35 Insanely Fun Team Building Activities For Work (“Trust Falls” Not Included)





  • August 31, 2016

    Team building activities for work


    Believe it or not, team building activities for work are critically important to the success of your business. In fact, the personal bonds formed between team members actually give your company a competitive edge.


    How does this work? It’s all about engagement.


    There’s a pretty clear link between the personal bonds between your team members and their engagement level. A recent Gallup study found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, while people with a self-described best friend at work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged at work.


    Another Gallup study reported that engaged companies consistently outperform the competition when it comes to things like profits, productivity, and turnover. (Pretty important stuff if you ask us.)


    And it stands to reason – the closer you are to your co-workers, the happier you’ll be at work, and the more likely you’ll be to sacrifice your discretionary time to help them succeed.


    Here’s the best part – team building doesn’t have to be boring and lame!


    We asked some of the most engaged, tightly knit companies out there to show us how to do team building right. We’ve broken them down into categories to help you decide which ideas might work for your company.


    Here’s what these awesome companies had to say.



    Friendly Competition


    1. The Amazing Race


    Online HR software make BambooHR takes the competitiveness to the next level.



    Bryson Kearl“During an office retreat, teams—connected by a thin rope— ran around a local sports arena and competed in an Amazing Race-style competition. There were ten activities in total—ranging from a crossword puzzle to speed tic tac toe to a treasure hunt in an ice-filled kiddie pool.


    Teams were a mix of different departments so that employees could get to know coworkers they might not usually work with, develop team skills, and laugh … a lot.”


    -Bryson Kearl, Creative Copywriter



    Why we love it: Really, what’s not to love? An outside the box activity like this can be just what your teams needs to open themselves up to bonding with their teammates.


    2. Family Feud


    Here’s a particularly creative game from engagement software E Group Engage:



    “One morning, E Groupers took a break from our normal workday to engage in a little healthy, fun-filled competition.


    We split into teams (making sure that our regular working teams were mixed up) and played an E Group version of Family Feud–led and judged by our hilarious CFO/COO, Hans Zeigler who cracked jokes throughout.


    Each team was given a buzzer and raced against one another to answer questions both general and about E Group, the funniest of which poked fun at fellow co-workers.


    Some of the questions included: ‘Name something Frank will borrow from you’ and ‘Name the types of glasses Hans owns.’


    Our self-deprecating humor and natural competitiveness had everyone howling with laughter from start to finish.”


    egroupjeapordy


    Why love it: This unexpected tactic creates a WOW moment that teammates will remember for years to come.


    3. Go Kart Racing


    Experiential rewards platform Blueboard isn’t afraid to eat its own dogfood.


    Although, given that their “dogfood” is actually life-altering team building adventures like urban scavenger hunts and guided mountain biking tours, it’s really no surprise.


    Their most recent outing was an epic bout of go-karting. Marketing lead Morgan Chaney explains:



    morganchaney“Typically we’re testing out our own (and favorite) experience providers.


    Last week we went go-karting at KI Speedway here in the Bay Area. It was super fun because you’re competing against your coworkers for top finisher positions, top speeds, and getting to do something none of us had done for years. And we got some pretty sweet trophies at the end.”


    -Morgan Chaney, Head of Marketing






    Go team! Tearing up the track at our monthly team offsite #blueboarding #gokart #supermariobros #fastandfurious


    A video posted by Blueboard (@blueboardinc) on



    Why we love it: Morgan points out a major theme in this section – friendly competition has a fantastic way of enabling team members to let their guards down and build relationships outside of work.


    4. Board Game Marathon


    Thailand-based task management software Taskworld kicks it old school with this throwback activity.


    Head of Content Shiv Sharma explains:



    Taskworld1-Shiv“Video games are great but still nothing brings people together like a good old board game.


    Once a week, everyone gathers around for a game of Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, or Magic. We have a collection of 10 board games to chose from.”


    -Shiv Sharma, Head of Content


    Taskworld board game marathon


    Why we love it: This one rocks because it’s cheap, and combines face to face interaction with nostalgia for the classic board games from our childhood.


    5. Type Fight


    Nothing embodies the spirit of competition like head-to-head competition.


    And while a Blood Sport style tournament is probably out of the question, Smith Brothers gives us a more creative (and much safer) take on the good old fashioned fight club:



    Nora Headshot_Blog“Type Fight is a semi-monthly typography design contest, where two coworkers face off on the same letter, and the rest of the agency votes for their favorite!”


    -Nora DiNuzzo, Business Development Manager


    type fight


    Why we love it: This one has it all – friendly competition, creativity, and best of all, it’s directly related to the work that Smith Brothers does. So much win.


    6. Kickball League


    Typography is great and all, but here at SnackNation, we prefer to compete in the life or death stakes world of… adult kickball.


    SnackNation Member Success Executive Manager and kickball enthusiast Yuliya Malamud explains her love of the boot and run sport:



    yuliya“I joined our kickball league because it’s a great way to get to know my coworkers better and a phenomenal way to meet new people who don’t work at SnackNation.


    Plus, it’s fun, gives me something to look forward to halfway through the week, and helps me let my inner child come out.”


    -Yuliya Malamud, Member Success Executive Manager


    SnackNation office kickball league


    Why we love it: Kickball is great because it’s all inclusive. Anyone can play (regardless of their level of athleticism), and it brings together people who don’t necessarily enjoy happy hours or other party-oriented activities.


    Values and Culture


    7. Culture Jam Sessions


    Team building isn’t just about socializing, it’s also about bonding over shared values and reinforcing a shared company culture.


    Employee recognition software WorkStride came up with a creative way to celebrate their culture while simultaneously creating a forum where their employees can connect on a personal level. They call it the “Culture Jam.” Director of Marketing Meredith Mejia explains:



    Meredith Mejia Headshot“Company culture is incredibly important to us at WorkStride, and we know we can’t just leave it to chance, especially as we continue to grow.


    Our CEO Jim Hemmer has implemented annual ‘culture jam sessions’ where employees get together in small groups to talk about what the culture is today, where we’d like it to be, and how we get there.


    The most important thing we do is to record all the groups’ feedback and incorporate it into a culture guidebook, which is a living document that we refer to throughout the year.


    Recent ideas that were implemented included holding hackathons to encourage innovation, hosting healthy cooking classes, and scheduling brown bag lunches with leaders of departments other than your own to learn more about what they do.


    As a company who helps other organizations build better cultures through employee recognition and engagement, we take this process seriously because we preach the importance of culture to business results every day!”


    – Meredith Mejia, Director of Marketing


    Why we love it: Culture jams not only encourage employees to think critically about what kind of culture they want to create, but these ideas are ingeniously captured in the company’s cultural guidebook. Too often, the results of these brainstorms aren’t recorded, and no progress is made – despite the best intentions of everyone involved.


    8. Cultural Celebration


    Sometimes celebrating our differences is just as effective as coming together over shared values.


    Taskworld has an amazing idea for those of you who work in particularity diverse cultural settings:



    Taskworld1-Shiv“With over 15 nationalities in one office, we are never short of stories. At Taskworld we really celebrate this diversity.


    At least once a week, every team member takes part in a cultural experience involving another member of the team.


    This has created a situation in the company where the French watch Bollywood movies, Germans understand cricket, Indians eat Hungarian food … and everyone loves Thailand.”


    -Shiv Sharma, Head of Content



    Why we love it: This idea combines one-on-one dialogue (a great way to engender trust and empathy) with a celebration of diversity.


    9. The Buddy System


    The team building starts well before a new SnackNation hire enters the office. It all starts with a new SnackNational’s SnackNation Buddy.


    Yes, much like a fourth grade field trip, SnackNation operates on the buddy system.


    Director of Talent Acquisition Ray Marks elaborates:



    ray marks“Culture is incredibly important to us, and we know it doesn’t happen by accident. That’s why we created the Buddy System, to ensure that our new hires feel welcomed, comfortable, and cared for.


    “Our Buddies are team members who fully understand SnackNation’s culture and environment, have proven success at the company, and most importantly want to be a Buddy for a new hire at SnackNation.


    The Buddy’s job is to serve as a resource, a trusted confidant, and help them become acclimated with the culture.”


    -Ray Marks, Director of Talent Acquisition and Rock Stardom


    offsite


    Why we love it: The value of the Buddy System is two fold – first, it ensures that the new hire is welcomed and has someone they can trust on day one, and who can help them with all the little questions that come with a new job (how to print, where the bathrooms are, who can fix their broken keyboard, etc.). Additionally, it gives aspiring leaders a chance to develop management skills.


    10. Peer Recognition


    TemboSocial makes employee recognition polling and communications solutions for the social enterprise, so it’s no surprise that the company uses their own awesome products to keep their team connected and engaged.


    Justina Dukelow, a Digital Marketing Coordinator at TemboSocial, explains:



    IMG_9110“We use our own peer recognition program to share daily successes and achievements that we each experience in the work day.


    Some examples are to thank your colleague for all their support in a successful project launch, to recognize the hard work your colleague put in to prepare for a recent client meeting, or to say congratulations on your feature idea being implemented and receiving such positive client feedback already.”


    -Justina Dukelow, Digital Marketing Coordinator


    Why we love it: This tactic is great for so many reasons – it’s inclusive, interactive, quirky, and fun – but what we love the most is that it demonstrates the value of the company’s own product, and gives everyone within the organization a tangible sense of the company’s mission and the value their product provides.


    11. Question Friday


    Team building can be especially challenging when you have a remote workforce.


    Employee engagement platform 15five has come up with a way to keep team members engaged and feeling part of the same mission. It’s called Question Friday.


    15five VP of Customer Success Shane Metcalf had this to say:



    shane-metcalf-1-280x280“Every Friday morning our team from around the world hops into a virtual meeting that lasts about 30 minutes.


    An appointed Question Master kicks off the call by asking a thought-provoking question aimed to create camaraderie, break down walls, and allow our distributed team to feel closer.


    People reveal themselves in fascinating ways that greatly enhances the collective level of vulnerable trust, which leads to better collaboration and greater organizational health.


    Here are a few of our favorite questions that we’ve asked:



    • If you were to go back to school and get an advanced degree, what would you get and why?
    • What was a really difficult time in your childhood, in what ways did that change how you view the world?”

    -Shane Metcalf, VP Customer Success and unofficial VP People & Culture of 15Five


    Why we love it: This tactic does double duty – it’s a way to express 15five’s core values of transparency and authenticity while creating a conversation that enables team members to learn about and feel empathy towards one another.


    12. Education Day


    “Hack days” are pretty ubiquitous in the tech world – development teams are given a day to come up with a product new idea and built a prototype in 24 hours.


    Hack days do have tons of upside, but the problem is that they are geared towards developers, and don’t lend themselves to wider participation by the rest of the organization.


    Enthusiast marketplace Panjo came up with a great alternative that’s much more inclusive, and therefore more valuable. Panjo Chief Chad Billmyer breaks it down:



    chad panjo“Panjo associates participate in something we call ‘Education Day’ every quarter. All associates take the day to participate in any kind of educational activity that interests them.


    Some associates take an online course, some associates read research papers, some associate try programming in a new language.


    All team members are required to give a 60 second presentation on what they learned. We previously had a ‘hack day.’ Many companies notoriously host hack days.


    However we found that a ‘hack day’ was too developer-centric and that the projects that came out of a ‘hack day’ left much to be desired.”


    – Chad Billmyer, Panjo CEO


    panjo-stand-up


    Why we love it: Inclusivity is the key here. The best part about education day is that the knowledge and insights gained aren’t siloed, they’re shared with the rest of the organization.


    13. Sensei Sessions


    We do something similar here at SnackNation. Every monday we gather our entire 90+ member team for a personal or professional development session. We call the Sensei Session.


    Here’s a recent Sensei Session we did with bestselling author Ryan Holiday:



    Why we love it: Sensei not only helps us come in hot on Mondays, but also reinforces our commitment to growth and learning. The topics covered become points of discussion throughout the week and aid in further bonding between team members.


    14. Own It Day


    Corporate wellness tech company Limeade values ownership of the product. So much so, that they encourage product ideas to come from anywhere in the organization.


    But rather than pay lip service to this ideal, the company put their money where their mouth is by launching Own It Day, a chance for everyone in the organization to pitch their product ideas, regardless of where that person happens to sit in the org chart.



    laura hamill“Own It Day is our bi-annual internal event where employees across the company pitch, build and launch their own product improvements.


    It’s a week-long process, where we get to build our enhancements end to end. It’s just one way we bring our culture to life.”


    -Dr. Laura Hamill, Chief People Officer



    Why we love it: Own It Day allows literally anyone inside the company to do just that – own the path of innovation for Limeade’s product.


    15. Circle of Appreciation


    Engagement software E Group Engage recently kicked off their Culture Week with a “Circle of Appreciation,” a simple activity with enormous impact. E Group’s Employee Engagement Specialist, Rachel Niebeling, is part of the committee that plans team building events.


    In her Culture Week blog series, Rachel explains how the company executed this simple but powerful team building activity:



    rachel niebeling“The entire E Group staff formed a large circle, and each associate was asked to share something they appreciated about the person on their right.


    Once the circle was completed, the process reversed and we all shared something we appreciated about the person on the left.


    Sounds simple, and it was. But it was also quite powerful. You could actually feel the energy shift as we moved around the circle. This activity really spotlighted the power of appreciation.


    If your company is large, you could break the circles into departments or work groups and achieve a similar impact. Just be sure to include management and staff in every circle.


    At the close of the activity, we presented each associate with their own set of E Group thank you cards so they could continue to share positive sentiments with colleagues, vendors, or clients.”


    -Rachel Niebling, Employee Engagement Specialist


    circle of appreciation


    Why we love this: So simple, yet so effective. It can be hard to find ways to express your gratitude for the people around you, but it’s so important to do so – your culture depends on it. This exercise makes it easy.


    16. Epic Company Intros


    Complete with bullhorn, smoke machine, and Chicago Bulls intro music (circa 1990), new hire intros have become a thing of legend here at SnackNation. Spearheaded by our Director of Talent Acquisition and Rock Stardom Ray Marks, this beloved tradition keeps getting bigger and bigger. Check it out:



    Why we love it: Ray’s pageantry and over the top energy is, of course, hilarious, but the real value comes in the warm reception and feeling of inclusion that new hires have when they arrive at the company.


    Get Outdoors


    17. Team Hike


    Recognition software company Bonusly has a cure for those dog days of summer, when sales cycles seem to slow down, and it’s hard to stay indoors when the sun is shining: go exploring in your own backyard.


    George Dickson, a designer and marketer at the company, explains:



    george dickson“The Bonusly crew loves a good team lunch or happy hour as much as the next bunch, but we also try to get extra creative with our offsite activities when we can.


    We get our NYC and Boulder teams together for a coworking week about once every quarter. We take that time as an opportunity to work face-to-face on special projects, but also to bring us closer as a team.


    During our last coworking week, we all took a hike together through the Flatirons in the Colorado Rockies. We’re all pretty active, and this was a great way for us all to get out together and do something outside of the office.


    The view wasn’t too bad either!”


    -George Dickson, Marketing


    flatirons


    Why we love it: No matter where you live, odds are there’s are unique and fun outdoor activities waiting for you to discover – you just have to look. This strategy forces team members to get outside, change their point of view, and explore the amazing things their area has to offer. (It doesn’t hurt if you live near the Rockies either.)


    18. Adventure Club


    Looking for something a little more epic?


    Pittsburgh-based Smith Brothers Agency has the answer for you. Adventure Club.



    Nora Headshot_Blog“Adventure Club gets together for new activities every other week after work (hiking, biking, kayaking have been a few we’ve done so far… and we are doing one of those ‘Panic Room’ events in a week or so).”


    -Nora DiNuzzo, Business Development Manager


    Why we love it: Besides having the best name on the list, Adventure Club rules because it breaks your team out of the grind of the work week, and puts team members in unfamiliar settings, which can spur both creativity and bonding. The activities function as stress relief, team bonding agent, and idea generator.


    19. Beach Getaways


    Taskworld also makes sure to take advantage of the natural resources that their unique location has to offer. Here’s Shiv again:



    Taskworld1-Shiv“Another luxury of being based in Thailand is having access to some of the best beaches in the world. At least once a month, we pack our bags and rush to a nearby beach for a weekend.


    At the beach, we play team sports like football, have a barbecue and share ideas with each other. Some of our strategic decisions were made on a getaway like this.”


    -Shiv Sharma, Head of Content


    beach getaway


    Why we love it: You don’t have to live in Thailand – or near a beach – to make this idea work. Just about everywhere has some natural beauty or unique outdoor activity: Washington has the Cascades, Kentucky has its limestone caves, Florida its everglades. Challenge your team to explore your own backyard and see what it has to offer.


    Push Outside Your Comfort Zone


    20. Karaoke Madness


    Good discomfort is a requirement for growth – like a muscle, you need to push yourself outside your comfort zone in order to grow.


    Smith Brothers has a great team-building activity that they enact during their annual holiday parties that helps team members do just that.


    The agency goes big for these parties, which typically include a Christmas sweater/costume contest, photo booth, lunch provided by the agency, a fun activity like bowling, and an open bar.


    But the piece de resistance – epic karaoke.


    Nora DiNuzzo is back again to elaborate:



    Nora Headshot_Blog“All new members of the agency that joined in the past year are required to perform [at this epic Karaoke session], and senior staffers vote on the best performances – yes, it’s sort of hazing…but we give out quality prizes like Beats headphones and iPads!”


    -Nora DiNuzzo, Business Development Manager


    Why we love it: This karaoke session is a rite of passage, and becomes a shared experience that can help people all across your organization relate to one another.


    21. Parody Music Video


    Nothing brings a team together like leaders who don’t take themselves too seriously and aren’t afraid to look silly.


    Case in point, MyEmployees COO Adam Tarrt.


    Rather than present a typical summary of Paul Akers’ 2 Second Lean for the company’s book club, Tartt took a decidedly different tack.


    Matthew Coleman, Marketing Director at MyEmployees, breaks it down:



    Matthewcoleman“We do a weekly book club at work, and when we were rolling out a new book recently we wanted to do something special for it. So we spoofed ‘Watch Me’ by Silento.”


    The results… speak for themselves.”


    -Matthew Coleman, Director of Marketing



    Why we love it: This one worked because everyone got in on the action (even though a few of them didn’t quite know what they were signing up for). It’s the definition of “exclusive-inclusivity” – a hilarious experience that the entire team can share and bond over.


    22. Brazilian Capoeira Lessons


    For most of us, dancing is a bit beyond our comfort zones… especially a dance like Brazilian capoeira, which combines elements of martial arts and acrobatics.


    Blueboard’s Morgan Chaney describes how Capoeira helped bring their team closer together:



    morganchaney“We’ve also done group dance lessons, specifically learning Brazilian Capoeira, followed by dinner at a Brazilian restaurant. Great way to bond through mutual embarrassment in front of coworkers!”


    -Morgan Chaney, Head of Marketing






    Practicing our #ginga in #Capoeira class #blueboarding


    A video posted by Blueboard (@blueboardinc) on



    Why we love it: Team bonding requires a bit of shared vulnerability – and nothing achieves that faster than forcing team members out of their comfort zones. For most of us, group dance lessons practically obliterate that comfort zone, making this activity a fun, effective way to bring people together.


    23. Enigma Escape Room


    Another great activity from Bonusly – the Engima Escape Room:



    george dickson“We also took a trip to the Enigma Escape Room, where our team was locked in a room full of puzzles we had to solve within one hour in order to escape.


    We already really enjoy working together to solve problems and find creative solutions on a daily basis, so the escape room was a natural extension.


    It was a lot of fun running frantically around the room, each member of the team trying to piece together their individual clues to solve the big puzzle.”


    -George Dickson, Marketing



    Why we love it: This activity rocks because it engages problem solving skills and promotes teamwork all while creating an amazing shared memory.


    24. Proven – Eye of the Tiger Alarm and Push-Up Break


    Countless studies have shown that we need to take breaks in order to be productive. Our brains can only focus with maximum efficiency for 25-50 minute periods. The takeaway? You need to take breaks.


    But if the Pomodoro technique is too bland for your liking, we think you’ll like what small business hiring platform Proven has come up with:



    sean falconer“Twice a day (11:40am and 4:40pm) everyone in the company drops down and does 20 push-ups together to the music of Eye of the Tiger.


    The tradition started with just one sales person, but eventually other people on his team followed. Myself and my co-founder loved the energy it created in the office so much, we started joining.


    Eventually we created an alarm system that would play Eye of the Tiger automatically twice a day to the animation of a guy doing push-ups.


    It became so ingrained in our culture that we even stop in the middle of meetings to get our push-ups in when the time comes.


    As new people join the company, we don’t even tell them about the push-ups, but they see everyone drop down at 11:40am and rather than question it, they just join in.


    It has been a great team building tradition that helps inject energy into the office, helps break up the day, and gives everyone a little exercise.”


    -Sean Falconer, CTO and Co-Founder



    Why we love it: Besides the obvious benefit of combining a mental break and brain-stimulating exercise, we love that Proven doesn’t tell new hires about this practice.


    Get Creative


    25. Print making class at WorkshopSF


    Team building masters Blueboard shared another ingenious team building activity – one that got the creative juices flowing.



    morganchaney“For the arts and crafty, we took a block-print making class at WorkshopSF where we learned to cut stamps and print on canvas bags. Super fun way to get creative and see who on the team is secretly amazing at art and design.”


    – Morgan Chaney, Head of Marketing





    Why we love it: The coolest part about this creative team building activity is that employees get to walk away with something tangible – a shirt or a canvas bag – that will remind them of their experience and reinforce the bonds they formed every time they use it.


    26. Friday Brainstorms


    QA solution Zephyr demonstrates that by relaxing the environment for a typical brainstorm, you can boost results – and double the value.


    Brand advocate Ashley Nguyen explains:



    Ashley-Zephyr-linkedin“Every week, the marketing team gets together on Fridays to brainstorm any marketing ideas we have in a casual setting.


    Rather than a formal meeting with key deliverables to discuss, this brainstorm is more free-flowing in which we often bounce ideas off of each other over a 12-pack of Pacifico.


    Last week, we extended the invite to every department in the office. While enjoying pizza and beer, the entire office debated and put to vote which T-Shirt design the office wanted to see at Atlassian Summit, a tradeshow we’ll be attending in October.”


    -Ashley Nguyen, Brand Advocate


    marketing huddle


    Why we love it: This idea gives you a double dip – team building AND brainstorming. Value for days.


    27. Get Radical on Mt. Kilimanjaro


    As Delivering Happiness CEO and former Zappos foundational employee told The Awesome Office Show, she and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh didn’t exactly start off on the right foot. She met the entrepreneur and visionary business leader in a club in San Francisco, and thought he was a typical Web.0 party boy.


    But a Zappos mountain climbing expedition in Africa to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro changed everything.


    It was this experience that helped her overcome this initial bad first impression and cement a bond between the two that helped her partner with Tony for his book and eventually, the Delivering Happiness company.


    Listen to the episode here (skip to around 24 minutes for the story in question):



    Why we love it: Of course, you don’t necessarily have to trek to Africa to realize the benefits of pushing your comfort zones, but this story illustrates the extent to which taking on massive challenges – especially with leadership – can unite your team.


    Social Fun


    28. Throwback Movie Nights


    Blueboard has a few lower-budget ideas as well:



    morganchaney“For low-budget options, we’ve done Throwback Movie Nights where we gather at the office for takeout and 80s/90s throwback movies, and regularly take turns cooking (we have the benefit of a full kitchen at the office).


    We’ll do group breakfasts, or more swanky lunches.


    We also had an awesome time doing a thrift shop bar crawl during our March team retreat in Tahoe this year. We all picked names out of a hat, and got to shop for a very special outfit for the person we drew.


    You’d be surprised how far $ 20 will go! And it definitely made for conversation starters at our pub crawl later that night.”


    -Morgan Chaney, Head of Marketing






    Scallops, orzo and beurre blanc anyone? #blueboarding #homecooked #food


    A video posted by Blueboard (@blueboardinc) on







    #xhale #tahoeclubcrawl


    A photo posted by Blueboard (@blueboardinc) on



    Why we love it: These ideas just go to show that you don’t need to spend a lot to create memorable experiences.


    29. Classic Night Out


    Taskworld reminds us that sometimes old standbys are just as effective as epic adventures.


    Here’s Shiv Sharma again:


    Taskworld1-Shiv“Sometimes the most amazing team building activities happen when people don’t even realize that they are doing something special. That’s why it’s also important to sometimes keep things simple.


    Our office is right in the heart of Bangkok’s nightlife district and we make the most of it every Friday.”


    -Shiv Sharma, Head of Content


    Why we love it: It’s amazing how a few happy hour cocktails and hors d’oeuvres can bring people together. Don’t underestimate the power of the “classic night out” – it’s a classic for a reason.


    30. Bi-Weekly Lunch Drawings


    “Show me someone who doesn’t like a free lunch, and I’ll show you a liar.”


    Those famous words, first uttered by Abraham Lincoln during the Gettysburg Address [editor’s note: Abraham Lincoln never said this], illustrate the timeless appeal of free food.


    Breaking bread with your teammates is a fantastic way to forge bonds between team members. (Heck, it’s one of the reasons we think healthy office snacks are so important!)


    TinyPulse’s Sabrina Son shares how they do it:



    Tinypulse“A fun way we foster team-building is during our bi-weekly all-hands meeting, we do lunch drawings.


    One employee (who was previously selected for exemplifying our company values) draws a name out of a bowl and the pair gets to go to lunch on the company.


    This helps develop and nurture cross-departmental relationships because people get paired up with coworkers who they maybe haven’t had a chance to talk to.”


    -Sabrina Son, Sr. Marketing Manager


    (Skip to #6 at the 0:57 mark)



    Why we love it: This tactic not only rewards top performers and helps reaffirm company values, but also creates opportunities for people from different sides of the house to interact. You never know what new ideas will result.


    31. Thirsty Thursday


    Smith Brothers Agency brings the night out into the office:



    “Thirsty Thursday is our weekly happy hour on our rooftop deck (kegs, ping pong and snacks provided!)”


    -Nora DiNuzzo, Business Development Manager


    Thirsty Thurs at The Fool


    Why we love it: A happy hour on the premises and just after work (or during work hours) is a great to signal that team building and fun are a priority at your company.


    32. Lunch Games


    BambooHR takes a more social approach to their team’s board game obsession.



    Bryson Kearl“We have a large group of people from every department that meet in a conference room every day during lunch to play board and party games. A couple popular games are Resistance and Coup.


    While there are quite a few regulars, everyone in the office is invited to play games, blow off some steam, and show their competitive side.”


    -Bryson Kearl, Creative Copywriter


    lunchgames


    Why we love it: BambooHR shows the more laid back side of gaming. You don’t necessarily need a marathon super-session to reap the benefits. A lot of times, a few games over lunch can be just as effective.


    33. Take Me Out to the Ballgame


    Sporting events are a great diversion from the daily stressors of work. Once again, E Group Engage provides some context:



    Christina_Germano“If there’s one thing most E Groupers can agree on, it’s D.C. sports!


    Every year, as the summer months come to an end, E Group’s offices close early one afternoon and our associates head to downtown D.C. for an outing at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals baseball team.


    Together, we spend the evening eating, chatting, laughing, and cheering on our beloved ‘Nats.’ even E Groupers who aren’t native to D.C. join in on the fun. It’s a countdown-worthy event that we all look forward to every year.


    Relaxing with our coworkers in a fun environment, far removed from the office, is one of the best ways to bond and grow stronger as a team.


    Special thanks to our Principal and Founder, Colin Eagen, for treating us to this treasured annual outing.”


    -Christina Germano, Content Marketing Coordinator


    egroupgame


    Why we love it: Not only is baseball America’s past time, its slowed down pace makes it most conducive to conversation and bonding.


    34. An Awesome Office Environment


    One way to ensure socializing and team building is to design an awesome office space that supports team building in its very layout.


    Zephyr has done just that. As Ashley Nguyen explains,



    Ashley-Zephyr-linkedin“On any typical day at the office, you’ll often find our team marketing away on our awesome test management software product lines, going over plans in meetings, or yelling profanities while playing table tennis in the game room.


    As we have flexible schedules, we value setting aside breaks throughout the day to take walks with each other (by ‘take walks,’ we mean play Pokémon Go) or visit the game room where there are collections of books, board games, and most importantly a ping pong table.”


    -Ashley Nguyen, Brand Advocate


    ping pong table


    Why we love it: In the right environment, team building becomes an automatic, daily occurrence. Don’t miss the biggest opportunity to make teambuilding an ingrained part of your culture.


    35. The Impromptu All-Hands


    As he described for the Awesome Office show, Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan is a big fan of all-hands meetings. Unlike most CEOs, he doesn’t feel like all-hands need to be formal or infrequent.


    In fact, to call one together, all you have to do is stand up and shout, “Hey, Menlo!”


    To learn how they work, check out this episode of the Awesome Office show:



    Why we love it: All-hands are amazing tools – but most companies only do them once a year. This practice not only ensures they happen more frequently, but is consistent with Menlo’s quirky company culture.


    Conclusion


    These are just few ideas to creating a happier, more engaged, and higher performing team.


    What are some of your favorite team building activities? Let us know in the comments!

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