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Last Updated on November 5, 2018

22 Team Building Activity for Work That Are Fun and Encourage Creativity

22 Team Building Activity for Work That Are Fun and Encourage Creativity

Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking organizing team-building events. Some activities can fall flat, leaving participants groaning and unwilling to get involved, but when done well, these sessions can add a lot of value to meeting or training – while letting everyone have some fun at the same time.

Here are 22 tried and tested team building activities for work that people will enjoy doing!

Icebreakers and Energy Raisers

These activities are ideal for kicking off a meeting or group training session when people don’t necessarily know all the other members in the group – or to raise energy levels when enthusiasm starts to sag.

1. Compliments

Everybody tapes a sheet of A4 paper onto their backs and the group mingles, introducing themselves to everybody else one by one and having a short conversation of around 30 seconds.

After the short chat, each person writes a secret compliment on their partner’s sheet before moving on to the next person.

At the end, participants read out some of the compliments and try to guess who wrote them.

2. Speed Dating – Things in Common

Everybody sits on two rows of chairs facing each other and must talk to the person in front of them for one minute to try to find three things they both have in common.

After the minute is up, everyone moves along one chair so that each person has a new partner and the activity is repeated.

At the end, participants give feedback about some of the more unusual things in common they discovered.

3. Line up!

A quick, high-energy game to kick off a meeting or training, especially useful first thing in the morning or just after lunch.

Explain that you will call out an instruction and everyone needs to line up as quickly as possible in the order of what you shout out.

Examples can be height, age, length of hair, birthday month and so on. Good for fast communication and interaction. Can also be done in two teams to make it competitive.

4. Memory Game

Everybody in the room has to mingle and speak to every other person for a set amount of time (a minute each is about right).

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When everyone has spoken to everyone else, the group sits in a circle. Going around the circle one person at a time, the group pools all the information they can remember about each person.

5. Guess Facts

Each person takes a sheet of paper and fills it with numbers, words, and drawings representing things that are important to them. Then in groups of about four to six, the other team members should try to guess the significance of each item.

After the group has tried to guess, the person should then reveal what each item means.

6. Three Lies and a Truth

Each person takes turn to tell the group four pieces of information about themselves, three of which are true and one of which is a lie. The rest of the group then asks questions about the four facts to try to guess which one is not true. The person being questioned has to try to lie convincingly.

This is a fun and interactive way to find out some more interesting information about group members than just their names and where they’re from.[1]

7. What’s My Name?

Put a Post-It note or similar on each person’s forehead (or a sheet of paper on their back) with a famous person’s name on it. Participants should then move around the room asking three yes/no questions to each other person they speak to in order to try to work out which famous person’s name they have.

8. The Penny Drops

Place some coins in a pot, one coin for each person in the group. No coin should be older than the youngest member of the group.

Each participant takes a coin from the pot and tells the group about something important that happened to them in the year of that coin.[2]

Short Team Building Exercises

These are good teamwork exercises that don’t take up too much time and require only a minimum of equipment. They can work well after a break to get everyone focused again or as an introduction to the next segment of the training or meeting.

9. Perfect Square

Divide participants into groups and give each group a length of rope that is tied together at the end. Instruct them to form the rope into a circle.

When they are in position, blindfold them all and tell them they now have to make a perfect square.

This exercise is great for working on communication and teamwork.[3]

10. Human Knot

Have everyone stand in a circle shoulder to shoulder and tell them to put out their left hand and grab the hand of someone in front of them. Then do the same with their right hands.

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They will now be tangled up, and the aim of the exercise is to untangle themselves within a set time limit without letting go of the hands they are holding.

Again, good for communication and teamwork.[4]

11. Tent Poles

This exercise needs you to bring a set of tent poles or other similar long, flexible poles to the training room.

Teams of about 6-8 line up and each person puts out one hand at chest level, palm down and with the index finger extended.

The pole is then balanced on their fingers. The objective is to lower it to the ground without anybody’s finger losing contact with the pole.

It’s much more difficult than it sounds and requires clear communication and cooperation.

12. Minefield

A simple exercise to set up, but one that tests communication skills.

Using a rope or similar, lay down a winding path that the person needs to walk along. On the path, put down squeaky dog toys, balloons or anything similar that will act as “mines”.

Team members will be blindfolded and will have to walk along the path avoiding the mines, guided only by their team members’ voices.

13. Reverse Charades

Rather than having one person act out the charade for the group, the group has to act it out for one person to guess.

This can have hilarious results, but also gets people working together and thinking about how to communicate ideas effectively.

14. Electric Fence

Set up an “electric fence” made of a piece of string tied between two chairs just above waist height. The aim of the activity is to get one member of the team over the electric fence (not under!) without touching it. The rule is they must have one hand in contact with at least one team member at all times.

Expect lots of discussion, experimentation, and creativity.

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15. Shipwrecked

Another classic that requires minimal equipment.

Give groups a list of items from which they can only choose five to take onto a desert island. They have to discuss the possibilities and then explain their decisions.

This exercise is very easy to extend with lots of scope for follow up activities – like having them act out the situation, changing team members, telling them they need to choose a team member who “won’t make it” etc. Plenty of room for creativity on the trainer’s part as well as of the participants.

Advanced Problem Solving Team Exercises

These exercises require more time to complete but are great ways to encourage teamwork, communication and creativity – and often identify leadership skills too.

16. Sales Pitch – Coffee Shop Game

This exercise is easy to adapt to your business, but the general idea is that each team of around four people should come up with a business plan and try to sell it to the “investors” (trainers).[5]

The teams are told they need to come up with a business plan for a new independent coffee shop. They have half an hour to make a plan, prepare a presentation and then make a pitch to the investors.

17. Marketing a Product

Similar to the coffee shop idea but using a product. Each group is given a random object and they need to come up with a whole marketing plan and sales pitch for that object. After a certain amount of time, they must present their plan to the group.

This activity doesn’t need to be related to your company’ business – the emphasis is on creativity and teamwork.

18. Escape Room

If you want to take your team outside for a team building activity, an “escape room” challenge is an excellent way to freshen things up and get them working together in teams.

Escape rooms require team members to cooperate to find clues and solve puzzles – and eventually escape from a room.

This activity has become very popular over the last few years and even most small towns will have a location offering it.

19. Think of a Problem

Instead of coming up with all the ideas yourself, have each group come up with an original team building exercise themselves.[6] They should think of all the details of what needs to be done and what the objectives and desired outcomes should be.

After they have finished, you can have another group try the exercise and report back or you can choose the best ones and have all groups try them out at the same time.

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20. Object Improve

Another great activity for creativity, expression, and teamwork.

Take a large bag with a range of random objects inside, the more diverse the better. There should be five objects for each group.

Without looking at what’s in the bag, the team captain takes five objects and returns to his or her group. The team then has ten minutes to prepare a short skit that features all the items. Every team member should have a speaking role.

21. Jumbled Jigsaws

Give each group a jigsaw puzzle and explain that the winner is the team that finishes first.[7] However, some parts of each puzzle are mixed with the other groups’ pieces.

In order to win, they must also find their missing pieces and somehow persuade the other groups to hand them over. How they do this is up to them and they can be creative as they like.

22. Scavenger Hunt

A classic, but one of the best and most adaptable.

Give each team a list of tasks to complete and a time limit within which to complete them. You can choose anything, but try to include a selection of longer tasks, shorter tasks, and tasks that involve them getting up and moving about – and even leaving the room and going outside. They might need to organize themselves into subgroups to complete as many tasks as possible before the time runs out.

Great for teamwork and communication – and also tends to show who the leaders are.

Final Thoughts

The best way to use this list is perhaps not to try to apply the exercises exactly as described here but to try to adapt them to your situation.

After all, you will know who you are working with – be creative with these ideas and you’re sure to find activities that are ideal for your team building needs.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Tanvir Zafar

The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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