There are many challenges that team leaders are facing as we head deeper into the 2020s. Stress is making it hard for many to make even basic decisions at times. Last year one in five workers reported feeling lonely, regardless of if they were working on-site, remote, or somewhere in between.
You can address many of these challenges by focusing on team bonding — and using games for team building.
We’ve gathered up several of the best group team building games that can adapt to your needs. Keep in mind; you’ll need to tailor each idea (or use a product like Gomada to help do so) to fit your needs depending on things like:
- If your team is remote, hybrid, or in-person.
- How big your team is.
- How long your team has been together.
Team building games for any work environment
There are many good team building games that you can use in different work scenarios. Here are a handful of options that you’ll want to keep close by, no matter what kind of team you’re leading.
1. Make a mad lib
Prep time: 10 - 20 min
Play time: 15 - 30 min
Best for: A quick and fun ice breaker to get the day going.
One quick and easy way to have some fun is by using a mad lib. This works in person and online. It’s also a free team building activity that can be infinitely adapted to whatever topics and themes you’d like. All you need to do is:
- Get a mad lib (or make one).
- Go through it and have your team add words.
- Read it aloud for some quick and easy laughs.
Pro tip: If you make your own mad lib, think about using a company style guide or mission statement for inspiration.
2. Play Building Block Solutions
Price: $0 - $50
Prep time: 0 min
Play time: 30 min
Best for: Interactive games for team building that focus on problem solving.
Building Block Solutions is a fun game that stokes your team’s creativity and gets everyone in on the action. You can do this one with a piece of paper or a virtual whiteboard, depending on your circumstances. Gather your group and then:
- Present a made-up problem for your team to solve.
- Have the first person write an idea for a solution.
- Ask the next person to expound on that solution.
- Go around the table and see if you’re able to fully address the problem.
Pro tip: As your team takes turns, consider adding complications to the problem to keep them on their toes.
3. Try a round of Jackbox Games
Prep time: 15 min
Play time: 30 min
Best for: Team bonding and having some good, old-fashioned fun.
Jackbox Games is a game platform loaded with fun activities for virtual team building. Everyone can join from their smartphones, making it great for hybrid teams. You can try this one by:
- Going to jackbox.tv and purchasing the game.
- Starting a game of your choice.
- Having your team download the game app, giving them the code, and starting the fun.
Pro tip: There are a lot of choices on Jackbox. Consider asking your team what team bonding games pique their interest the most at any given time.
4. Build a world together
Prep time: 0 min
Play time: 30 min - 1 hour
Best for: Flexing creativity as a group.
Sometimes a solid dose of imagination is all that’s required for a game to be effective. This doesn’t just work in the classroom or on a playdate, either. There are whimsical group games for adult team building, like Build a World.
In this one, have your team members brainstorm a new world together. Invent phrases in a new language. Create a colorful history. Build an economy.
This kind of game team building can unleash that child-like imagination in a group setting that encourages bonding, collective creativity, and group problem-solving.
Pro tip: If you want this one to really flourish, have each person’s strengths and interests dictate what areas of your new world you suggest focusing on.
5. Help each other draw blind
Prep time: 0 min
Play time: 15 min - 1 hour
Best for: Encouraging communication and a little friendly competition.
If your team needs to sharpen their communication skills through work team building games, try doing a round of blind drawing. You can do this on a piece of paper, a whiteboard, or a virtual drawing pad. Choose your canvas and then:
- Select a drawer.
- Give your team an object, photo, or another item.
- Have everyone give the drawer clues without saying what the object is until they’ve drawn the item.
Start by working as a group. If you’re looking for competitive team building games, once everyone’s comfortable, split into teams and turn the activity into a race to see who can draw their picture first.
Pro tip: If you want to stick to working as a team, increase the difficulty by requiring each person to give one clue each until everyone has had a turn.
6. Solve a riddle
Prep time: 5 min
Play time: 5 min
Best for: A quick team building option to encourage collaboration.
Solving riddles is always fun. Doing so as a group can be a great way to bring your team together, too — especially if you’re looking for quick and easy team building activities without supplies.
There are many team building riddles out there. Choose one before you meet and then work together to solve it.
Pro tip: Up the ante by forbidding anyone to interrupt someone else while guessing or the entire team loses.
7. Set up a round of personalized Guess Who
Prep time: 15 min
Play time: 10 min
Best for: Learning more about your team.
Guess Who is a classic game. Adapting it to a work setting turns it into one of the best team building games for large groups, in particular. It’s also another of those team building games without materials. You can play by:
- Sending out a survey to your team members asking a few questions.
- Asking everyone to provide answers about themselves that no one else knows yet.
- Choosing one employee’s responses at a time and giving your team hints until they can guess who it is.
Pro tip: Don’t ask overly-personal or invasive questions. However, make sure that they’re interesting, like “where would you travel if you could go anywhere in the world?”
8. Join in a rousing round of Settlers of Catan
Price: $0 to $.99
Prep time: 5 min
Play time: 1 hour
Best for: In-depth and fun team building sessions.
There are team building games for employees, and then there are management games on team building that are perfect for bringing leadership together. Settlers of Catan is a great board game that can entertain any kind of group — including those who lead the workplace.
You can play the physical game, or you can access the online version. Either way, playing a constructive and competitive game helps your leaders connect, bond, and get a break from the business of guiding your company.
9. Solve a murder mystery
Price: $30 to $50
Prep time: 10 min
Play time: 1 to 2 hours
Best for: Immersive fun that gets everyone out of their comfort zones.
Murder mysteries are a popular game for team building — especially ever since Michael Scott busted out a murder mystery on “The Office” to distract his team during a difficult situation.
The truth is, a murder mystery really is an effective way to team build. You can play a game in person or find a good virtual murder mystery option.
Pro tip: Don’t just choose any game. Find a theme that will resonate with your group and encourage them to dive into their characters.
Why games for team building?
Team building is a common exercise. You can apply it to many different needs in countless ways.
For instance, if your team is new, you might need to tap into some ice breakers. If you’re working with members of the C-suite, you can use leader-specific activities to help.
While team building activities can take on different forms, using work games for team building is a uniquely effective way to bring a team together. Games help your group by:
- Facilitating needed breaks that can boost productivity.
- Providing appropriate outlets to relieve stress.
- Cultivating community and camaraderie throughout your team.
- Sharpening your group’s problem-solving skills.
- Improving team communication.
Games aren’t just fun. They’re powerful team building and bonding tools in the workplace.
More ideas for team building games
We've written extensively about all kinds of team building games. If you didn't find what you were looking for, keep reading our other articles.
Quiz and trivia games
Virtual adventure-style games
Games for getting to know each other
All other games
If you find that your team is struggling to adapt to their work environment, use the interactive team building games listed above to get your team interested, invested, and engaged again. If you're looking for even more inspiration, check out our list of team building apps.