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Has your team felt a bit disconnected recently due to the pandemic? Or, maybe everyone just needs a pick-me-up after a tough year. Whatever the reason, team building is the great equalizer around the office because it allows everyone to let loose and be silly. Have fun with everyone, get to know each other, and maybe learn some new skills! Check out some of the ways you can strengthen your team from within.
Hey, team building planning is a feat in and of itself. You don't have to be a hero! We're here to help with some suggestions of places that can design and implement your own team building day. Some of those include:
Let your team flex their creative muscles! These activities call for collaboration, quick-thinking, and, of course, creativity.
This can either be competitive, or just for fun depending on your team's style. Break your team into small groups. Those who are leading the meeting will be considered the Sharks, while the groups become the "pitchers." You can either assign each team an item to pitch, or you can ask your teams to pitch a creative solution to a problem (real or fake). For an extra level of creativity, you could ask each team to repurpose an item around the office like a stapler or Post-Its and pitch the "new" product. The goal for each team is to get the Sharks, and possibly other teams, just as excited about their idea. Encourage the teams to come up with presentations, skits, drawings, etc. Each team can try to make everyone else laugh or genuinely impressed with their idea. If you're being competitive, you can choose the winning team, or you can simply use this as an exercise to promote the marketplace of ideas!
Create Your Own The Office Mockumentary
Don't worry, you don't have to hire a film crew for this activity. For a very simple example, you can give your team a scenario of an Office-worthy event at YOUR organization. Then, you can set up a phone and have everyone come in one-by-one to record their personal Office-style talking head reaction. Have everyone watch the videos and giggle together. For a more in-depth version of this exercise, the team could collaborate to either create an entire scene or an entire episode. The team could use a classic framework like "The Dundies," "Fire Drill," or "First Aid." The point is to have fun with it and hopefully learn some things about each other.
The "Suddenly" Story
The best way to convey a twist in a story (depending on who you ask) is to use the word "suddenly." Have your team sit in a circle or around a table, and have one person start to tell a story about anything. After 3 sentences, the person says "Suddenly...," which prompts the next person to continue the story for the next 3 sentences. The group will try to build upon the story with each turn while diverging from the previous person's thought process. This exercise calls for quick thinking and listening skills to make sure that the story, while hopefully ridiculous, follows a series of events.
Team Building Rooms
If your group is willing to travel, they could have the best work day ever! Get out of the office and create lasting memories with your team. Not all of these rooms started as a corporate activity, but they work so well for coworkers and team building.
Example: Mastermind Room Escape
Escape rooms have become quite popular in the past few years. They promote problem-solving skills and teamwork while satisfying the desire to complete a task. Furthermore, if your team has been stuck on a problem for a while, this is a good visualization for the team to think outside the box. Team members can learn leadership skills and strengthen trust between each other.
A relatively new trend is making its way to St. Louis! Pinspiration goes beyond the average canvas
painting class. Get your team together and create
something to decorate their desks, the office, or their own homes. If your team needs a bit of freeform expression, try the Splatter Room! Get messy, throw some paint around, and call it art!
If your team has been through a stressful or particularly busy time, they may have some pent up rage. Allow them to release their inner beast and just smash stuff! Rage Rooms allow for some therapeutic stress relief in a safe environment. As long as you make sure your team follows the rules, they will have an absolute blast!
Quick Team Building Activities
If you're looking for something quick to do at the beginning of a meeting or a conference to wake up people's minds, try some of these!
Inspired by: TINYpulse (Called "Don't Smile")
Have a bowl full of slips of paper with dad jokes written on them. "Dad jokes" are cheesy or corny jokes that usually make people groan and roll their eyes. Sometimes, though, they can be pretty funny! Have your team approach the bowl two at a time and face off in a competition to see who has the last laugh. Each person pulls a random joke from the bowl and looks each other in the eyes while they tell their joke. The first person to laugh has to sit down, and another team member takes their place. If they both laugh, then they are both replaced. However, if no one laughs, both people will draw again. The game ends when there is one last person standing, not laughing. For expert mode, you could also disqualify people for smiling.
Grab some paper or whiteboards and some pictures (either some of your own or some from online). Split the team up into pairs and have them sit back to back. One person has the paper and utensils (pencils, markers, etc.), while the other is holding the picture. The person with the picture has one minute to describe the picture they're holding while the other person draws it. The catch is the picture can only be described indirectly, meaning they can't say exactly what's on the picture. If they have a picture of an ice cream cone, they could use adjectives like "cold, tasty, portable, melty," and whatnot. The more detailed the picture is, the better! After the minute is up, everyone can compare their funny interpretations. Communication is key, yet challenging, as illustrated by this exercise.
Show your team a list of 30 words on a projector screen. This list could comprise of things that relate to your meeting's topic, or they could just be random words. Ask your team to memorize as many words as they possibly can within a minute. After you hide the list, ask your team to write down as many words as they can recall. Next, have the team pair up and compile a new list with the words that the two of them remembered. After everyone has an individual and team list, you can see who had the most correct words individually as well as which team had the most correct words. Now that the bragging rights have been assigned, you can discuss the activity. Notice how everyone has their own way of working and how everyone brings different skills to the table.
Virtual Team Building Activities
2020 changed a lot, and despite the Covid restrictions being lifted, there's still a significant number of people working remotely. If your organization is still social distancing, these are some good ways to keep everyone connected.
Nominate one person to be the gamemaster. Everyone in the team will send the game master the name of a person who they believe deserves a shoutout and a GIF to match the shoutout. Team members can either say why that person deserves the shoutout, or they can just give a shoutout to someone with a related GIF. The gamemaster will then share, in no particular order, the shoutouts and GIFs that go with them. The rest of the team will vote on their favorite GIF shoutout. For teams that may be a bit uncomfortable with receiving compliments, change up the topic with something like "Best movie quotes," "My reaction when...," or "If Monday was a person."
Play a game as a group! Have the owner of the Jackbox account share their screen while everyone else connects their phones to the game. This is a great way to connect with each other and play a game that has nothing to do with work!
Aliens Have Landed!
Divide your team into groups of 2-4. Set the scene: aliens have landed on earth, and they want to know about your organization. The catch is, they can't understand what you're saying, so each team needs to come up with 5 pictures or symbols (no words) that best describe your organization. After a few minutes, have a representative from each group send the pictures in the chat. Everyone else can guess what they think the picture is supposed to represent and even vote on the best group of pictures. Try and notice any patterns or similarities throughout each group.
Whatever you choose, just make sure that everyone is on board with the exercises. If people cannot get engaged, the games will not be as fun. It's supposed to be a stress-reliever, so don't sweat the small stuff. Happy team building!