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One of the struggles of building a startup is figuring out how to get your new teams to work together as a cohesive unit. This is where startup team building activities come in. These activities help teammates in fairly new teams get to know each other better and bond as a group.
To get you started, we’ve put together a list of startup team building activities for remote and in-person teams, ranked from most to least expensive for your convenience. Yup, we incuded some free activities as well.
In-person startup team building activities
#1 Take a field trip
Best for: Visiting new places as a team
One of our top team building activities for startups is field trips. Taking a team field trip together is a solid bonding experience. Teammates get to interact freely, build relationships as they converse, participate in unique activities, and enjoy the added benefit of getting out of the office.
Some interesting field trip ideas to consider include:
- Visit the zoo or aquarium
- Go to a theme/amusement park
- Go to an art museum
- Visit the cinema to catch a movie
- Attempt an escape room
- Have a long lunch at a local restaurant
#2 Scavenger hunt
Best for: Outdoor lovers
Scavenger hunts are a fun way to get your teammates out of the office and interact with each other in an outdoor setting. This activity is great because it’s easy to plan and exciting to play. To set it up:
- Start by picking out a location in your local area. Parks usually work best.
- Gather some items to hide. Try to make them as weird as possible, so teammates have something to talk about.
- Choose a date and a time and invite your team.
- Print out a list for your players.
Because collaboration and communication are key skills your new startup team needs to develop, you can divide your teammates into smaller groups and have each group work together to find the items on the hunt list.
To up the stakes of the game, include a prize for the winning group. If you have enough time, you can organize a team lunch afterward to talk about the game and celebrate the winners. This also counts for some extra team bonding time.
#3 Office trivia
Best for: Quick office games
Office trivia is a great startup team building activity for when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands but still want to get everyone talking, having fun, and learning cool, new information.
All you need to do is set some time aside (lunch break works perfectly) and come up with a set of interesting or funny trivia questions. For example:
- When was Google invented?
- How many sheets are in a ream of paper?
- What is the national animal of Scotland?
- What other mammals enjoy spicy food?
- What country invented tea?
Try to be as creative as you can. But if you’re struggling to come up with questions yourself, you can find some great trivia question ideas online.
#4 Show and tell sessions
Best for: Learning new skills
Most people have hobbies, interests, or fun skills they get into in their free time, but they rarely get the chance to talk about them in a work setting. You can change this by organizing show and tell sessions. This is one of our favorite startup team building activities because it gives teammates the space and audience to share what they’re good at.
All you need to do is carve out a time each week for at least one team member to ‘show and tell’ a special skill with the rest of the team. It could be anything from how to become a better leader to how to write a song, how to make their favorite cocktail, or even how to start paper crafting. Not only do teammates learn about each other’s interests, but they also get to go home with a new skill every week.
Best for: Building safe spaces at work
This isn’t exactly an activity, but ERGs can greatly contribute to startup team building. An ERG is an employee resource group, and they are groups of people in a company who come together based on shared interests or experiences. This could include a women’s ERG or a minority ERG.
These voluntary, employee-led groups meet fairly regularly and create a safe space for people to support each other and help with personal and career development.
ERGs also occasionally organize events open to the rest of the team. This might be diversity lessons, potlucks, or even something lighthearted and fun like a movie night.
Related reading: 20+ diversity team building activities
Virtual team building activities for startups
#6 Virtual cooking/cocktail-making class
Best for: Exploring new cuisines
Price: $50-120 per person
Virtual cooking/cocktail classes have become increasingly popular among remote teams, and for good reason. These classes are great for startup team building because they help co-workers connect as they learn how to make new dishes together.
There are loads of virtual cooking and cocktail-making classes available online, most of which are held over Zoom and taught by professional chefs. Some classes even give you the option of having the required ingredients and equipment shipped to the houses of each of your teammates.
At the end of these classes, not only would your team have shared a fun experience and learned to prepare something new, but they would also get to enjoy the dish they made.
#7 Virtual murder mystery party
Best for: People who enjoy solving puzzles
A virtual murder mystery party gives your teammates the chance to act as detectives for the night as they try to solve a fake murder. Filled with interesting twists, parties like these encourage people to work together and flex their creative muscles to find the murderer before the clock runs out.
There are a good number of online murder mystery companies that can help you plan your party. For example, The Murder Mystery Co provides a professional mystery detective that will host and handle all aspects of the party so you can be free to get involved.
#8 Movie night
Best for: Small teams
Price: $10-25 per person
Movie nights (which don’t literally have to be done at night) make for fun team bonding experiences. There’s just something about enjoying a movie together that helps people grow closer, so try organizing one for your team or even making it a monthly ritual. You can take advantage of an app like Netflix party, which allows people to simultaneously stream movies and shows.
To plan this activity,
- Select a few movie options and have everyone vote on what to watch using a poll.
- Ensure each person has an active Netflix subscription to stream the selected movie.
- As an extra incentive, you can also allocate and share a set amount of money for each person to buy snacks.
At the end of the show, you can host a Zoom meeting so everyone can discuss aspects of the movie they did or didn’t enjoy.
#9 Home office tours
Best for: New virtual teams
Team building is a bit more complex when working remotely and even more so when you’re a startup putting together a new virtual team. However, the fun part is that you get to take advantage of virtual conference platforms to organize creative team activities like home office tours.
Virtual home office tours give teammates the chance to learn a little more about each other because they get a glimpse of their colleagues’ real lives. It gives people a chance to show off their workspaces as well as any cool items they have lying around. This activity can help teammates discover shared interests and spark new conversations between people.
Pro-tip: Discuss this activity with teammates beforehand to ensure that they are comfortable giving tours of their spaces.
What are the benefits of startup team building activities?
In most startups, it takes some time for new teams to work well together, with little to no conflict. This is because trust and relationships need to be established between teammates before they work well as a unit. Startup team building activities help get the ball rolling.
These activities are designed to help colleagues get to know each other better and build trust. Some other benefits include:
- Improved communication
- Increased productivity
- Increased employee morale and motivation
- Better problem solving and conflict resolution strategies
- More creativity and innovation
Startup team building - a continuous process
Strong teams are not formed overnight. They require continuous planning and effort. More than that, as your team grows and changes, you’ll need to make adjustments to fit their needs. While it's no easy task, you can use the help of team building solutions to regularly work on your team's performance and connections. That said, the reward of watching your teammates form solid work relationships and work better together makes all the effort worth it.
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