Team building is one of those worthwhile investments that can benefit not only your employees’ morale, but also foster company success. Think of team building as a tool to cultivate your company, like a trowel or shovel is to a garden!
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite free activities for anyone looking to foster teamwork and boost morale without spending a cent! So whether you’re looking for free activities or awesome ideas to supplement your current team building plan, here are five great activities you and your team will love!
By the way, we also have a list of 55+ virtual team building activities, many of which are free.
Break the Ice
Icebreakers have a reputation for being scary and stressful, but the perfectly executed icebreaker is a powerful tool. Icebreaker questions get creativity flowing. They encourage teams to learn facts about each other that they might not discover otherwise (e.g., what food they would want to eat everyday for the rest of their lives). Revamp traditional icebreaker questions to fit your company’s style. Ask questions your teams can bond over, learn from, and laugh at!
Activity #1: Before a daily meeting or weekly conference call, ask a series of icebreaker questions. This type of team building activity doubles as way to warm up your team before an event, meeting, or project. Think questions like: If you were a wrestler what would be your entrance theme song? A quirky question like this will not only give your team members insight into each others’ interests but is a great conversation starter.
Get Outside & Get Moving
Remember in school, when teachers moved class outside if it was a particularly nice day? How awesome did that make you feel? Well, the same goes for the office. Getting your employees moving and switching-up the environment is be a great way to get team building done and boost morale. Mini-field trips ( a free museum day or free event) and scavenger hunts are simple ways to utilize outside surroundings and focus on teamwork. Don’t forget a fun or silly reward at the end for the group as a whole; this will add a little incentive to the mix.
Activity #2: Organize a scavenger hunt with Instagram. Break everyone into small groups and ask them to find various items (that you’ve strategically placed or are part of the environment). Have your employees document their progress on Instagram. Use a cheeky hashtag to collect all the clues and findings. Instagram Hacky Fact: Having a company Instagram that is private, for employees only, is an awesome way for them to interact and get to know each other. If you don’t have time to get outside of the office, work with what you have and do a scavenger hunt in the building!
Let the Games Begin!
Games at work can be the perfect way to beat a stressful work day or lift spirits after a rough patch. A lot of startups are embracing “office game rooms” to help employees relax. Taking 15 minutes to focus on something other than work is a great way for staff to stay busy and cut down on stress. If you have a game room in the office, think of ways everyday games like ping pong or foosball could double as team building activities. If you don’t have a game room, think about fun games you can play as team during a 15 minute break.
Activity #3: Classic games like charades or pictionary are perfect to repurpose for the office, as they ignite strategic thinking and boost team spirit. Instead of using general or basic phrases (e.g. dog or mowing the lawn) think of items that are relevant to your company and company culture. If you’re an entertainment company, throw in pop culture references or allow sound in charades for “Name That Tune.” Write the phrases down on pieces of paper, break-up the teams and wait for the laughs to roll in. You can bet by the end of the game your team members will be revived and ready to go back to work with a fresh pair of eyes.
In for the Long Haul
Team building isn’t something to do once a year or once a month, it works better if it’s a constant in the workplace. Daily calls for remote teams or weekly touch base meeting are critical for productivity but also build killer teams. Utilize this time to sneak in some long-term activities that promote team bonding or boost camaraderie. When employees get to know each other, they start to understand each other. They become experts in communicating with each other and in the end this can make or a break a successful team project. It’s also great for overall morale and happiness – especially if they become friends!
Activity #4: Pair-up team members and have them connect during the workday. Suggest Google Hangout or Skype, if they are remote. Give them icebreaker questions, a quirky challenge or a difficult riddle to solve and watch them work as a team! Remember, there are no rules. Activity mash-ups are awesome. Combine an icebreaker question with a strategic thinking task. At the end of the week check in with them. If you really want to put them to the test, quiz them on what they learned about each other!
It Takes a Village
One great way to foster teamwork and friendly competition is to plan an activity where groups of teams have to accomplish a difficult task, like. building a house of cards or a bridge out of office supplies. Super high energy activities before big projects get the gears turning and are great for employees who are just getting to know one another. Ramp up the strategic thinking and get your teams working in unison!
Activity #5: The fateful egg drop. This game includes building a protective vessel for an egg and then dropping it from 5 feet (or higher if you are feeling dangerous). Employees work in small teams to create a contraption that will prevent the egg from breaking during its fall. This checks off just about every team building benefit in the book. Tip: If you are doing this inside, use a hardboiled egg!
Use these awesome free activities to make your team stronger, happier and even more successful. Don’t be afraid to use one or all of them. Remember, team building is best served as often as possible! What are your favorite free team activities? Let us know!
Free team building activities are a great way to get started with improving team dynamics and employee engagement at your organization. As your team grows and as your budget allows, consider investing in team building from dedicated service providers; the right team building activity at the right time can make a world of difference. We’re 100% biased and recommend museum tours as one fun option.