A closely knit team at your office will likely work better together to get projects and tasks done. Unfortunately phrases like “team building” and “ice breaker” can try the patience of even the most team-oriented staffers and may cause anxiety among introverts. With a little creativity and planning, you can build team building exercises that authentically engage all members of your team and give them an opportunity to refocus, build teamwork and bond. Here are some creative team building activities you may consider for your staff to provide memorable and fun ways for employees to build morale.
1. Escape. One new trend for both companies and friends in general is to visit an “escape room.” An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. Games are set in a variety of creative fictional locations including prison cells, dungeons and space stations and make for a wildly entertaining and engaging team building exercise. The earliest escape room, “Origin,” was created in Silicon Valley by a team of system programmers in 2006. There are over 2,800 escape room venues worldwide. Recent additions have included a “zombie,” in the room, giving players an added incentive to unlock the door to the escape room.
2. Lip sync. Thanks to Jimmy Fallon’s bits and Spike TV’s new “Lip Sync Battle,” lip syncing is cooler than karaoke these days. This team building exercise can be an individual competition or a group exercise. Take over a conference room or book a restaurant with karaoke rooms, and give participants a heads-up so they can prepare a song or two of their choice. If you have some introverts who prefer not to show their stuff on stage, remember that all contests need a judge or two. Creating or planning activities that are inspired by popular culture can help turn your next team building event from a dud into a success.
3. Search the city. A scavenger hunt can be a creative way to engage your team, whether it’s achieved only on a small campus or across your entire community. A scavenger hunt can be a blast for employees, and it gives them a creative way to learn to trust and rely on their teammates. One creative company, Museum Hack in San Francisco, uses cultural institutions to stage creative scavenger hunts that offers teams a clear goal and an opportunity to hone creativity and collaboration as well as cultivating shared goals and company values.
4. Paint-balling. Really, there’s no better way to build authentic rapport with your co-workers than shooting them with a paintball gun while your boss cheers you on.
5. Volunteering. A great way to engage not only your employees but the community at large is to volunteer as a group to help a non-profit organization in your community. One large volunteer center, Metro Volunteers in Denver, Colorado, specializes in creating customized volunteer opportunities that also benefit the nonprofit organization. Recent examples include building a functional flower and vegetable garden for a shelter for teen mothers, repainting a significant section of a senior center built in the 1920s, and fielding over 2,000 employees of Kaiser Permanente for a day of service on Martin Luther King Day. Whether your team participates in Adopt-A-Family Programs, organize a beach clean-up, or take on a community beautification project, it’s easy to find an activity that appeals to your team or reflects your company values, gets your staffers out of the office, and does some good for your community and your team.