September 16, 2022

The ultimate list of team building activities for work in any environment

It’s hard to team build when your team could be on-site, remote, or hybrid. Here are team building activities for work that adapt to your environment.

The modern workplace is evolving fast. Nearly 1 in 4 professional jobs can operate as fully remote. That’s eight times as many as there were precisely two years and one pandemic ago. 

Even so, many companies — including in the Big Tech sector — are still pushing for a return to the in-person office experience. This has created a complicated web of remote, on-site, and hybrid work teams, all of which need to learn how to work with one another

It doesn’t matter what kind of team you’re overseeing. If you’re a leader, you need to find ways to bring your group together as an efficient and productive unit. Here is a carefully curated list of the best team building activities for work teams to help you cultivate communication, improve morale, and boot productivity regardless of your environment.

Also read: Team building online - The comprehensive guide

18 team building activities for work teams

Below are 18 of the best team building ideas for work teams. 

Keep in mind that these are broad suggestions. You’ll need to adapt them to whatever remote, in-person, or hybrid situation you find yourself in. 

 

We’ve also split them into a few different categories:

  1. Quick and easy team building activities.
  2. In-depth team building activities.
  3. Constructive team building activities.

Quick and easy team building activities

Start here if you’re looking for an ice breaker or activities to pull out at the beginning of a meeting.

1. Play Work Buddy

Price: free

Time: 10-15 min

Best for: Learning more about your team members.

Work Buddy from Gomada is a quiz-style activity that brings your team closer by starting conversations about

  • what motivates them
  • what their meeting preferences are
  • what their hopes and dreams are

Especially when you work remotely, it's tough to find time to chat about these topics. Work Buddy is free to try.

Bonus: After your first activity, set up the Slack integration that connects your team automatically.

2. Play Life Highlights

Price: $0

Time: 15 - 30 min

Best for: Learning more about your team members.

Life Highlights is a fun and simple way to help your team learn about one another. All you have to do is:

 

  • Ask everyone on your team to take 60 seconds to think about some of the best moments of their lives.
  • Inform them that they now have thirty seconds left to live, and they can only relive one of their memories.
  • Have them choose their favorite memory.
  • Go around and ask everyone to share what they picked.

 

This quick little exercise is one of the best team building activities for helping your team learn about one another. It gives you a glimpse into what each person prioritizes and is passionate about.

Pro Tip: Ask each member what their runner-up memory was to instantly double the amount of information your team is sharing.

3. Write mini-memoirs

Price: $0

Time: 15 min

Best for: A quick and insightful ice breaker.

If you want your team to get to know one another better, have them take turns writing mini-memoirs by:

 

  1. Asking each team member to think about their greatest accomplishments.
  2. Having them write these down in a total of 12 words or less.
  3. Sharing each response.

 

Pro tip: Try this a few times over different days, but change the number of words each time.

4. Play a quick round of Never Have I Ever

Price: $0

Time: 15 min

Best for: Learning what sets each member of your team apart.

Never Have I Ever is a great ice breaker game for practically any group of workers in any situation. All you have to do is gather your team, in-person or online, and:

 

  1. Tell everyone to hold up five fingers.
  2. Pick someone to start and have them say something they’ve never done before.
  3. Continue this, going around the group one person at a time.
  4. Whenever something is said that a person hasn’t done, they must lower a finger.
  5. The last person with fingers still up wins.

 

Pro tip: Try focusing each round on a particular topic, like “never have I ever done X at work” or “never have I ever tried X food.”

Don't want to plan team building from scratch?

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5. Ask for favorite quotes

Price: $0

Time: 15 min

Best for: Inspiring your team.

Quotes are one of the great forms of work inspiration. They also address countless aspects of both life and work.

Gather your team and ask them to each share one of their favorite quotes of all time. This is a great way to inspire your team before a meeting. It also reveals a lot about where each group member gravitates for personal encouragement.

Pro tip: Ask your team to also share a bit about why each quote is important to them. You can also add a theme, like inspirational quotes, productivity quotes, or even best quotes for a good laugh.

6. Just ask questions

Price: $0

Time: 15 - 30 min

Best for: Sparking deeper conversations.

Sometimes an icebreaker needs to be as simple as a question. It works with one-on-one conversations and can be effective in the office. 

In this case, all you need to do is gather your team or hop on a Zoom call. Ask a question or two and have people take turns answering. 

If your group is small, go around clockwise and see how everyone responds. If it’s bigger, have people raise their hand whenever they’re ready to share.

Pro tip: If you’re having trouble coming up with questions, there are many resources with huge lists of icebreaker questions that range from serious and reflective to light and funny.

7. Engage in a round of What Do We Have in Common? 

Price: $0

Time: 15 - 30 min

Best for: Quickly bringing a team together.

One of the key points of team building activities at work is finding group bonding experiences that bring everyone together. One quick and easy ice breaker that cuts to the chase on that point is “What Do We Have in Common?” All you need to do is:

 

  1. Gather your team (if you’re bigger, break into groups of 5 to 10 people).
  2. Have each group find 10 things that they have in common.
  3. Ask them to prioritize their lists and then share their findings with everyone.

 

This is a great way to jumpstart relationships and trust with your group by helping them relate to one another.

Pro tip: Once again, categorical parameters are excellent here. Pick a topic like “leisure” or “food” to force your team to find similarities within smaller boundaries.

8. Try a quick round of One Word Wonder

Price: $0

Time: 15 min

Best for: Helping your team get on the same page.

Your team’s ultimate purpose is to work together efficiently toward a shared goal. One game that jumpstarts this process is One Word Wonder. To try this one, you need to:

 

  1. Give your team a question, like “what is our company culture?” or “what is the best thing about working at our company?”
  2. Ask them to come up with an answer.
  3. Challenge them to reduce that answer to a single word.

 

This team building exercise helps your group consider why they’re working together. It can also be insightful as you collectively analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.

Pro tip: As a manager, use this game as a unique form of feedback. Take notes, and use them to inform better how your company is communicating with your employees.

Team building activities designed with Coventry University

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In-depth team building activities

These team building activities take a bit more time but are well worth the investment.

9. Play a round of trivia

Price: $0 - $599

Time: 30 min - 1 hour

Best for: An in-depth game that is flexible for any situation.

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience for your team, you can take the time to host a trivia night. There are many ways to do this. 

For instance, there are many trivia team building games for the office if you're in person. All you have to do is pick one, gather in a room, and play. 

If you’re remote, there are plenty of virtual trivia team building options. If you’re a hybrid group, use a tool like Jackbox Games to let everyone sign onto a trivia session with their smartphones, regardless of their location.

Pro tip: Create your own trivia questions based on your team if you want to spice things up.

10. Create a coat of arms

Price: $0

Time: 30 min - 1 hour

Best for: Fostering camaraderie and unity.

If you’re looking for fun team building activities, consider creating a coat of arms for your office or team by:

 

  1. Gathering your team and brainstorming coat of arms ideas.
  2. Using a program like Aggie to collectively create the illustration.
  3. Downloading and using the image throughout your group’s activities.

 

Pro tip: Take some time beforehand to explain the purpose of a coat of arms to provide a deeper sense of meaning for the activity.

11. Play a board game

Price: $0 - $50

Time: 1 - 2 hours

Best for: Having fun and learning about each other.

Board games aren’t just for kids. There are also many team building games for adults, too. The board game option is also easy to translate to different work environments.

For instance, if you’re on-site, gather and pull out a copy of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. If you have team members dialing in on the cloud, choose a virtual alternative, like Settlers of Catan online.

Board games are excellent team building activities for small groups that need an opportunity to rest, relax, and have a few laughs together.

Pro tip: Make sure to choose a game that suits the interests of your team and isn’t too competitive.

12. Do an escape room

Price: $100 or more

Time: 1 - 2 hours

Best for: Building team problem-solving skills.

Escape rooms are an iconic team building activity. They give your group a chance to solve a problem together in real-time, under pressure

The best part is that you can do an escape room “in the flesh” and online, depending on your circumstances.

Pro tip: Regroup after the event and debrief your team on the experience. It may surprise them to see what they learned about each other!

13. Create a group timeline

Price: $0

Time: 1 - 2 hours

Best for: Discovering the history of your team members.

Timelines aren’t just tools for tracking progress on a project. They can also help you see historical progressions, including your team's.

Creating a timeline as a group is a great way to find out what major milestones matter to each of your team members. You can do this by:

 

  1. Picking a good timeline builder (there are many free options online).
  2. Sharing it with your team, either together or via email.
  3. Asking everyone to fill in 3 or 4 of the most important events of their lives.
  4. Gathering and reviewing the timeline together.

 

Building a timeline doesn’t just show you how each team member got to the present moment. It also helps outline the importance of generational differences within your group and can spark many fascinating conversations.

Pro tip: Use a group timeline activity as an unintrusive, asynchronous team building option. Create an online timeline, share the project via email, and let everyone add their items for several days.

Constructive team building activities

Each option has a distinct advantage that it brings to your team, like enhancing communication or problem-solving.

14. Find a group community service project

Price: $0 - infinity

Time: Many hours (ongoing)

Best for: Bonding with a meaning.

If you want to infuse your team bonding activities with an extra level of meaning, look for a group community service project. There are many different remote and hybrid-friendly options out there.

For instance, you can volunteer as Smithsonian digital volunteers or support the Red Cross virtually. This is a great way to combine team building activities and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Pro tip: Ask your group what kind of volunteering opportunities they prefer before choosing something.

15. Start counting

Price: $0

Time: 5 - 15 min

Best for: Practicing teamwork. 

Sometimes the easy route is the best way to go. It's even better when that route is also a free team building idea

Try counting if you want cost-effective, simple team-building activities to use before a meeting. That’s it. Okay, not really. For this one, you need to:

 

  1. Ask your team to count to a specific number.
  2. Inform them that they must take turns saying each number and no one can speak at the same time or you have to start over.
  3. See how high you can count.

 

This one is easy to play, but it requires a high degree of non-verbal communication and understanding to succeed.

Pro tip: If your team finds this activity easy, add rules, like forbidding anyone to say a second number until everyone has had a turn.

16. Give each other blind directions

Price: $0

Time: 15 - 30 min

Best for: Improving team communication.

Every team needs to communicate. If your team struggles in this area, good team building activities can help, like giving blind directions. This is another team building option that works both online and in person. All you have to do is:

 

  1. Pick an activity, like writing a letter or making a sandwich.
  2. Have one employee blindfold themselves.
  3. Have another tell them what to do to complete the task.

 

The subtle nuance of pulling this off well is an excellent exercise in clear and efficient communication. It’s also a good way to have some fun laughs.

Pro tip: Encourage the blindfolded person to do exactly what they’re told. No more, no less.

17. Have a life hack show and tell

Price: $0

Time: 30 min - 1 hr

Best for: Helping grow together as a team.

Show and tell maybe a youthful pursuit, but there are team building activities for adults that use the same concept, like hosting a life hack show and tell. All that’s required for this one is to:

 

  1. Let your team know about the event ahead of time.
  2. Have them come with one life hack ready to share with the group.
  3. Go around and present your ideas in the spirit of helping others improve their daily lives.

 

Life hack show and tells are fun. They lead to many “aha!” moments and help your team feel that they can benefit from listening to each other.

Pro tip: Consider adding themes or parameters to each life hack show and tell, like “workplace hacks” or “morning routine hacks.”

18. Host team-run “mini master classes”

Price: $0

Time: 1 - 2 hours

Best for: Building confidence in team members.

Every member of your team has a special skill set. Think about putting some of these on display as part of your office team building activities.

Ask your team members to consider putting on a short presentation or “mini master class” about something that they’re passionate about. These can be lunch and learn sessions, or they can be full-blown lectures. 

Either way, they’re a great way to display your team’s skills. They help each member build confidence and learn to communicate with their coworkers.

Pro tip: Don’t be pushy, but try to encourage everyone on your team to put on some sort of presentation.

19. Play a round of Improvised Sales

Price: $0

Time: 30 min - 1 hr

Best for: Expanding professional skills as a group.

It doesn’t matter if you’re overseeing a team of salespeople, have a salesperson in your group, or work with the sales department. Your team has a connection to sales in one way or another. This makes Improvised Sales a great way to sharpen those selling instincts. For this one:

 

  1. Have everyone randomly select something from their office.
  2. Give them two minutes to develop a sales presentation for that item.
  3. Share the presentations with the group, ending each one with a show of hands for who would buy the item.
  4. The person with the most votes wins.

 

You can also do this by splitting up into teams and coming up with Shark Tank-style presentations. Either way, this activity is a great way to develop your team’s sales skills.

Pro tip: If you want to make things interesting, don’t tell everyone what the game is until after choosing their item.

Tapping into the power of team building

Corporate team building activities are a great way to bring your team together. They help you tap into a ton of different benefits, including:

 

  • Improving communication and collaboration.
  • Boosting morale and motivation.
  • Increasing efficiencies and productivity.
  • Encouraging creativity.
  • Cultivating loyalty and trust.
  • Building confidence.

 

Leaders have a lot on their plate navigating their evolving work environments. This makes it easy to push team building off of the to-do list.

Instead, look for team building tools like Gomada to help you streamline the team building workload and tap into the incredible power of engaging in activities as a team.

If you’re interested in team bonding games and other work team building activities, we have many other resources to help you out. We’ve loaded our blog with different team bonding ideas for every situation.

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