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Team building workshops – The ultimate list of fun and functional ideas

Leah Buchholz

Remote Expert & Jr. Content Marketer

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Free

30 min

no prep

3-10

Share fun facts and bond with a team quiz

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

Free

30 min

no prep

3-10

Run a guided recognition activity

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

$$

90 min

medium prep

2-10

Organize a virtual cooking class

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

$$$

30 min

low prep

up to 1000

Hire a stand-up comedian

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

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If you’re looking for an approach to brainstorm ideas and create team moments with a larger group, organizing a corporate team building workshop is the way to go. 

Keep your workshops engaging with the recommended activities below, which can also be done online.

If you’re interested in even more team building ideas, check out our articles about team building for leadership, group activities for every workplace, how to improve communication within the team, or one of our favorites, free team building activities.

Functional team building workshops

Get started with these practical sessions that touch on different topics.

1. Retrospective session

Time: 2-3 hours

Best for: Strategic thinking; balancing to reflect and plan ahead

With this activity on Gomada, you will explore your team’s successes and challenges. Contrary to what the name suggests, the Retrospective session is not just about looking back. Arguably, the most important part is the insights for the future that result from this exercise. 

How it works on Gomada:

Sign up for free and get guided through the retrospective activity (aka Memorable Moments) automatically. No prep or moderation is required. You can learn more about the activity here.

How it works (DIY):

In small groups, discuss the following six points:

  1. What worked out well in the past, and what contributed to our success?
  2. What is holding us back?
  3. What positive things lie ahead?
  4. What challenges lie ahead?
  5. What can we do to avoid running into these problems?
  6. What concrete measures can we derive from this?

In the end, you should have an action plan for the next period that builds on your team’s strengths and weaknesses. 

2. Gratitude exercise 

Time: 15 minutes - 1 hour

What you’ll need: Sticky notes (Miro, Mural)
Best for: Saying thank you; working on motivation 

A gratitude session is perfect for learning about your teammates’ values and motivations and can help your group to think positively.

How it works:

  • Ask everybody to write down three things they are grateful for on a sticky note. Tools like Miro or Mural are great for doing so online
  • After 5 minutes, everyone shares their points with the rest of the group. If you’re a big group, consider using break-out rooms
  • Debrief how the exercise made everybody feel 

Related reading: Thankful team building activities.

3. Cross-team collaboration workshop

Time: 2-3 hours

What you’ll need: A document for collaboration & to record your results
Best for: Improving communication and collaboration across departments

One thing that often falls short in the daily work is cross-team collaboration. We quickly get used to working with the same people, so this activity is great to break your team out of their rut. 

The workshop comes with a bit of preparation as you’ll have to prep some topics that your team members can discuss. A few days before the session, let everyone vote on their preferred subjects and divide the team into smaller, cross-functional groups accordingly. You can ask the groups to talk about their assigned themes or prepare specific deliverables in the workshop.

4. Cross-cultural collaboration workshop

Time: 2-3 hours

What you’ll need: Bias test
Best for:
Learning about and celebrating cultural differences

Whether your team is already super multicultural or not quite yet – it is essential to learn about inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. One of the best ways to start is by addressing your own biases. 

For this workshop, ask your teammates to take a test about their hidden biases for their awareness. Then hold a discussion about different biases and stereotypes. Let team members express their feelings, talk about their experiences, and encourage active listening.

Pro tip: You can find great resources online to get started, for example, discussion guides or starter questions. Nevertheless, if you don’t feel comfortable leading such a discussion, invite a coach or academic researcher who are expert in the field. 

Energizers for team building seminars and workshops 

If you’ve ever participated in a workshop that went on for hours, you know how exhausting it can get. Keep that in mind and schedule some breaks with these energizers. 

5. Song association 

Time: 10-15 minutes

What you’ll need: A set of words
Best for: Quick thinking and re-energizing

What’s more energizing than music? This game is all about songs, more specifically, their lyrics. Players are given a word and quickly have to sing or say lyrics that contain the term. If you’re especially bold, limit choices to a single genre.

How it works:

  • Download the app or use a random word generator. Only you should see the list.
  • Start the game: Say the first word on the list to the first person. They now have 10 seconds (5 for increased difficulty) to come up with matching lyrics.
  • Repeat until everyone has had a turn or do several rounds.

Pro tip: Turn it into a challenge and eliminate team members if they don't react in time until only one music champion is left.

6. Brain teasers

Time: 10-15 minutes

What you’ll need: Different riddles
Best for: Collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking

Brain teasers are great games for practicing abstract thinking and reminding your team members to try different approaches when they feel stuck. Since everyone works together to find the solution, the activity also encourages teamwork and team morale.

Our top picks:

Which day is tomorrow if the day before yesterday was the day after Monday?

→ Friday

The numbers from 1 to 9 were rearranged. Which principal does the new order follow? 8 5 4 9 1 7 6 3 2

→ Alphabetical order

What do these things have in common? Swiss cheese, bowling ball, donut

→ all have holes

Earth, book, inch,

→ all are types of worms

7. GIF challenge

Time: 10-15 minutes

What you’ll need: A digital collaboration board
Best for: Creativity and brightening up the mood

If your team is like us and constantly sends GIFs in the group chat, you’re in for some laughs with this challenge. 

How it works: 

  1. Prepare some fun and light-hearted phrases and add them to a digital whiteboard. You can keep them work-related, like ‘me in the last meeting of the day’, or use random scenarios, like ‘looking at the weather forecast and it only shows rain’. 
  2. Invite everybody to the whiteboard and ask them to find gifs that match the phrases.
  3. Vote on who had the funniest or most accurate ideas. 

8. Desk yoga 

Time: 10-15 minutes

What you’ll need: A chair
Best for: Fixing bad posture and clearing the mind

Sitting at a desk all day is notoriously bad for your posture. Create some relief for your teammates by incorporating a quick desk yoga session. The exercises are easy to follow so that everyone can participate in this light sports activity together.

You can find tons of guided sessions online, but we’ve selected one of our favorites that is just over 5 minutes long here.

Fun games and activities for a team building workshop

If you're planning a full-day workshop, incorporate some easy-going activities to maintain engagement and encourage networking. Continue reading for our top selections.

9. Go on a lunch walk 

Time: 30-60 minutes

What you’ll need: Mobile internet connection, lunch
Best for: Socializing & Communication

Sharing a meal is a very social activity, perfect if you’re looking to build deeper bonds with your team. Going on a lunch walk has several advantages. You’ll make everyone get up from their desks and move, which is excellent for concentration and energy. When you see your coworkers walking about their neighborhoods, it's natural to start talking about their favorite sites, daily routines, and hilarious anecdotes. This puts peeking at someone’s zoom background on a whole other level.

If lunch is prepared (either individually or through a provider), all you need to do is hop on a video call, start walking and let the conversation flow. 

10. Create a podcast 

Time: 2-3 hours

What you’ll need: Microphone or headphones (ideally), phone, notebook, Audacity (free)
Best for: Creativity & collaboration

Have your employees turn into radio stars by creating a mini podcast series. You can decide whether you want to specify topics or give free rein to the creativity of your teammates.

How it works: 

  • Divide the team into small groups
  • Ask them to create a script and develop different roles
  • Let everyone record their podcast. It’s easiest to record a video call
  • Download Audacity or any other audio editor and finalize the podcasts

11. Do a presentation skills training

Time: 90 minutes - full day

What you’ll need: A course or coach

Best for: Public speaking and confidence

On average, people speak several thousand words a day, but many of us still get puzzled when speaking in public. By practicing their presentation skills, you can help your employees feel more empowered to speak in front of an audience.

Choose whether you want to do an on-demand course, which is lighter on your wallet, or hire a coach for a more personalized training session. And you’re ready to go – no preparation needed. 

The best thing is that when presenting the findings of the functional sessions, your team can immediately apply what they've learned.

12. Play some online board games

Time: 20-60 minutes

What you’ll need: Online board game arena
Best for: Light-hearted fun

This activity is used best to end the day as its main objective is to have fun. Depending on the game, it can also foster healthy competition and tactical thinking and spark interesting conversations about non-work-related topics. Pick your favorite board game, ask everybody to sign up (for free), and gooo.

How to conduct a team building workshop 

Organizing a team building workshop doesn’t have to feel like rocket science. Pick a variation of activities from our list above, add them to a schedule, and send invitations to your team. There you have your team building workshop agenda. Well, almost. Before you get going, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Read the room. If you don’t already have a clear objective for your workshop, start by putting out your feelers or conducting a survey or poll to see what kind of workshop your team would benefit from. 

  1. Come prepared. Be sure that everybody can participate, whether that means clarifying technical requirements in advance, organizing that all team members have the necessary equipment, or providing various lunch options.

  1. Keep it fun and professional. Team building workshops are a great way to build deeper connections and develop as a unit. Some activities can get more personal than the regular day-to-day work. Ensure that everybody’s boundaries are respected. 

  1. Take breaks. While you probably want your workshop to be uber-productive and jam-packed with activities, make sure to include enough breaks and allow your group to have some downtime. 

Now that you know what to look out for, let’s build your workshop!

Team building agenda, names, and descriptions

What’s a good agenda for my team building workshop?

Twice a year, our Gomada team comes together from all over Europe for a team retreat. This usually includes 3 full days of workshops. So by now, we have a pretty good handle on planning a team building workshop agenda.

If you're still stuck, take a look at our agenda for a typical day: 

8.45 a.m. - Warm-up (energizer)

9.00 a.m. - Opening words

9.15 a.m. - Breakout group sessions

10.30 a.m. - Short break

10.45 a.m. - Continuation breakout group sessions

12.30 p.m. - Lunch break

1.30 p.m. - Breakout group sessions

3.00 p.m. - Coffee break + energizer

3.30 p.m. - Presentation of outcomes with all groups

4.30 p.m. - Team building game

Our tip: Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible, but also check in with your team throughout the day to see if they need more time for specific tasks or perhaps a longer break here and there. 

Ideas for workshop descriptions, names, and titles

Unless you work with a workshop provider who can write them for you, you should come up with the name and description with your team.In case you get stuck, think about how you’d explain the workshop to a close colleague (or meet with them and record your explanation). Put that to paper and boom, 80% of the work is done.

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