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10 Productive Team Building Activities That Actually Work

productive team building activities

Pepper’s team is a bunch of experienced professionals who have been showing stellar performance throughout the year, but lately, that spark has been missing and the team members don’t seem to be in the game.

Their workflows are just a repeating cycle of review, review, and some more reviews. The most common sight in the workplace is gloomy faces and droopy shoulders.

Now, what does this tell us? It’s time for some productive team building activities!

Workplace team building activities are a great way to boost the morale of team members and induce some positive energy into their monotonous work routine.

These fun yet challenging activities are a sure way to bring an aura of constructive energies to the work environment, consequently enhancing the productivity levels of the team.

So, here’s our take on 10 productive team building activities that actually help in developing a strong relationship among team members.

The best part? They’re all actually pretty fun.

Pro tip

Not everyone is comfortable with every activity. Choose the productive team building activities for your team as per the comfort level of members and carefully decide the ones each team member feels safe while playing.

For your ease, we’ve divided each of these productive team building activities according to the objective they fulfill.

Problem-solving activities

1. Sneak a peak

This problem-solving team activity requires very little equipment and can be performed quite conveniently without the need of a special space.

What you’ll need:

  • Legos or any kind of building blocks.

Instructions:

  • Divide everyone into 2 teams with an equal number of members on each side
  • Choose a facilitator, who’s not a part of any team (could be anyone: no special skills required)
  • Ask the facilitator to build a random structure, that can be replicated, using the building blocks
  • Make sure to keep the structure away from teams, preferably in a separate room
  • Now, one player from each team is allowed to come and look at the structure for 10 seconds, go back, and instruct the team on how to build the exact replica for 25 seconds
  • As per the defined timeframe, another player goes and takes a sneak peak of the structure, comes back, and guide
  • The process is repeated until each member of the team has had a sneak peek at the structure
  • The team that builds it first, wins!

Objective: For this activity, team members get to explore their true problem-solving skills, PLUS play with LEGOS! Who doesn’t love Legos?

Tip for the facilitator:

Make a rule that the person who comes to look at the original structure cannot go back and touch the new structure for replicating it.

2. Shipwrecked

An activity inspired by classic shipwreck stories, when implemented at workplace invokes a sense of decision making and how to get out of a particular situation.

What you’ll need:

  • Just a few printouts with pictures of some survival items (and lots of patience 😉).

Instructions:

  • Divide the participants into 2 teams (or as many as you want- you decide!)
  • Set up a small area, representing a wreckage, with pictures of some survival items in case of a shipwreck. Some of these could be different kinds of food, ropes, flares, torch, weapons, and sextant
  • Make sure the items are limited so that the teams are forced to communicate and barter
  • Now ask the teams to take 25 minutes to get all the survival items, that they think are essential, and rank them in order of their importance
  • Team members must collaborate and mutually decide the items they think they cannot survive without. They can negotiate with the opposing team to get the desired items, according to their needs

Objective: There is no winner or loser in this game (not everything is about winning now). This team building activity tests the individual problem-solving skills of a person and shows how they handle clash of views while ranking the survival items.

Warning:

The gravity of a situation can get grave when teams cannot come to mutual grounds for selecting the items, and chaos can erupt. To avoid this, each team must assign a leader who knows how to tackle complex situations.

3. Escape

 

What you’ll need:

  • A room
  • A door lock and key
  • A few clues (the number depends on how challenging you want this activity to be)

Instructions:

  • Gather a group of people (no teams this time, whew!) into an empty lockable room
  • Hide the key somewhere in the room, and spread out mysterious clues that lead to the key
  • Allocate time for the people to solve the clues and find the key
  • Enjoy!

Objective: This deceptively simple activity checks the intellectual level of the individuals and how they solve the curious clues for finding their way out of the room. This helps the managers to get an idea of how that person handles unforeseen circumstances at the workplace.

Another goal of this activity is to check how tactfully one individual collaborates with the other in finding the hidden clues.

Tip:

A great way to make this activity even more interesting is to convert the space into some interesting themes. Some of the ideas can be haunted rooms, murder scenes, theft scenario (or just use your creativity and come up with one. We leave it to you)

Productive Team Building Activities for Communication

4. Minefield

A major chunk of this team building activity focuses on team communication, trust building, and effectively interpreting the verbal messages.

Disclaimer:

No actual landmines are laid during the setting up of this activity, so don’t worry! It’s completely safe.

What you’ll need:

  • Random hand-held objects
  • Blindfolds, and
  • Good listening skills (might we add)

Instructions:

  • Find an open space and spread all the objects across the space, giving an illusion of a minefield
  • Split everyone into teams of 2 (yes, we’re back to teams)
  • One person from each team should put on a blindfold and stand at the start of a minefield, and the other person at the end
  • Now, the other person must lead the blindfolded team member to cross the minefield, without stepping on any of the objects
  • The blindfolded person cannot speak at all. Only listen! (see what we meant when we said you got to have good hearing abilities)
  • Once the blindfolded member successfully crosses the minefield, roles switch
  • To make the activity more challenging, specific pathways can be created with the objects

Objective: At the end of this activity, you can discuss the communication problems teams had to face. This can be used as an excellent source of understanding how individuals share and interpret information.

5. Just listen

No, it’s not a public appeal to listen to a famous cover! We promise it’s an actual workplace activity that really helps with building the communication skills of individuals.

What you’ll need:

  • Divide everyone into 2 teams with an equal number of members on each side
  • Cards with random topics on them

Instructions:

  • Have your team sit in pairs across from each other
  • Spread out the cards with random topics on them
  • Make one team member randomly pick a card with the pre-written topics
  • The team member who picks the card has to express his views on the topic and the other one should listen. Just listen (again, not a pledge!) and comprehend on his views
  • After the team member is done speaking, the other team member needs to summarize what he understood
  • Repeat the same by switching the roles

Objective: This activity invokes a sense of patience in you by making you listen patiently to the other person’s point of view without coming up with rebuttals. Fair enough, no?

For workplaces, it’s a great tool to analyze the open-mindedness of your employees.

Pro tip:

The topics on the cards could be the on-going problems in your organization or within your team. That way, you can get clear perspectives on what the employees feel about a particular situation.

6. Build a Bridge

Build a bridge is an interactive activity that focuses on building bridges, not walls! (See what we did there? 😉) This team building activity helps in strengthening the communication skills of individuals because teams have to brainstorm and come up with ideas to build the perfect bridge.

What you’ll need:

  • Materials for bridge building. Could be anything ranging from straws, pieces of wood, paper, pipes, or even random toy bricks
  • Measuring tapes
  • Notepads for drawing

Instructions:

  • Divide the individuals into teams (ideally two)
  • Allocate spaces to them in a way that one team cannot see another team’s work
  • Supply them the bridge building materials and clock the time
  • Now, the catch here is that both the teams are supposed to build each half of the bridge and are supposed to communicate verbally with each other the way they’re building their half
  • At the end of the allocated time, both the teams are to join their halves to complete the bridge
  • The trick here is to build the bridge as close to your opponent’s as possible

A common issue:

When the teams are building bridges and communicating with each other, they can get into conflict and disturbance can erupt. To avoid such a catastrophe, try to appoint a leader for each team responsible for all communication and conflict management.

7. Back-to-Back Drawing

We know what you’re thinking! Don’t worry, even if you’re an amateur at drawing, you can still be a part of this fun activity that is a quick take on Pictionary.

When we’re talking about Pictionary, we automatically tend to think of verbal skills of a person, and this is exactly what the focus of this team building activity is- building strong communication skills.

What you’ll need:

  • A few pictures
  • Pens and pencils
  • Colored markers
  • Sheets of paper

Instructions:

  • Make everyone choose a partner and make a team (no, you’re not getting rid of teams any time soon)
  • Have them sit back to back and give a picture to one of the team members, and paper and pen to the other
  • At this juncture, give 10 minutes to the team and ask the person with a picture to verbally describe it to the other member while he tries to draw it
  • The description of the picture must only include clues or uses of the object in the picture
  • When the time’s up, see how close the drawing was with the original picture

Objective: This quick team building activity can easily be played indoors or outdoors and is a great way to identify the communication flaws among team members.

Team Bonding Activities

8. Office Trivia

If you’re looking for a quick activity to check how observant your team members are, office trivia was specially designed for you!

What you’ll need:

  • Just a bunch of questions about your office. That’s how simple this activity is

Instructions:

  • Design a series of questions that circle around your office or are specific to your team members
  • The questions can range from knowledge about the equipment used in office, to the number of employees in a particular team, or you can even ask about birthdays of team members (Beware though! Facebook won’t be there to save you this time, buddy!)
  • The team member getting the most answers right, WINS! (Keen observation does pay off sometimes)

Bonus activity: Office Trivia for Remote Teams

For bonding of geographically scattered team members, office trivia can take a special form. Team members have to match the pictures of workstations with their respective owner. It can be a nice ice-breaker activity for newly developed remote teams.

Instructions:

  • Ask all team members to share pictures of their home offices or workstations in advance
  • Gather all team members on group chat and one by one, start sharing the pictures
  • The entire team is supposed to guess which team member the office belongs to
  • Continue until you’re done with all the pictures

Objective: If you’re wondering how sharing pictures of your personal space help with team bonding, it does so by helping the team members understand each other on a more intimate level and can help remote team members to open up in a better way.

Tip for future:

An interesting take on the remote version of the activity can be to ask questions about personal spaces of team members the next time it’s being played. For instance; whose workstation has post-it notes all over it? And so on!

9. Team Emblem

Let’s admit that one of the hardest things at workplaces is to cultivate a sense of identity among team members. This simple team building activity can help you do that! It’s an excellent initiative to bring forward something every team member can connect with and shows the collective identity of the team.

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboards and all the other stationery items required for designing an emblem, like markers, pens, tape, crayons etc

Instructions:

  • There’s no need to make new teams for this activity. The already existing teams at your workplace can participate
  • Provide teams with all the items they need for making the emblem
  • Give ample time to teams for coming up with ideas. The emblem should be a representative of the collective values of the team and what their shared inspiration is
  • Once the time up, gather all the teams and ask each of them to showcase their emblem and all other teams present should try to interpret the emblem

Objective: This team bonding exercise is a great way to bring out the creative juices of your team members. They must work together to design an emblem for their team identity. It also promotes bonding through sharing of creative ideas and builds a stronger sense of team cohesiveness.

10.  Team Jigsaw

We all remember playing with jigsaw puzzles during our childhood days and how we would all get excited with them. If you’re one of those people who were and still are enticed by jigsaw puzzles, you’re in luck, because we’ve just added jigsaw puzzles to our list of productive team building activities.

For successful completion, you have to bring your ‘puzzle completing’ skills to work with you.

What you’ll need:

  • Boxes of a jigsaw puzzle

Instructions:

  • Make two teams and hand each team a box of puzzle
  • A trick here is to mix just a few pieces of one box with the other (Shh, don’t tell the teams)
  • Give the teams a time limit and ask them to start solving it
  • Once they begin working, they’ll realize there are some missing and some extra pieces in their puzzle
  • Eventually, they’ll figure out that they need to work together to solve their respective puzzles
  • Ask the teams to work together until the puzzles are solved within the specified time limit

Objective: In this process of solving puzzles, teams will learn how to work together and communicate effectively.

Your turn now!

That covers our list of productive team building activities! It’s your turn now to use them according to your goals and team needs.


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