6 Effective Team-Building Exercises (With Instructions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Team-building exercises can be a great way to develop employee skills, enhance teamwork and increase job satisfaction. These exercises can encourage collaboration between colleagues in a casual and relaxed environment. When working in a leadership role, discovering a range of team-building activities can help you develop and maintain a cohesive team. In this article, we share a list of six team-building activities and discuss the importance of conducting these kinds of exercises.

Related: What Makes a Good Team? (Qualities and Tips to Improve)

6 team-building exercises

Below, you can find a list of team-building exercises:

1. Magazine story

This team-building activity, similar to a school yearbook, involves creating a paper or digital magazine that puts faces to names and shares some general information on individuals within a team. The idea behind this activity is to encourage members of a team to collaborate in unique ways, interact with people they might not interact with on a normal workday and get creative. Magazine story can also give people who might not talk much about themselves a chance to share things about themselves.

Here's how to conduct this activity:

  1. Put together teams of employees.

  2. Employees can choose a colleague within their team that they don't know well to work with during the activity.

  3. Each pair can then talk one-on-one with each other to get to know their hobbies, family life or history with the company.

  4. Next, each interviewer can write a paragraph or two about the team member they interviewed.

  5. The employees can then work together on the specifics of the publication.

  6. They can publish the final product in paper or digital format and, finally, distribute it throughout the office.

Related: The Benefits of Corporate Team-Building Games

2. Back-to-back drawing

This is a great option for a team-building activity that you can conduct quickly with minimal props required. It involves drawing a picture using a team member's instructions. This activity can help foster excellent communication between colleagues. Because of this, it can be a great icebreaker activity before a meeting or training session.

Below, you can find the steps for playing this workplace game:

  1. Print objects on individual pieces of paper. It can be best to choose well-known objects, for example, a helicopter, a racing car or the Sydney Opera House.

  2. Divide the team into pairs and get them to sit with their backs to each other.

  3. One person in the pair has a piece of paper and a pen and the other person receives one of the printed objects.

  4. The person with the printed object can then deliver verbal instructions to their partner, describing the printed object, while their partner attempts to draw it.

  5. Pairs can have two or three minutes to complete this task.

  6. They can then switch roles for as many rounds as your activity includes.

  7. Finally, the pair with the most correctly drawn objects wins.

Related: How to Build an Effective Team: A Step-By-Step Guide

3. Office trivia

This team-building game gives tests team members' knowledge by getting them to answer a range of questions. It can be a great idea to base these questions on things that are common to all team members. For example, work done daily, someone's well-known quirks or a piece of office equipment that's notoriously unreliable. Employees work in teams to apply critical thinking and their analysis skills collaboratively to answer trivia questions, which can help engage people and develop relationships. Office trivia can be part of a day-long itinerary for a training day or a fun activity during a work party.

Here are some instructions for playing office trivia:

  1. Develop a collection of trivia questions that relate to the organisation, workplace environment and team. These questions might include, for example, How many people work in the marketing department? or What does the sign outside the print room say?

  2. Create cards that have the questions and their answers on them.

  3. Divide the team into groups.

  4. Ask the groups the questions out loud.

  5. They can then collectively decide on and provide an answer.

  6. The group with the most correct answers at the end of the trivia challenge wins.

Related: Related: 13 Problem-Solving Games for Effective Team Building

4. Three truths and a lie

This team-building activity doesn't involve competition but aims to help team members get to know each other in a fun and humorous way. This simple game involves team members sharing information about themselves with other participants. It can be an excellent icebreaker at the beginning of a meeting or training day, especially for remote teams who rarely get to work in each other's physical company.

Here's how to play:

  1. Begin with the team sitting together, ideally in a circle.

  2. One by one, each team member shares three correct facts and one incorrect fact about themselves.

  3. It's then up to the rest of the team to decide which statement is the incorrect one.

Related: Team Strengths and Weaknesses Examples (With Tips)

5. Perfect square

This can be a great game for teams to play in the workplace to develop their communication skills, leadership skills and ability to collaborate effectively with one another. It involves participants working as a team to make a perfect square shape out of rope using only verbal instructions. Teams have to work closely together and may also designate a team leader for direction.

You can find the steps for playing this team-building game below:

  1. Split a team into groups of four people.

  2. Each group can stand in a circle, facing each other and hold on to a rope, placed on the floor in the shape of a circle.

  3. Once each member of each group has a hold on the rope, blindfold all participants.

  4. It's now time for the members of each team to collaborate to form a perfect square shape with the rope.

  5. After five to seven minutes, participants can remove their blindfolds and look at the shape that they created with their team.

  6. If teams play the game more than once, you can consider switching a group member each time.

Related: 6 Qualities That Make a Great Team Player

6. Shipwrecked

This game can be a great team-building activity that encourages teams to work together to solve problems and make collaborative decisions. It involves participants imagining that they're stuck on an abandoned island after a shipwreck with limited survival options to choose from. This can be a good activity to include on the itinerary for a team-building day or another kind of company event.

Here's how to play this game:

  1. Create index cards, each displaying images of different survival tools and essentials, such as water, food, a knife, a flint and rope. It's a good idea to include limited quantities of each tool or essential to encourage negotiation and collaboration between teams.

  2. Place the index cards in a designated play area.

  3. Divide players into teams of two or more, depending on the size of the group.

  4. Teams can have 20 minutes to work together and barter with other teams to secure the items from the wreckage that they require for survival.

  5. At the end of the 20 minutes, teams can present to each other the items they ended up with and explain why they chose them.

Related: How to Start Building Rapport With Your New Colleagues

The benefits of team-building activities

There can be many benefits of team-building activities, including:

  • Increased productivity: Team-building activities connect teams by encouraging them to collaborate and communicate to achieve common goals. Connected teams tend to work productively together.

  • Enhanced innovation: Conducting team-building separates teams from their typical work environment and provides them with unique tasks that often require a creative approach. This can encourage employees to share their ideas, learn from others and develop fresh perspectives.

  • Boosted morale: Team-building activities usually involve games or fun tasks. Taking part in these activities can help employees get to know each other in a relaxed environment which can boost workplace morale.

  • Improved communication: When taking part in team-building activities, employees can communicate with each other more naturally than they might while conducting their normal work duties. This can provide them with a better understanding of one another and enhance future workplace communication.

  • Connected remote teams: In remote working environments, it can be challenging for team members to get to know each other. Team-building activities can help foster a sense of community and connect remote teams.

  • Enhance interdepartmental interactions: Employees working in different departments might not get to interact much during a normal working day. Team-building can bring departments together to learn about each other and collaborate on mutual goals, which can help unify and business's workforce.

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