Building Stronger Teams: Fun and Effective Team Building Exercises
Team building exercises have a whole host of benefits to the team, the business, and the individual. But with so many different team building activities out there, it can be difficult to know which ones will be the most effective.
Below, we look into some fun and effective team building activities, that can help to boost team morale and improve communication.
Do team building exercises work?
Team building exercises are important for a number of reasons. They help to build a sense of camaraderie among the team. This can then result in better working relationships and more productive, efficient work.
Team building activities can help to improve the communication amongst the team. When people are able to practice communicating during the exercises, they can take these skills into the working day.
Team building also helps the team to get to know each other. They can identify each others’ strengths and weaknesses, which can make for more efficient working. They’ll know who will be best to deal with certain situations and challenges. It can also help to identify potential leaders and help to find the best role for each person in a team.
Quick team building exercises
Incorporating quick team building exercises into your regular workday is a simple way of building team bonds. Below are a few team building exercises you can include in your team meetings or daily stand-ups.
Solve a brainteaser
This can be a fun exercise at the beginning of a meeting or if you’re waiting for people to attend. Give your team a brainteaser or riddle to solve. Set them a time limit and ask them to talk through their reasoning out loud. Ask that everyone contributes in some way before they decide on an answer.
Once the time limit is up, you can take a minute to reflect on the process. Who spoke up first? Who needed encouragement to contribute? Who solved any debates that arose within the team? This can help people to identify their strengths and also note where they might need to improve for better communication.
Highlight, headache, horizon
This team building exercise allows the team to celebrate and recognise their achievements, ask for help from their colleagues, and keep everyone updated with the latest news. It’s a great team building activity to include in your weekly or monthly team meetings.
With this activity, each team member should briefly explain a recent highlight, headache, and what’s on the horizon. So, they’ll discuss a positive work event that happened to them recently, such as an accomplishment or target they reached. They’ll also talk about a challenge they faced, and how they overcame it, or ask for help if the challenge remains. They’ll then tell the team about something they’ve got coming on the horizon, such as a project they’re excited about or that may require team collaboration.
It can be best to keep these brief, especially if you have a large team. But even so, it allows for better collaborative working amongst the team, as well as providing a platform for achievements to be celebrated. It can help to ensure no one feels isolated if they are struggling with something at work and need the team’s assistance.
A compliment circle is a quick and simple way to boost team morale and build better connections. It’s something that can take place at the beginning or the end of a meeting and needs to only take up around five minutes.
You can conduct this by asking each person to give the person on their right a work-related compliment, such as a recent achievement of theirs, or how they handled a challenge that came up.
Alternatively, you could open up the compliment circle for anyone to shout out someone who deserves a compliment. It might be that they’ve worked with a colleague who produced especially good work, or it might just be that someone helped to boost the team’s mood during a tough time.
A positivity wall is an ongoing project that helps to build connections between the team and keep good morale. You will first need to choose the location of your positivity wall - ideally, it will be in a communal area where everyone can see it, such as a breakroom or kitchen.
Your positivity wall can then be decorated with all sorts of positive adornments. It can include photos of team days out, printouts of positive feedback from clients or customers, and infographics demonstrating how your team has exceeded targets.
You can use a cork notice board for your positivity wall, or a whiteboard so people can write messages and shout out their colleagues when it’s appropriate. If you’re using a large whiteboard for your positivity wall, you can use whiteboard magnets to fix printouts, leaflets, and photos to it, so everything positive can stay together.
Effective team building activities
Sometimes, you might have more time to dedicate to team building. Below are some longer team building exercises that can help to build great connections amongst the team.
An escape room is a great way of helping team to work together, communicate, and problem solve. An escape room will consist of one or a few rooms, which the participants will be “locked” into. They’ll need to find clues and solve puzzles to unlock the room and escape.
Typically, the team or teams taking part will require a leader, and this can help to identify who has the best leadership qualities. Solving puzzles together will help the team to bond and they’ll be able to celebrate winning together, or maybe commiserate losing.
If you have a large team, you may need to split into separate groups, depending on the size of the escape room. However, working in smaller groups can often help to bring the individuals who may be quieter out of their shell, and give them an opportunity to speak up.
If you’re feeling creative, you could devise your own escape room in the office. This can make it more enjoyable for the team as you can include inside jokes and activities that are specific to your team and organisation.
A trivia quiz is a simple way of enhancing your team building. It can also work great if you have remote or hybrid teams, as you can conduct the quiz via video call.
If you have a primarily remote team, you could have monthly quizzes to help the team bond and stay in touch. You could nominate a quizmaster every month, and ask them to put together the quiz with their own questions, and then host it. This can give everyone a chance to exercise their presentation skills, as well as have some informal fun.
Alternatively, you can have a trivia quiz at your annual or Christmas company event. In this case, you could split the participants into teams of around five or six people. This allows them to collaborate, communicate and debate.
A scavenger hunt is a fun and exciting team building exercise. You can choose how big or small your scavenger hunt is; you could conduct it just in and around the office, or have it take place over an entire city or town.
During a scavenger hunt, participants will need to find clues and solve puzzles in order to find the next clue. All teams will start at one location with one clue. They’ll then need to travel to different locations to find the other clues. Whoever finds all the clues and solves all the puzzles the fastest wins.
If you’re devising your own scavenger hunt, think about the kinds of skills you want to develop within your team. For example, if you want to make the team better at working together, create a riddle or challenge that can’t be solved by an individual, and will need the whole team involved to successfully complete it.
A sports day can be great for team building. It can help to encourage communication, build connections, and improve cooperation amongst the team.
You can choose to have it as formal or as informal as you like, depending on how keen your team is on sports. For example, you could have a team sports day that includes five-a-side football, running races, and tug-of-war. Alternatively, you could recreate a school sports day, with an informal rounders match, egg-and-spoon race, and a sack race.
It's important to have a mix of team games and individual competitions for your sports day. This will give everyone a chance to work together but also to cheer others on and celebrate individual wins. These will be important skills to take back to the workplace.