Team building games are a great way to help employees get to know each other, improve their communication skills and strengthen bonds with colleagues. There are a range of fun office games to boost morale that you can choose from, from short games which are perfect for the office break room, to online games that remote workers can enjoy.
This guide will help you to choose the best games for your team to help new starters break the ice and allow established team members to strengthen their relationships.
Strengthen morale through team building activities
Team building games, whether they take place in the office break room, outside the office or online using digital spaces, are a tried and tested tool for boosting employee morale. You can use these as part of a broader strategy to strengthen connections in the workforce; bringing team members together and encouraging collaboration and communication.
This article from the Harvard Business Review, A Little Recognition Can Provide A Big Morale Boost, outlines some of the most common interventions that you can use to improve morale:
“While many organizations (especially in the private sector) have traditionally used monetary incentives to boost employee morale and performance, recent research suggests that symbolic awards — interventions such as congratulatory cards, public recognition, and certificates — can significantly increase intrinsic motivation, performance, and retention rates.”
Team building shouldn’t be overlooked when working on boosting morale as it brings a series of other important benefits to an organisation. These benefits include:
- Encouraging creativity. Team building games are often designed to encourage lateral thinking and unique approaches to problem-solving. This makes them excellent for putting your employees in a creative mindset to share their own perspectives.
- Improving communication skills. Team members have to communicate with one another when cooperating in games. Encouraging natural conversations during team activities carries over and improves communication in the workplace.
- Making it easier to identify potential leaders. Some team building activities require teams to break down and delegate tasks, giving observers a great opportunity to notice employees with strong leadership skills, charisma, and the ability to hold the attention of their colleagues.
Fun office games to boost morale
You don’t have to get out of the office to put together a program of team building activities for the workforce. There are plenty of easy-to-set-up games and activities which can be carried out in the office break room or a spare meeting room that can be held with minimal fuss.
Some fun office activities you can try include:
A “Show and Tell”
A “Show and Tell” asks each participant to discuss their accomplishments as well as share hobbies and interests outside of the workplace. They can also be used for work-oriented games, with staff sharing their problem-solving accomplishments or simply discussing something of interest they’re currently working on.
Playing board games
Board games are a fun and affordable way to get employees together to work towards a shared goal (or unleash their competitive side). While some board games are too time-consuming for a short play, there are plenty of office-friendly options which can be played in under an hour.
Hold a contest
The contest concept for office-based team building has plenty of potential for scope, covering everything from sharing your best recipes to decorating desks based on an upcoming holiday. Asking employees to come up with their own ideas for contests helps bring a sense of ownership to the games.
Solve a puzzle or brain teaser
Challenging puzzles and brain teasers encourage people to carefully consider their thinking. When employees tackle puzzles and brain teasers together, this helps them to develop their brainstorming and communication skills.
Office scavenger hunt
An office scavenger hunt is a fun team game that is ideal for helping new hires get to know their workplace. You can create a series of questions relating to the hunt that require participants to identify objects around the office, helping them to piece together a broader impression of the workspace and understand the quirks of their new colleagues.
You can also use your company’s social intranet to encourage employees to brainstorm other ideas for fun office activities and team-building games.
Games to play at work during your break
If you only have a short window of time to put together team building games to help boost employee morale, there are plenty of activities that can be enjoyed during a work break.
Try the following:
- Volunteering projects. Encouraging team members to get together for volunteering projects helps to build bonds while putting something back into the local community.
- Compliment tagging. This is a simple game where players take it in turn to compliment a colleague, who then picks another team member to praise. You can play this game with remote workers as well.
- Office dance party. Work can be stressful, so this activity gives employees an opportunity to let their hair down for a short while and have an impromptu dance party.
- Food truck roundup/snack wagon. Spice up the office break by getting employees to each bring in a variety of snacks and dishes to work. Alternatively, arrange for a local food delivery service to bring a platter in for staff to share.
- Share jokes and quotes. Sharing funny jokes or inspirational quotes can spark interesting conversations and give employees something to laugh about when taking a short break from work.
Games for breaking the ice and bonding
While some games are ideal for employees who have been working together for some time, others are best suited to helping new colleagues get to know each other.
Here are some ideas for games and activities you can use to break the ice and help new colleagues bond:
- Team trivia. More experienced members of staff can compile workplace-related questions to challenge the newer employees on their knowledge of the company. Alternatively, there are plenty of general knowledge trivia questions you can find on the internet.
- Two Truths and a Lie. This requires each participant to share two truthful things about themselves and one lie. It’s a fun way to get to know someone and helps improve your employee’s judgement and perceptiveness.
- Getting to know you bingo. Take a bingo template and fill it with facts about individual team members. Ask participants to answer questions about these facts to fill in their squares – first to complete their bingo card wins!
- Draw your coat of arms. This game gets employees to draw a coat of arms that best represents who they are, encouraging them to think a little differently as they have to use visual representations only to do so. If you want to encourage teamwork, you could instead ask groups of employees to create a coat of arms representing your company values.
- Purpose mingle. This activity requires people to walk around and mingle before a meeting, sharing what they intend to contribute to the session. It’s an effective way to help employees communicate more clearly while encouraging stronger engagement and purpose.
Games that encourage teamwork
One of the principal objectives of team building games is, of course, to encourage and enhance teamwork. It’s one of several objectives that are explored in the study from Lagos State University, Towards Effective Team Building In The Workplace.
The study states:
“Team building has several major objectives, one of which is enhancing good communications with participants as team members and individuals. There is also increased productivity and creativity. Another objective of team building is to achieve better operating policies and procedures thereby motivating team members to achieve goals.
The study continues:
“It is also aimed at ensuring clear work objectives and a climate of cooperation and collaborative problem-solving. Furthermore, team building enhances higher levels of trust and support. With team building, diverse co-workers work well together and there are higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment.”
Here are some fun games you can play that encourage teamwork:
- Bang. For this game, start by electing someone to play sheriff and have the rest of the group stand around them in a circle. The sheriff spins around then points at someone and shouts “Bang!” and they must crouch as quickly as possible. The people on either side then have to point at each other and shout their names, with the slower person eliminated from the game. It’s a great way to enhance reaction times and encourage quick thinking.
- Portrait gallery. In this game, teams are set up to draw portraits of the other team, working together in 15-second bursts to collectively draw the picture. It’s a fun team activity that encourages creativity.
- Best and worst. This team activity gets people to ask two questions of the group members, one relating to the best, such as “what’s your best holiday memory?”, and one about the worst, such as “what’s the worst injury you’ve had?” This is a simple way for employees to get to know each other, and understand what makes their coworkers tick.
Zoom & online fun office games to boost morale
You don’t have to have everyone in the office to be able to enjoy fun team building games to boost employee morale. Many businesses employ remote workers or have adopted a hybrid working policy, and there are plenty of games you can play online. You can play these through Zoom, Slack or Microsoft Teams, whatever communication tool you use can be adapted!
Here are some great games you can play using Zoom or Microsoft Teams:
- 20 Questions. In this game, participants get to ask 20 questions to find out more about a topic set by a moderator. This can be personal, work-related or a lighter topic to encourage communication.
- Pictionary. This can be played online using a whiteboard and screen share function, with teams taking it in turn to draw a word or phrase that the other team has to guess. This works brilliantly for those companies who use a lot of visual communications.
- Remote work bingo. You can download online team building bingo templates for this game, which populate the bingo board with a series of meeting behaviours such as “stretches”, “child interrupts”, and “forgets to turn on mic”. It happens to us all, so employees can become more familiar with each other and make light of everyday small faux-pas.
There are hundreds of fun team building games and activities businesses can use to help employees connect with one another, from short games to play in the office break room, to outdoor activities that are ideal for a summer day.
This guide should help you to spark interesting conversations about team building in the workplace, boosting employee morale and helping team members bond with one another.