If there’s one secret to enhancing your team’s productivity and maximizing efficiency, it’s team-building activities. Imagine working in a company where team members barely collaborate, water cooler conversations are a foreign concept, and everyone’s working in isolated silos. You wouldn’t like it, and neither would your business KPIs. 

In fact, statistics show that workplace isolation can lead to a 21% drop in performance and productivity

One of the biggest challenges of both a virtual team and an in-person team lies in bringing everyone together.

This is where team-building games shine.

Let’s take a look at nine amazing activities you can do with your employees to have some fun and boost morale.

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1. Virtual Escape Room

Nothing brings people together like locking them in a room without any gadgets and only one way to escape. A good old-fashioned escape room will put your team’s creativity to the test and compel them to work together if they want to win the game and get out of the room. The best part about an escape room is that you can play it both virtually and offline.

Take a peek at what a virtual escape room adventure will look like here!

How to get started

The standard rules for all escape rooms include a storyline that matches the setting. Participants receive clues or riddles they need to solve to get the key to opening the chamber and ‘escaping’.

Finding a virtual escape room is easy. Shortlist the best escape room options that meet your employees’ interests. Here are some cool virtual escape rooms you can try:

  • The Grimm Escape: Set in an enchanted forest, you have to escape an evil witch’s charm.

  • BrainChase: This is the perfect escape room if you want to add a hint of learning to your team-building activities.

  • Hogwarts Digital Escape Room: Bring all Potterheads together for a fun-filled night among the wizards!

Ideal for: Small teams of 5-10 people

Duration: Anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes

Recommended mode of playing: Virtual

2. Shark Tank

Pitching unique business ideas in a Shark Tank-like setup is a great way to spend a post-work evening with your team and spotlight their creativity and innovative ideas. In highlighting your employees’ hidden talents, this activity can also promote skill-building, strengthen brainstorming abilities, and lead to discovering some awesome, new ideas.

How to get started

The rules for Shark Tank are simple. The setting will involve a group of investors, also known as the “sharks,” and small teams of 2-4 people making the pitch.

Every team or pair will develop a fictitious business idea and pitch it to the investors. The teams need to be creative in both their ideas and pitches to wow the panel and win the most significant investment. 

The teams will also present their marketing plans, projected roadmap, and profits to convince the investors to hand over ‘capital’ in exchange for a percentage of their fictitious company. While it’s a game, you can set incentives and hand out rewards to the team that wins (or the top three teams) to drum up in interest and excitement.

Ideal for: Teams of up to 24 people

Duration: 90 minutes

Recommended mode of playing: Virtual or in-person

3. Create a documentary or a mockumentary

A fun documentary or mockumentary is a perfect activity for everybody on your team to get to know each other a little better while having tons of fun. You can make a highlight reel of your workspace with humorous, sarcastic, silly, serious, or fun snippets from everyone’s day. 

The idea is to have tons of fun while incentivizing teamwork and collaboration to create the film. Once it’s wrapped, plan a big release for everyone to come together and enjoy the mockumentary with snacks and drinks.

Here’s a mockumentary about Adobe’s origins covering their journey from the beginning.

How to get started

A documentary or mockumentary will feature short clips from the day along with talking heads where some employees share their views on incidents from the workday. It can also include random videos from your workplace or your employees’ at-home workstations.

Here’s how you can implement this activity: 

  • If you’re working in the office, record some good moments of the day. 

  • If you’re working remotely, ask your employees to record videos of themselves at work. 

  • Combine them into a short movie and hold a big premiere.

 Ideal for: Teams of up to 10-15 people.

Duration: As long as needed. 

Recommended mode of playing: both; Virtual and in-person.

4. Salt and Pepper

More than 50% of employees believe a sense of community is crucial for staying at a company. So, if you’re trying to cultivate a high level of belonging within your team, Salt and Pepper is the ultimate game to break the ice and let them mingle.

How to get started

The logic behind this game is simple: participants have to identify their pair. First, you have to create a list of famous couples or duos, like Salt and Pepper, Batman and Robin, and Monica and Chandler.

Write down each name or item on a card and stick one card to every individual’s back. Now, every participant has to figure out what’s written on their back. They can go to any other individual and ask questions about their own identity to find the answer. Once the participant knows the name on the card, they have to find their pair.

This activity is perfect for encouraging interaction among bigger teams.

Ideal for: Large teams of 30-50+ people.

Duration: 30-60 minutes.

Recommended mode of playing: In-person.

5. Desert island

You and your team are lost on a stranded island and tasked with survival. Together, you have to make tough decisions and find the trail to get off of this lonely island.  This game presents an amazing opportunity to break the ice, uncover each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and learn to work together to solve a difficult problem.

How to get started

Break your employees up into small teams. Tell each team member they can pick one prized possession to take with them onto the island. 

Next, provide a backstory about how the groups got stranded in the desert. Explain that each group will need to figure out how to use their possessions to get off the island. 

This is a classic team vs. team activity that can promote cross-functional collaboration, trust, and coordination.

Ideal for: Both small and large groups

Duration: 30 minutes 

Recommended mode of playing: Both virtual and in-person

6. Plan a heist

You can always add a touch of pop culture to make your team-building activitieseven more exciting. A heist game night is perfect for having fun with fans of the mystery genre.

How to get started

Before everything else, define the target for your game. You can pick a target from your own office or create a fictional setting with a coveted item as the target.

Then, divide the participants into smaller groups with an elected captain for each team. To add some fun, name each team after the captain’s name—like Ocean’s 11.

Once the teams are ready, they have to plan an intricately detailed heist to steal the target. If you’re playing this online, then the most imaginative plan wins. If you’re playing in person, the first team to steal the target wins!

Ideal for: Up to 20 people.

Duration: 30-60 minutes.

Recommended mode of playing: Both virtual and in-person.

7. Build a story together

We all have a writer in us. So, why not bring out this writing genius with one of your team-building games? This activity can get your entire team together to create an enjoyable, dramatic, and offbeat story on the spot and enhance employee engagement and team creativity. Watch Adriana Girdler explain the game in more detail here

How to get started

The real fun of this game lies in the bizarre turns your story can take from the first sentence to the last. One member will begin the game with the first line of the story, and everyone else will take turns to add a line or two to the preceding sentence.

Every employee can add what they fancy and even make it a mega-crossover of multiple movies and shows. It’s a great way to have a good laugh with your team in a collaborative environment and promote light-hearted company culture.

Ideal for: Both small and large teams

Duration: 15-30 minutes

Recommended mode of playing: Both virtual and in-person

8. Virtual book club

Hosting a virtual book club is an easy way to unwind from work and bond with your team. A virtual book club meeting will allow your employees to share their personal favorites and offer recommendations, even if you don’t have any big book nerds in the team. 

It’s a great way to club skill-building with engagement and interaction. You never know, people with the same reading interests might start interacting more often or get into a thread of discussions regularly—making this activity a huge success.

Here’s an example of a virtual book club in session from the YSU Alumni Club that could inspire your own!

How to get started

Invite your employees on a call where each participant discusses one book—narrating the plot, what they like, and how it impacted them. They can also share some quotes for others to relish.

You can also host themed book club meets. Take a quick survey to find your team’s common interests and plan a themed event with costumes, customized meeting backgrounds, artisan beverages, and a food gift card. This activity will promote knowledge-sharing while giving employees a chance to mingle in the process or discover opportunities for conversation—a win-win strategy.

 Ideal for: 10-15 people

Duration: 30-60 minutes

Recommended mode of playing: Virtual

9. Tied together

Compatibility is a crucial defining factor of every successful team. Do you want to test how compatible your employees are—quite literally? The tied together game is a quirky game to pair up two team members to complete various challenges with their hands and legs tied.

These Disney actors did the “tied together” challenge, and you can take a look here

 How to get started

First, divide all the participants into pairs. Tie their limbs comfortably with cloth strips or ropes. Now, give them a sequence of tasks to complete within the office. It can include activities like filling a bottle of water or moving a chair from one point to another.

The pair that finishes all the tasks first wins the competition.

You can spice up the game with your own rules to increase the difficulty level or include company or employee-related fun quizzes in between. The bottom line is testing the players’ patience and coordination, which will ultimately help them collaborate better long after the game is over. 

Ideal for: Up to 16 people

Duration: 30 minutes

Recommended mode of playing: In-person

Conclusion

Whether you’re a group of five people working in an office or a team of 100+ individuals working remotely from across the globe, building a team bond is vital.

A well-connected team enjoys better coordination, clearer communication, and greater productivity any day. So, get the ball rolling with some of these ideas for team-building activities and have fun with your employees.

 The ball’s in your court now!

If you want to take your team collaboration to the next level, try a 30-day trial of Teamwork for free to get in the driver's seat of a truly helpful productivity tool!