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HomeEmployee experienceThe 21 top team-building activities for work (2023)

The 21 top team-building activities for work (2023)

Last updated

16 September 2023

Author

Claire Bonneau

Reviewed by

Lara Leganger

Teams who work well together, grow together. Is your company doing enough to foster communication and collaboration within your team of colleagues?

Long gone are the days of showing up to the office, making a bit of small talk with your coworkers, and then putting your head down to work.

Many companies are now encouraging (and spending money and resources on) team-building and community activities, knowing these efforts will pay off in improved productivity, company morale, and workplace culture — and the results speak for themselves.

Research shows that companies with a fully engaged workforce (i.e., with co-workers who communicate and socialize with their teammates regularly) can generate twice the revenue compared to those who opt out of team-building activities.

So, how can you improve your team’s collaboration and communication skills? Read on for some of our absolute favorite team-building activities for work — there is something for any team size!

Why team building is important

In 2023, the definition of the workplace has stretched and morphed to include a variety of settings and circumstances. From busy offices to remote home setups, the modern working landscape offers many challenges for teams looking to get to know each other on a deeper level — and as a result, putting in the upfront effort to achieve this goal has never been more important.

No matter the size or location of your core team, getting to know each other above the professional small-talk level is essential for higher-quality work and effective workplace relationships.

By choosing to invest in their teams’ social and professional well-being, companies that participate in ongoing team-building activities experience many advantages.

Improved team productivity

Teams that are comfortable with each other through intentional communication and problem-solving activities are more likely to produce higher-quality work together. Happy coworkers are more efficient and productive, and as a result, companies that invest in team-building activities are more likely to experience improved productivity margins compared to those who don’t.

Reduced team friction

Every team experiences workplace friction, especially during periods of stress and longer working hours. While it is common for teams to have disagreements, colleagues who have taken the time to get to know each other and build communication skills are less likely to fall into this ineffective, negative style of working together.

More team creativity and openness

We all feel more comfortable and willing to share our opinions and ideas with people we can trust. In workplaces where this practice is not prioritized, it is easy for great and creative ideas to get brushed aside (or not brought up at all) due to a lack of effective communication channels. 

Teams who participate in team-bonding activities are more likely to be open and willing to hear new ideas and options. As a result, they can produce more interesting and effective work.

Increased employee loyalty

Companies with high employee turnover are rarely focused on team-building and collaboration. To combat this expensive and unproductive side effect of poor company work culture, teams should regularly participate in fun activities designed to make people feel valued, heard, and involved with their coworkers.

When this occurs, turnover percentages go down — and that’s a win for everyone.

A more enjoyable working environment

Team-building activities encourage coworkers to move to surface-level small talk and get to know each other on a more personal level. When this type of communication becomes the norm, the workplace culture improves. This helps to keep top workers on your teams and attract other amazing people to join your mission.

21 of the best team-building activities

Developing a strong, supportive team doesn’t happen by accident — it requires time, effort, and planning. Help your colleagues turbocharge their teamwork and collaboration skills by organizing some of these top team-building ideas:

Meeting activities

We’ve all been in our fair share of awkward, impersonal meetings. Avoid this (and boost the morale and productivity of your team) by incorporating some of these fun team-building activities for meetings.

Two truths and a lie

Duration: 15–20 minutes

Participants: 2+

Designed to: Break the ice, enhance team-member bonding

As an easy-to-organize and low-pressure game for teams of any size, ‘two truths and a lie’ is an introductory game that involves each participant sharing three statements about themselves. As the name of the game suggests, two of the statements are true and one is a lie. The group gets to discuss and decide which is which (and get to know each other better in the process).

This is a great activity to kick off a longer meeting or seminar, or can be done during meeting intermissions.

Play a pairing game

Duration: 20–30 minutes

Participants: 6+

Designed to: Improve group communication, encourage exploration

Using a list of famous pairs (e.g. celebrities, food, or something specific to your company’s work niche), stick one item to the back of each player. Set a timer, and have the players ask questions to identify who or what they are, ideally only using yes or no questions. Once they figure this out, they need to find their other half — and the first pair to match up wins!

Run a visualization session

Duration: 5–15 mins

Participants: 2+

Designed to: Unify team members, focus energy on a particular task

In a quiet room, have your team sit in a circle and close their eyes. Acting as a guide, lead your team through a visualization exercise for a particular task on the work horizon. Ask questions like, “How will it feel when we complete this task?” or “How can we get from here to where we need to go?” Afterward, encourage your teammates to share their thoughts, creating a stronger sense of unity and direction.

To best share everyone’s opinions and thoughts, key visualizations, themes, and words can be written on a whiteboard during this activity.

Solve riddles or word puzzles

Duration: 5–10 mins

Participants: 2+

Designed to: Inspire out-of-the-box thinking, explore teammate strengths

Divide the meeting members into small groups, and ask them to solve as many of the riddles or word problems provided within an allotted time. It’s best to use a mix of word, number, and logic puzzles to truly challenge your team in different ways.

Whenever possible, group together people from different areas of the business to combine skill sets. The team who solves the most problems in the given time wins.

Work-day activities

Company-wide teamwork is important for fostering a welcoming and inviting workplace. With this in mind, we recommend trying some of these fun team-building activities for work.

Dress-up days

Duration: 8 hours

Participants: As many as possible

Designed to: Inject some fun into the daily routine, allow team members to be creative

Who doesn’t love the opportunity for a bit of dress-up? As an easy way to create fun at the office, encourage your colleagues to dress up according to a specific theme for the day.

The more creative and unique the theme, the better — it's a great way to let the crafty team members flex their creativity muscles!

Team-based board games

Duration: 1–2 hours

Participants: 4+

Designed to: Foster improved communication, develop problem-solving skills

Similar to a family board-game night, hosting a lighthearted games day at the office can help your team become better acquainted. From strategy to party games, there are many options to explore. A few of our favorites include Twister, Codenames, Scattergories, and Telestrations — encourage your team to suggest their favorite games to add to the list.

Hold an office scavenger hunt

Duration: 2+ hours

Participants: 5+

Designed to: Explore your working space, improve teammate communication

Have you moved to a new office space or do you want to get people out of their regular office routine? Hosting a scavenger hunt is one way to shake things up. Divide your team into small groups and set them loose on a hunt for clues, puzzles, and games.

The more creative the theme or clues, the better. This is a fun event for the organizers and participants alike.

Host a lunch and learn

Duration: 1–2 hours

Participants: 6+

Designed to: Share areas of knowledge, answer team member questions

Every team member brings their unique areas of expertise and experience. As an effective way to share knowledge and bond with a team, having team members host a relaxed lunch-and-learn session about their roles or skills is a great way to improve team bonding and public-speaking skills.

Don’t make this event too formal or long — aim for fun and encourage sharing sessions, not lengthy keynote speaking events.

Off-campus activities

One easy way to improve team bonding and friendship is to encourage events outside working hours. These types of events allow people to get more comfortable with their peers, with less professional pressure and expectation than can be present at the office.

Attend an escape room

Duration: 2–3 hours

Participants: 8+

Designed to: Encourage quick thinking, share leadership responsibilities

Exploding in popularity as a fun and exciting team-building activity, escape rooms are a go-to option for many business bonding events. While essentially locked in a room with your teammates, you must work together to solve complex problems as the clock ticks down.

Escape rooms offer a great and fun challenge for teams to have to work together — especially if you are new to working together.

Organize a team volunteering day

Duration: 4–6 hours

Participants: As many as possible

Designed to: Give back to the community, create a sense of belonging as a team

Volunteering for a local cause that means something to your team is a great way to boost company morale and give back to your community. Whether you choose to raise money for a charity or volunteer your time at an event, compassion-based activities are always a hit with any size team.

We recommend posting a memo about volunteering events to your team chat to enlist the greatest number of people possible. The more the merrier when giving back to your community.

Hold a book club

Duration: 1–2 hours

Participants: 6+

Designed to: Share knowledge, expand learning opportunities

Starting with creating a list of books your team is interested in reading, organize a weekly, biweekly, or monthly meeting to discuss each assigned book as a group. The goal of this activity is to hear your teammates' opinions on each book, allowing everyone to expand their knowledge and learn more about each participant.

As the book club continues, remember to encourage your teammates to suggest new and interesting books for the list.

Go to a team trivia night

Duration: 1–2 hours

Participants: 4+

Designed to: Build teamwork skills, highlight unique areas of interest within the team

As a common activity offered at local bars and hangouts, trivia night is a fun way to bond as a team. By either choosing to host your niche-specific trivia night or going to one held at a local vendor, trivia nights offer a fun way to learn more about people’s areas of interest and knowledge base. If you choose to run your own trivia night, it’s fun to incentivize your teammates with fun rewards or titles to create some extra chatter and increase morale around the office after the event.

Participate in a company intramural sports team

Duration: 3–4 hours

Participants: 10+

Designed to: Improve team collaboration, get everyone involved and moving

Intramural sports teams are an exciting way to enhance team bonding. Offering the opportunity to get moving while still engaging in team strategy and planning, recreational sports leagues like flag football, softball, floor hockey, and more are well-loved team-building activities for those who like to get outside and be active.

Even if sports are not everyone's thing, encouraging your colleagues to watch and cheer the players on is a great way to get everyone involved and boost morale.

Small group activities

Work with a small team? It’s still worth putting the effort into getting to know your colleagues. Here are a few of our top team-building activities for small groups, perfect for teams of ten or less.

Do group shout-outs

Duration: 5 minutes

Participants: 2+

Designed to: Bolster team appreciation, draw attention to high-quality work

As a quick and simple activity for the beginning of the day or after a long, grueling sprint, group shout-outs involve going around the table and calling out quality work and contributions from members of the team. Whether done in person or via a specific work communication channel, this compliment-based team-building activity is perfect for fostering team appreciation.

Complete the blind drawing challenge

Duration: 10–15 minutes

Participants: 2+ (even numbers are best)

Designed to: Improve team communication, add some fun into team meetings

Working in pairs sitting back to back, one participant has a piece of paper, and the other is given an image to describe. By giving easy-to-follow instructions (that don’t directly describe the object being drawn), each team tries to create the most accurate version of the picture, and hilarity always ensues!

Build a collaborative working playlist

Duration: 5–15 minutes

Participants: 2+

Designed to: Share team member preferences, build a collaborative resource

Is your team a big fan of listening to music while you work? As a fun and collaborative way to learn more about your teammates, set aside time to add music to a group playlist. It’s a great way to build a fun soundtrack for the office while learning more about the music your colleagues like to listen to.

Once complete, you can bump your new mix around the office during lunch breaks or team social gatherings, giving everyone the chance to hear their favorite tunes.

Create art for the office

Duration: 1–2 hours

Participants: 2+

Designed to: Brighten a group workspace, allow team creativity

Using canvases, paints, colored pencils, or other art supplies, work with your team to create a series of colorful artwork for the office. Whether you choose to stick to a creative theme, follow an art tutorial, or let everyone explore their unique artistic passions, this is an ideal way to personalize the office space as a team.

Remote team-building activities

Teams who work from home need to take time to bond, too! Using modern communication tools, there are plenty of fun and practical virtual team-building activities you can sprinkle into your company’s work-from-home routine.

Virtual cocktail (or mocktail) hour

Duration: 1–2 hours

Participants: 4+

Designed to: Build a connection between working-from-home team members, reduce workplace stress

As a common activity for in-person teams, remote employees can also enjoy the relaxing and social aspects of a cocktail or mocktail hour online. Capable of being hosted on any video-call platform, these informal get-togethers are an excellent way for employees to let off steam and chat with their colleagues about less work-focused topics.

Play online Pictionary or charades

Duration: 1 hour

Participants: 6+

Designed to: Improve communication skills, add humor into the workday

Known for being classic in-person party games, virtual Pictionary and charades are also effective at bringing people together. Available as free games online, organizing a remote games night is easy, cost-effective, and always a good time, no matter how good — or bad — your drawing or acting skills.

Remember to keep the tone and energy of these events light and fun. Critiquing people’s art and acting skills is not an effective way to create a safe and friendly working environment.

Do a surprise PowerPoint presentation

Duration: 30–45 minutes

Participants: 5+

Designed to: Practice public-speaking skills, keep your team on their toes

Have each team member create a short, five-slide presentation on a light-hearted or funny topic. Then, during the activity, have your teammates switch presentation decks live so that they give a short, funny presentation based on slides they have never seen before. This is a must-try option for sales and marketing teams who regularly give presentations as part of their jobs — and it’s an effective way to sharpen your improv skills as well.

Schedule 15-minute coffee chats

Duration: 15 minutes

Participants: 2+

Designed to: Allow teammates to get to know each other, offer small work breaks

Either randomly assigned or by using the Slack plug-in Donut, team members across the company can be paired off for a 15-minute virtual coffee call.

The goal of this activity is to allow remote workers to get to know people from other teams while improving the connection between people throughout the entire company. It’s an easy way to reduce stress and allow people to chat and mingle with those they may not speak to regularly.

Choosing the right activities for your team

In the modern workforce, team-building and bonding are essential for creating a work culture your teammates want to participate in. Gone are the days of only making small talk with your colleagues at the water cooler — it’s time to go above and beyond to foster a collaborative, productive, and enjoyable workplace.

No matter the size and location of your team, there are always ways to improve your working relationships in fun, creative ways. We hope this guide has given you some interesting ideas to explore for your next team-building event or meeting (and that your team gets to know each other better as a result).

Happy team-building!

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