Photo credit: friendlycare.org
Mention the term ‘team building’ and you’ll see two types of reactions from your staff:
- Relief: ‘team building’ to them means semi-off day since you’re not doing any work during team building
- Groaning and whining: this bunch thinks ‘team building’ is a waste of precious time that could be used to get some work done
Most don’t understand the importance of team building. The main aim for these activities is to develop strong bonds and foster deeper understanding for each other’s working styles. So it comes down to YOU — the manager, organiser, and facilitator — to make team building relevant and fun for your staff.
Here are some activities you can try:
1. Truth Or Lie
Photo credit: marshallmcadam.com.au
What to do: Get everyone to write four things about themselves on separate post-it notes. Three of them must be true and one a lie, which cannot be too bizarre. Paste these on the board according to their names, then get everyone to figure out which are truths and which are the lies.
Not everyone enjoys icebreakers, as some people are slow to warm up and can be terribly shy. Instead of forcing them to speak up on the spot, try getting them to write it down. This game also encourages a group effort to get to know someone new, which helps develop problem-solving skills among your employees.
2. So You Think You Know Your Office
Photo credit: naisaglobal.com
What to do: Put your staff into groups of five or six and distribute a quiz-style question sheet to each group. The questions should test your staff’s knowledge about their office (eg: what colour are the walls in the Creative department, list three people who have window seats, what food do we have in the office pantry, and so forth). Each team should work together to answer as many questions in the given time.
Your staff should feel at home at the place they work at. We spend at least half of our weekdays in the office, so getting them to know the environment better helps make them feel at home and familiar with each other. This exercise also tells you and the other managers what you can do to improve the workspace so your staff can work more comfortably and efficiently.
3. String A Shape
Photo credit: Asia Ability
Type: Problem solving, communication, teamwork
What to do: Arrange each group to form a circle, holding a string that has its ends tied together. The string should be held waist high with both hands. Within a given time, get the team to form shapes without letting go of the string, eg. form a square, heart, airplane, etc. You may repeat the activity with your staff’s eyes closed.
This activity gets your staff to learn how to communicate and work together effectively to get a job done. It requires the team members to observe, act, and listen.
4. Pick Your Lunch Kaki
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Type: Icebreaker, bonding
What to do: Get your staff do a lucky draw. Each paper they draw has a number on it, which will eventually put them in groups of three to four for lunch. Each group will dine in a different restaurant, which should be paid by the company.
People often like to stick to their group of friends, who are usually from the same department, for lunches and teamwork. This is the time for you to help your staff get to know their colleagues from other teams and departments better. Most people define their colleagues from other departments by projects and each others’ job functions, which isn’t enough. This lunch will help them know each other as people instead of job titles.
5. Barter Puzzle
Photo credit: Canadian Career Development Foundation
Type: Teamwork, problem solving
What to do: Each team gets a jigsaw puzzle to solve within a given time, but the pieces will be jumbled up with those that belong to puzzles from other teams. Teams are supposed to piece their puzzles together by exchanging pieces that don’t belong to them with other teams who have pieces they need.
This activity simulates real life situations when a team doesn’t have all the skills or resources, but others do. Your team will be trained to learn how to prioritise and solve the problem at hand creatively.
Photo credit: whitneylab.berkeley.edu
Type: Creative thinking
What to do: Give each team a random combination of seven objects, anything from a toilet roll to a stapler. Their task is to come up with a product made from all the seven objects in the stipulated time. After that, each group will take turns to present their product to everyone and convince them to purchase it.
Everyone faces the problem of having limited resources. Instead of writing emails to list the things we lack, it’s better to learn to make do with what we have to produce the expected results. This activity is especially useful for business development and marketing teams as it trains them in SWOT identification and spotting USPs.
Photo credit: Genting Permai Resort
Type: Teamwork, communication
What to do: Use masking tape to create tiles on the floor. Selected tiles should have items in it – these will be the ‘landmines’. Pick one person from each team to be blindfolded. This person’s job is to cross the ‘minefield’ quickly without stepping on a tile with ‘landmine’, and they shouldn’t collide with people from other groups. Their teammates should give them instructions on how to navigate the ‘minefield’.
Your staff will need to develop an effective communication method to help direct their colleagues ‘safely’ to the other side. They will also need to strategise and plan the fastest way to get to the goal. On the other hand, your staff will also learn to trust and listen to their teammates.
We hope this list of suggested team building activities helps! Team buildings should be planned properly with clear learning goals in mind. It’s best to engage a professional team building facilitator on Kaodim to help with this, an expert who has experience in event planning, handling large crowds and extensive knowledge of work-related psychology. Let us know the type of team building you want to conduct here, and we’ll get you some free quotes to choose from.
written by Esther Chung