Even though team building activities have a cheesy reputation, they can offer a wide range of benefits to any workplace.
Not only are they enjoyable leisure activities that promote socialization, allow colleagues to get to know each other better, and build a sense of camaraderie, those fun qualities are actually good for something.
Indeed, a 2021 team building report showed that:
- Socialization between team members improves communication patterns by more than 50%.
- Being familiar with team members improves workplace performance over time.
- Camaraderie promotes group loyalty and workplace dedication in the long term.
In order to help your company implement enjoyable team building initiatives that will bring the above benefits and more to your workplace, we’ve put together a list of our favourite team building activities to use in 2021.
We’ve covered everything from group volunteering to company-wide challenges to outdoor activities, so keep reading to find out more.1. Group volunteering initiatives
Organizing group volunteering initiatives is a great way to promote and incorporate team building in the workplace. Not only does it make a positive impact and act as a way to give back to the community, it also improves employee morale, workplace atmosphere, and overall brand perception.
If you think that a volunteerism policy might be right for your workplace, there are several ways to go about it. Here are a just a few ways you can set up and organize group volunteering initiatives within your company:
- Offer paid time off: Some companies offer their employees dedicated, paid time off that they can use for volunteer initiatives of their choice.
- Encourage donations: Donations are another great way that employees can support causes and/or organizations of their choice. Encourage employees to donate by running fundraisers or implementing donation-matching policies.
- Organize team-wide volunteering initiatives: By using a comprehensive solution like Alaya, it’s easy to get your whole team involved in a volunteering project, whether it happens online or in-person.
- Run challenges: Volunteering initiatives don’t always have to happen on a large scale. If you want to take a smaller first step, organize a teamwide challenge where participants have to do good deeds or give back to their community in small ways (and document the process, too).
Indeed, workplace volunteering initiatives are a real double whammy: they’re great for team building and benefit the community at large.
With the popularity of paid time off for volunteering rising between 2014 and 2018 in the United States, this is a team building activity you should definitely get on board with.2. Company-wide fitness challenges
Team or company-wide fitness challenges are also great team building activities. We’re particularly fond of them because they work well in a variety of company settings, regardless of size and indsutry. In large part, this is because they’re easy to customize according to fitness level, interest, and other factors to ensure maximum participation.
Fitness challenges are also great for two big reasons. First, they get employees moving. Some of the biggest reasons why people don’t exercise include lack of motivation, lack of time or lack of budget for things like gym memberships. Fitness challenges in the workplace act as solutions for all of these problems.
Second, fitness challenges can help employees get to know each other on a more casual basis. They provide them with something to talk about that isn’t work related, as well as an opportunity to get to know each other in a more informal, low pressure setting.
If you’re thinking about organizing your own workplace fitness challenge, keep the following best practices in mind:
- Maximize buy-in: Make sure that everyone knows about your fitness challenge and recruit as many participants as possible. The more people participate, the more fun it will be. You can even consider incentivizing participation.
- Read the room: Align your fitness challenge with the ability and interests of your employees as best as you can. Otherwise, you’re not likely to have a great deal of participants.
- Set an objective: In fact, you should set two objectives. First, establish why you’re organizing a fitness challenge in your workplace. Then, ask participants to identify why they’re completing it.
- Make it fun: It’s important to make workplace fitness challenges as fun as possible with social media posts, group photos, enthusiastic communications, participant swag, and the like.
- Track your progress: Don’t forget to put together some kind of chart or board that employees can use to track their progress in your fitness challenge! It’ll do wonders for motivation and accountability.
If fitness challenges aren’t your thing, there are lots of different group classes you can organize to bring employees together. They make great team building activities because they encourage teamwork, provide an environment for staff to get to know each other on a more personal level, and contribute to a fun workplace culture where employees get rewarded for hard work.
Group classes are also great team building activities because it’s possible to organize them for remote teams as well as in-person teams in more traditional office environments.
Here are some examples of group classes that we think would make great team building activities:
- Cooking classes, baking classes or mixology classes
- Painting, fine arts or pottery classes
- Fun sports classes like yoga, figure skating, rock climbing, skiing or scuba diving
- First aid classes or other emergency preparedness classes (these may not be as exciting as some of the other options, but they’re enjoyable and practical to boot!)
- Language classes
Trivia and board game nights are a classic whether you’re spending time with family, friends, or workplace colleagues. Indeed, they’re tried-and-tested leisure activities for a reason! People have fun doing them together, they promote bonding, they foster a little healthy competition, and get the wheels in people’s brains turning.
We’re also big fans of trivia and board game nights because they’re so flexible. They can be organized either in-person or online and in a variety of environments. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your home workspace, at the office, or in a bar, you can enjoy a trivia or board game night with your colleagues.
If you want to organize your own trivia night for your employees, there are also some handy online tools that can help you do so:
- TriviaMaker: For general trivia. You can make your own game from scratch or choose one of their premade games.
- Popcorn Trivia: For movie lovers.
- Sporcle Party: For topic-specific trivia questions (think geography, movies, literature, history, and more).
If board games (or card games) are more your style, here are some great options for team building:
- Cranium or trivial pursuit (get the best of both words with a board game and trivia game combined)
- Cards Against Humanity
There are a wide variety of outdoor activities that are both enjoyable and great for team building.
Outdoor activities are popular for professional teams because everyone loves breaking up their typical work schedule with a little extra time spent outside. Even better, they’ve been shown to have a very positive effect on overall wellbeing. In one Mind study, 95% of participants reported that their mood improved after spending time outside.
Outdoor activities also do wonders in terms of bringing professional teams closer together. They build camaraderie, foster collaboration, and improve communication more generally.
Here are some of our favourite outdoor activities that are great for promoting team building in the workplace:
- Hiking: Where it’s 5km or 20km, there’s nothing like a nice hike to bring people together. You’ll see beautiful sights, get some exercise, and make unforgettable memories together.
- Obstacle courses: Obstacle courses are great fun and promote healthy competition between coworkers. Bonus points if team members have to work together to complete the obstacle course in question.
- Field days: Field days are full-day outdoor events filled with different kinds of games, events, and challenges. They’re great for all kinds of teams because they’re easy to customize based on different interests.
- Sports tournaments: If employees are big fans of any particular sport, organizing a tournament centering around it can be great fun.
- Adventurous activities: If you’ve got a team full of adrenaline junkies, why not take them kayaking, white water rafting, bungee jumping or rock climbing?
- Scavenger hunts: Scavenger hunts are even more fun when they happen in the great outdoors. They’re effective team building activities when you pair unexpected colleagues together and make them find especially obscure objects.
All in all, the best team building activities are enjoyable. When coworkers are actually having fun together, they’re much more likely to bond, create memories, and feel more connected with one another. Although team building activities have a cheesy reputation, they can be very effective when they’re done correctly.
We’ve outlined five different team building activities that your employees will have fun doing together. Whether you end up organizing a team volunteering initiative, planning a fitness challenge, setting up a group class, putting on a trivia night or arranging an outdoor activity, your employees will enjoy themselves and feel closer at the end of the day.