Team Building Activities
A solid team is a reliable way to have a successful company. Team building events are a great way to promote a positive work culture and camaraderie within the group. There are several advantages to preparing a team building event, and understanding how to do so can aid in the formation of strong ties, speedy brainstorming, and more productive and confident employees.
When it comes to team building exercises, it’s important to have an open mind and at least dip a toe outside of your comfort zone. Whether you like them or not, team building exercises are an unavoidable aspect of working life and are crucial to a company’s success. The personal relationships established among team members provide businesses a competitive advantage.
What is Team Building?
In the workplace, team building is the act of forming a cohesive unit that works toward a single purpose. The idea is to build trust and confidence within a team so they are more likely to work cohesively. Increased communication, planning skills, and employee engagement and confidence, are all advantages of team building.
Activities can range anywhere from the extreme, such as outdoor ropes courses, or more tame indoor show-and-tells. The idea is to have coworkers interact in ways outside of their normal office roles and build new skills together. By viewing each other in a different light, coworkers can form deeper relationships leading to a more positive work culture.
Benefits of Team Building
A positive work culture is one of the most compelling motivations for team creation. These team building activity ideas develop true relationships, deeper talks, and processing, which helps to support long-term team building. Below are some benefits of team-building events.
Boosting Team Effectiveness Through Collaboration
Team building exercises help teams understand each other better at work, which helps them develop collaboration skills. Employees have a greater understanding of each other’s skills, limitations, and interests after participating in such activities together. This knowledge allows them to collaborate even more effectively on future projects that are critical to a company’s success.
Each team is unique, and each member brings something special to the table. Your team will be able to realize its collective potential if you can encourage everyone to reach their individual potential.
Team building exercises rely on communication. Once employees are able to strengthen this skill, you will see a spillover into everyday work life. Coworkers will feel more comfortable with each other to reach the degree of improved dialogue that your company needs to thrive. This increases efficiency in the workplace, which let’s be real, what we are all striving for.
Improved Individual Abilities
You’ll be able to develop greater leadership in the workplace by working together in team building exercises. People will be able to play off of one another’s abilities and begin to appreciate one another as partners. Knowing where your coworkers can excel can help you build a stronger team culture and promote development.
Encourages Healthy Competition
It has been proven that competition boosts productivity. It takes time to learn to work effectively with others, but you’d be amazed how quickly teams can come together when there’s a stake in the game!
Reinforces Positive Company Culture
Company culture is the beliefs, practices, objectives, and attitudes that your company environment promotes. It helps to define your company’s personality. Job searchers place high importance on a company’s culture, and according to Indeed, 46% of those who contemplated a position but did not apply, forewent the application because they didn’t believe that it aligned with their cultural values.
Regularly held team-building activities, helps companies create a positive work culture and provides management with a better understanding of their employees’ needs and goals. When management’s culture clashes with that of the workforce, finding a middle ground is critical to fostering a more favorable work environment.
Types of Team Building Activities
Both indoor and outdoor team building activities have some fun pros discussed below.
Indoor Team Building Activities
These activities will likely take place during regular business hours. While there are always anomalies, it seems that if a company sends you on a team retreat, you’ll most likely spend the majority of your time outside, rather than in a conference room.
As a result, indoor activities may require less physical activity, but don’t let that dissuade you from making indoor activities still stimulating and fun. Think of the goal as to develop communication, trust, and cooperation.
Let’s have a look at some indoor team-building exercises:
Stories from Around the “Campfire”
A timeless activity that encourages storytelling and strengthens listening skills. Teams form a circle in which they discuss their experiences (professional or personal!) Stories are a great way to learn some fun facts about that coworker that you’ve been sitting next to for three years but didn’t realize they also spent that year abroad in Barcelona!
This game allows for any number of participants. Try to limit this activity to 5-minute story segments or you may start to lose the attention of some of the participants. Throw in some snacks or sugar to keep it fun!
Goal: Informal training that encourages participants to share their experiences and establishes common ground.
How to play?
- Create a list of “trigger” word or phrase that may be used to start a storytelling session. Consider phrases like first day, work travel, university, collaboration, birthday, and so on. Put them on post-it notes.
- Draw a line down a whiteboard. Place all of the sticky notes from your “trigger list” portion of the whiteboard.
- Select one trigger word from the sticky notes and have a participant recount an experience using it. Then shift the sticky note you’ve picked to the opposite side of the whiteboard.
- Ask others to scribble down terms that remind them of similar experiences as the participant recounts their own. These words should then be written on sticky notes and pasted on the whiteboard.
- Continue until you’ve created a “wall of words” with interwoven stories.
A group of people may loosen up and share their experiences by participating in a storytelling session centered on work-related anecdotes.
Spectrum Mapping organizes the many points of view on an issue into a spectrum. This can lead to new ideas and demonstrate a team’s diversity of viewpoints. It may also inspire those who might not ordinarily speak out to join, such as those with uncommon viewpoints.
The number of participants ranges from 5 to 15 people. Takes 30-60 minutes to play. The goal is to express and share a variety of viewpoints.
What to do and how to play?
1. Begin by picking a few essential subjects on which you’d like the participants’ input and ideas.
2. In the center of a whiteboard, write a topic. Then, using sticky notes, invite participants to jot down their thoughts and ideas on the issue. Place these notes in a horizontal line on either side of the topic.
3. Work with the group to arrange the notes as a “range” of ideas once everyone has participated. To the left, are group thoughts that are comparable. Outlying thoughts should be placed to the right.
4. Repeat until you’ve organized all of your ideas into a “spectrum,” with the most popular ideas on the far left and the least popular ideas on the far right.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good old-fashioned quiz game? You will divide the room into two teams. This works on developing communication and problem-solving skills within a group. The idea is to foster critical thinking and a healthy competition between the teams.
What to do and how to play?
- Write 5 to 6 topics on sticky notes and place them horizontal across the top of a white board. Topics can range from Company History to Metal Bands of the ‘80s. Fill the board with questions pertaining to each category. Or, if building a game board with a computer, use this template from JeopardyLabs.
- Have teams take turns choosing a category question. Whoever “buzzes” in fast enough is able to guess the answer.
- Whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins a special “prize”. Have the prize be something worth winning! (A free day of PTO? A company-paid lunch? Ability to bring your pet to work day…ahh the opportunities!)
The objective: sketch an item based solely on spoken directions. To be successful in this game, you must work as a team and communicate well. While explaining the activity, Emphasize collaboration and communication skills.
What to do and how to play
1. Gather a flipchart, markers, and a variety of commonplace items (such as a lampshade, bicycle, etc.). Print images of items as an alternative. This game works best with things that are less evident (say, a trampoline vs a coin).
2. Form teams of 4-6 persons out of all of the participants.
3. Assign one person from each team to be the “artist.” Request that the artist take a seat close to the flipchart.
4. Turn the team away from the flipchart and hand them one of the items in your pile.
5. Based only on verbal directions, the team will guide their artist on how to draw the mystery item. They are able to describe the thing but not name it. Neither the artist nor the opposing team know what the mystery item is. The artist has three minutes to draw.
6. The team with the closest drawing to the actual object wins.
To be successful in this game, teams must delegate properly and communicate effectively. Focus your assessment on how teams selected their artists and if they were able to choose a team leader to communicate orders.
Outdoor Team Building Activities
Outdoor activities differ significantly from their indoor equivalents (besides the obvious, location!) Outdoor activities, which often are done at retreats, aren’t normally played in suits and ties. The atmosphere tends to lean more relaxed. Capitalize on the fun vibe and informality.
As a result, outdoor team-building activities are usually more enjoyable and energetic. As you focus more on helping the team get together and have a good time, the business fades into the background.
Here are some ideas for outdoor activities for your next team retreat:
Hole in Many
Another easy, enjoyable game that involves the entire team in some physical activity. The team must essentially balance a tennis ball on a tarp with holes punched into it at random intervals.
To be successful in this game, the entire team must cooperate and collaborate. Learning how to work in a group is the goal.
What to do and how to play
1. Buy a tarp and a couple of tennis balls. Cut (larger than tennis ball-sized) holes in the tarp at random.
2. Split the group into teams of 4-8.
3. Have each team stretch out the tarp between them.
4. Place one ball (or multiple depending on the difficulty level) on the tarp. The team must keep the tarp in place for as long as possible without allowing the tennis to fall through the hole.
5. The team that doesn’t drop the tennis ball wins.
6. You may also buy more tarps and have all of the teams participate in this exercise at the same time, timing their performance as they go.
Want some Active Activities for your group to enjoy:
1. Visit an Escape Room
Escape rooms are a fairly new option on the team-building scene, but one that is quickly gaining popularity. An escape room event offers great team bonding experiences. At an escape room event, a team is locked in a room and must work together to find clues, solve puzzles, and complete tasks in order to find the key and unlock the room. Escape rooms often have themes or change seasonally to create new and unique experiences. Here are a few options in the Triangle:
- Bull City Escape (Durham)
- Mission X Escape (Durham)
- Tic Toc Escapes (Raleigh)
2. ZipLine Adventure
A zipline adventure is a fun and relatively inexpensive team building event option. You can keep it very simple and complete the basic zipline course or you can go all out with teams and sign up for multiple courses. A zipline adventure not only gives teams quality time to interact informally, but competing with other teammates also can help build relationships.
Go Ape Zipline Adventures (Raleigh)
3. Head over to Duke University’s and the Botanical Gardens.
You don’t have to be a Blue Devils fan to appreciate Duke University’s rich history, beautiful architecture, and verdant grounds. A walking tour of Duke University will allow your team to get outside, stretch their legs, and learn more about the importance of this local university to the community.
Be sure to include Duke’s spectacular botanical gardens as part of your tour – the historic terraces, fish pool, and butterfly garden are not to be missed! Your group can enjoy gorgeous flowers in Spring and Summer and brilliant foliage in the Fall.
4. Volunteer for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
Nothing bonds a team quite like doing good in the world together. One of our favorite non-profit organizations in the Triangle is the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. The Inter-Faith Food shuttle is working to solve hunger and food insecurity in the Triangle through hunger relief, community health education, farms & gardens, and more. They recover 6 million pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste. They provide food assistance through programs like Backpack Buddies, Mobile Markets, Grocery Bags for Seniors, and more.
Some examples of team volunteering activities could include harvesting, weeding, planting at their main farm, packing backpacks of food for school children, and more. Click here to learn more about their team activities and schedule!
Don’t have time to plan it yourself.
Click here to contact Triangle Food Tours about setting up your next team building event! Be sure to connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
We can organize a Walking Food or a Brew & Wine Tour
Create fun memories and create stronger team relationships by treating your team to a food/brew/wine tour. A food tour offers your team the chance to connect and bond by learning, eating delicious food, and experiencing the unique culture of the Triangle together. Food tours also offer great bang for your buck, as food and beverage costs are included.
Triangle Food Tours are fantastic partners for your next team building event:
- We have fantastic customer reviews. We have a 5-star rating and are ranked #2 on Trip Advisors Top Food & Drink in Raleigh
- We have corporate events expertise and can help you plan an event that fits your team and meets your business objectives
- We are flexible and will work with you to create custom experiences for your group.
In the fall of 2022, we are expanding and creating all kinds of team building tours and outing. Be on the look out for Triangle City Tours…coming soon!
As a business owner or team leader, you’ll inspire happiness in the office and project cooperation by bringing the team together with these activities. Your team will benefit from learning how to be efficient and optimize synergy.