Not only does it set the mood for the day, but it also gives you a chance to get to know your teammates’ after-hours interests and hobbies. Here, it all comes down to preparation. 

How it works:

  1. Select the topic and prepare the questions in advance
  2. Determine how many points each question is worth
  3. Divide into teams
  4. Teams earn points by answering questions
  5. Whoever has more points by the end of the quiz wins

To make your next team building experience even more fun and productive, check out these free virtual team building activities

Active 15-minute team building exercises

Physical activity comes with many benefits, not only for our bodies but also for our mental health. So why not try and dedicate 15 minutes of your team building to some exercises that encourage you to get off the desks and start moving?

10. Sound ball

Props needed: a ball (optional)

Great for: letting some steam out

Sound ball is a creative and imaginative exercise that allows you to move and scream a little, all in the comfort of the office space. This 15-minute team building activity can help you let off some steam, have a laugh together, and get energized — all at the same time! 

How it works:

  1. Pick up a ball
  2. Make any sound as you throw it to another player
  3. They need to catch the ball and repeat your sound
  4. They then make their own sound and throw the ball to another player

Warning: you will look ridiculous and the rest of the office might want to join you. 

11. Clump

Props needed: none

Great for: company-wide events 

This game is a great way to test your reaction and herd instinct. It’s particularly popular with larger teams, as the more people are playing the better

How it works:

  1. Let people mingle in a spacious area
  2. Yell out a random number between 1 and 10
  3. The players need to get together and form groups the size of that number
  4. Take a break
  5. Yell out another number

You can play it to form teams for other activities or simply to run around the office and have some fun. 

12. Flip it over

Props needed: a blanket / a towel / a large piece of fabric

Great for: active cooperation 

It is one of a few activities on our list that will require an additional prop - a blanket or a towel. This exercise is a great way to demonstrate all the ups and downs of working together on the project, so it makes an amazing team building activity. 

How it works:

  1. Have your team stand on the blanket
  2. Make sure a quarter of it is empty
  3. They need to flip the blanket over without leaving the area

No workspace safety guidelines will be violated! 

13. Earth-ball

Props needed: a ball or a balloon

Great for: group projects

This team building activity is brilliant in its simplicity. While quick and easy, it demonstrates the ability of your employees to set goals, work together towards them, and keep focused under pressure.

How it works:

  1. Throw a ball in the air
  2. Yell out a random number
  3. The ball has to stay in the air for that number of hits 

Important rule: each person can only touch the ball once in a row.

Short team building games for adults at work meetings

Even if your team has been working together for years, you can still benefit from a quick team building activity. Just add a couple of these fast team building games to your next get-together and see for yourself.

14. Guess the childhood photo

Props needed: childhood photos of your coworkers

Great for: getting to know each other better

Whether or not you fit into 15 minutes here depends purely on the number of people in your team. Generally, this activity is pretty fast, though. The preparation is simple and the execution is straightforward. 

How it works:

  1. Ask every member of your team to send you their childhood photos.
  2. Mix them up.
  3. Try to guess who is in which photo

If all goes well, you will have plenty of ground for discussing who got rid of braces over the years and who lost the most weight. 

15. The envelope

Props needed: an envelope / a jar / a box / Free Suggestion Box

Great for: getting to know each other better

If the previous game might also be fun for the teams that don’t know each other particularly well, this quick team-building activity depends on your friendship.

How it works:

  1. Ask everyone to write 10 facts about themselves
  2. Read out the lists without mentioning the name
  3. The team has to guess who each list is about

This is one of the classic getting-to-know-you team building activities for adults that demonstrates whether the way we see ourselves matches the perception of others. So it’s a great psychological experience, too! 

16. Most likely to…

Props needed: The list of nominations (optional)

Great for: boosting morale

Remember this old yearbook tradition? Well, office team building is bringing it back! Similar to “Share the love”, this activity provides you with an opportunity to give out some compliments and friendly jests to each other, to lift the mood within the team. 

How it works:

  1. Pick the nomination or come up with your own and “award” one of your colleagues
  2. They need to select another nomination for the next person
  3. Continue, until everyone’s been awarded

Who is most likely to become the CEO? Who looks like they work on Sundays? Who is most likely to adopt a dog next month? You choose the direction in which it goes! 

Recap: Team building activities for work

To sum up, we recommend the following 15-minute team building activities:

  1. Strengthen team bonds
  2. Two truths and a lie
  3. Alphabet brainstorm
  4. What do we have in common
  5. Would you rather
  6. Random Fairytales
  7. Share the love
  8. Tall tales
  9. Trivia or pop quizzes
  10. Sound ball
  11. Clump
  12. Flip it over
  13. Earth ball
  14. Guess the childhood photo
  15. The envelope
  16. Who's most likely to...

If you want to incorporate short team building games into your organizational culture, why not use a tool to do the heavy lifting? At Gomada, we’ve perfected the process of selecting, planning, and executing the best team building events for each company’s unique situation. 

We are here to help you get together, relax, and grow your productivity as a team. Give it a try!

Short team building activities for the workplace: FAQs

Here’s what people are most curious about when it comes to 15-minute team building activities. 

What are some of the quick team building activities for small groups? 

There are plenty of short team building games for small groups. In fact, most of the activities on this list will be suitable for teams with more than 3 members. The only factor that will vary is the length of the exercise and the number of rounds you might need to complete the goal. 

What is a fun team building activity?

Any sort of game or an exercise that promotes teamwork and encourages your employees to work together can be considered team building. But to make the experience fun, consider learning about your teammates’ hobbies and interests before planning something specific. You would hate to run a 15-minute pop quiz for a team that hates trivia nights! 

Check out this list of the safe-for-work team building activities and choose the one that fits your crew best!

 

What are the 4 main types of team building activities? 

Our favorite classification divides team building activities based on their purpose:

  • Communication. Thanks to such short team bonding activities the participants learn how to express their gratitude, address their issues and nourish mutual trust for a more pleasant day-to-day experience at the workplace. 
  • Motivation. Here, your employees get a chance to revisit their original motivations and learn why they do what they do and if it’s right for them. 
  • Problem-solving. These short team building activities for work meetings are perfect for dedicated onboarding sessions, as they appeal to your strengths and weaknesses and help solve some specific problems.
  • Creativity. These quick team building games for workplace encourage us to think outside of the box and change the way we see mundane tasks.

Are there good 2-minute team building activities? 

Yes, there are! 

The real question is: should you be using them? After all, team building is an important practice that has positive effects on your employees’ well-being and productivity. You wouldn’t spend 2 minutes on your next quarterly planning, would you? 

Since team building rarely occurs more often than every month, it makes sense to dedicate at least 15 minutes of your time to these activities. If, however, you want to run them on a more regular basis (every Monday before your weekly planning, for example), many of the exercises we’ve presented in this article can be cut down to just 5 minutes or less. If you want to have your group activities organized, check out our list of team building apps.

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