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

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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 productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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