As summer winds down into fall, this is a great time of year for an office to get out and enjoy each other’s company. Employee retreats, off-site meetings, and team building exercises can greatly improve the morale of a business.
Many team building exercises, however, can come off negatively – especially if they are out of date, boring, or awkward. Picking activities that your team will actually enjoy will turn a dreaded mandatory event into a fun day out of the office!
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a great game to get to know your coworkers outside the professional setting. Each person writes down two truths and one lie about themselves. In random order, they read them aloud and others guess which statements are which. This game can be played as a group, one on one, or in teams.
This one takes a bit of planning. Tasks can include things to do or objects to find, then set a deadline to complete the list. Plan teams ahead of time to strategize. You can even encourage the teams to dress up or create their own team names. If you so choose, there are companies that will actually plan elaborate scavenger hunts for you.
This game can be played nearly anywhere! Teams of two are needed. One teammate is blindfolded while “mines” are placed on the ground or floor. Mines can be made from books, cones, or anything you have around the office. The second player directs the first across the “minefield” guiding them using only their voice. Player then switch roles. Make up your own relay or tasks – this game is very adaptable.
In a TED talk from 2010, Tom Wujec studies the processes business teams take in this team building game. The exercise involves using one marshmallow, 20 sticks of dry spaghetti, one yard of tape, and one yard of string to produce the tallest standing structure possible. The challenge is that the marshmallow must be on top. Similar projects have been done using straws instead of spaghetti. If your team has played this game before, add the challenge of outlawing verbal communication!
Sit two people back to back. One will have a simple picture (such as a pair of sunglasses or an animal) and the other a note pad and pen or pencil. The person with the picture describes it to the person with the paper, who draws the picture based only on their partner’s description. The first person is not allowed to say what the object is, only describe it by shape, color, habits, etc. After you are done, proudly display the artist renderings around communal areas.
An important thing to remember in team building is to break up departments or usual pairings. Group people with others that they normally don’t spend time with to get unfamiliar office mates to bond.
Another great tip is to pick a relaxing location as an employee retreat. Earle Brown is a fabulous choice. Our beautiful grounds, spacious buildings, and world-class dining options won’t be quickly forgotten!