Most of us recoil at the thought of the dreaded team building activities...😳 but thankfully, they really aren’t the sweat-inducing embarrassment they once were.
More and more companies are realising that it’s time to start reinventing the office space, making it a fun and enjoyable atmosphere that works to compliment productivity and overall workplace happiness without the painful team building activities.
We’ve all seen the examples set by leading tech companies who thrive off creativity and have worked really hard to make sure their offices are the perfect work environment with loads of ideas and games to play. Let’s take a look at Google for example, who have really gone above and beyond for their employees to create a fun office environment. In their Zurich office the employees can play soccer and basketball along the corridor from their desk, the Chicago office offers foosball and arcade games and in Toronto they can even play mini golf on the roof. How cool is that?!
Before you start re-designing your office space, rest assured that there are plenty of inventive and truly enjoyable games to play at work that don't cost an arm and a leg.
So, let’s get started on the list of exciting office games to play at work that will bring the team together and inject a bit of joy and fun on a Friday (or any other day of the week for that matter!)
Guaranteed to create some friendly competition and help reinvigorate a workplace post lunch slump.
20 Fun Games to Play at Work to Bring the Team Together
Scavenger hunt missions are a great way of encouraging team interactions and are far more enjoyable than the usual team building scenarios.
The child within us comes out when we’re able to break down that professional façade with a fun and creative scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt can be as easy or as complex to set up as you’d like, making it the ultimate office game. The elements of a scavenger hunt mission work well to encourage interactions and help create positive personal connections with co-workers.
You could add a personal surprise to your scavenger hunt that will really engage the whole team, like including facts about the company history or management. It could be a fun Friday game or spread across a whole week – the options are limitless! Get the whole team involved in this office game for guaranteed fun.
2. Lunch and Learn
A team lunch and learn is a personal development scheme your employees will love, after all – who doesn’t love free food?
It’s time to boost your employee engagement and participation by inviting them all to a lunch provided by you where they get the opportunity to learn something new or learn from each other. Lunch and learn's are a perfect opportunity to connect on a more personal level as staff will be on break-mode during the lunch hour.
You could make it more about sharing knowledge and expertise, or you could mix it up and include some fun elements like themed dress code or a specific cuisine.
3. Heads Up
The classic forehead game that could be played with the app or using your own personalised cards!
The app, designed by Ellen DeGeneres and played with a whole lot of celebrity guests on her show, is available for iPhone or Andriod and is great if you want to quickly lighten the mood and create some fun and positivity amongst employees. The game works by placing the phone on your head which shows a word to the rest of the players. In teams or individually, they have to act out the word for you to guess, resulting in a whole load of manic movements and hilarious skits – endless fun!
If you don’t have the app you could opt for writing your own cards, making it more personal.
4. Two Truths and a Lie
If you have been working remotely throughout the past year, two truths and a lie is a great office game that will quickly break any ice during that first back-to-the-office meet up!
Each member just has to share two truths and a lie about themselves, leaving the rest of the team to guess which one is the lie! You could be as creative as you want with two truths and a lie, let your imagination run wild and quickly find out some fun facts about each other.
This office game is a great icebreaker, so set up a meeting and surprise your new teams with this great team building game that involves all team members.
For this game you’ll need a deck of cards, at least seven people and a dedicated few hours off work, but once you’ve got the hang of it it’s the best game ever!
This popular game is all lying, bluffing and deceit..and it’s the PERFECT way to really get to know what your employees are really like in a fun, engaging and hilarious way. There’s a few rules to learn, but once you’ve got it, your staff will want to keep playing it at every opportunity.
Take a look at the rules here and get ready to bring your game face!
Who doesn’t love belting out Don’t Stop Believin’ at every opportunity they can?
This one might not be for the introverts amongst your employees, but you’d be surprised how many of them really get into it even without a drink! Karaoke can actually be a great office game that will bring some fun and light-heartedness into the workplace. You could make it a friendly competition amongst four teams and get each to rate their efforts. You’d be surprised at how many people know ‘Mr. Brightside’ by The Killers word for word…
7. Thumb wars
No milk left in the shared office fridge? Settle who has to go out to get it with a speedy game of thumb wars!
Not all office games have to be a long, entire afternoon activity. This speedy little office game is great if you have to come to an agreement or quickly decide who’s doing what. You can even go all out and invest in some quirky little thumb war arenas – yes they exist! We were as thrilled as you when we discovered them. You could even create a winners board!
8. Giant Jenga
Why play regular Jenga when you can play GIANT JENGA?!
Jenga is a much-loved game by everyone, with heaps of unspoken benefits. This office game not only tests our mental and physical skills, like hand-eye coordination and problem-solving, it’s also great for improving social skills. It can be a great game for relieving stress too, once it’s finished that is!
9. Trivia ‘Pub Quiz’
Hosting a quiz regularly is a great way to encourage fun interactions and have something to look forward to.
The quiz could be for individuals or teams, rotating who creates the questions each time so they’re always varied. Include roughly 15-30 questions for the perfect length, maybe even provide some snacks and a drink to really create the perfect pub quiz vibe for this great interactive office game.
Here's some good examples for workplace trivia question themes:
- Movie-Themed Trivia Questions
- Workplace Trivia Questions
- Science-Themed Trivia Questions
- Book-Themed Trivia Questions
- Art-Themed Trivia Questions
10. Ping Pong
Easy enough to set up, having a ping pong table in the break room or office has some great benefits!
Splash out on a good ping pong table as a way of facilitating downtime at work and you'll be sure to have happy and grateful employees. Not only is a great way to flex your muscles and get yourself moving during a day spent sitting down, but an office game of ping pong can also help keep your brain active and get your mind working after a 3pm slump, helping your employees’ power through the last few hours of the working day!
Not actually the distraction you think it might be!
Having a foosball table in the office can be a great stress buster. It’s an office game that gives employees the chance to engage in discussion and it can also lead to increased participation in work projects as team members get to know each other in a more relaxed scenario!
12. Picture consequences
This simple pen and paper game can involve two or more players and could be a great opener before getting stuck into a meeting.
Using a long piece of paper, each player takes turns to draw sections of a character starting at the head and then folds the piece of paper over for the next person to continue. In the end you’re left with an entertaining illustration that was created by the whole team. A great office game to get the creative juices flowing.
13. Escape room
This is a great team building game that will have your employees working together and improving on workplace bonds.
Escape rooms are a good work game that can be played either face-to-face or online, making it super versatile and available to all team members. Escape rooms can improve skills in communication, problem solving, project management and overcoming complex challenges. They are a fun way to strengthen relationships within a team that feels fun and exciting at the same time!
14. Speed ‘dating’
The ultimate workplace icebreaker!
Often referred to as ‘corporate speed dating’, this game to play at work is great if you’re hosting a meeting or event with a group of employees who would benefit from getting to know each other quickly. Speed dating will quickly warm up the group both physically and mentally as they rotate and get to know each team member.
Set a two-minute timer and let everybody get stuck in.
Almost all of us have played charades as a child, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so this workplace game can pretty much be played straight away!
The rules are pretty basic and simple to follow, act out a word or phrase and let the rest of the team try to guess. You could make it a bit more difficult by adding in a time limit.
16. No smiling
Team building activities don't have to be serious!
This quick, easy and hilarious game can be played anywhere so why not introduce it into the office? The aim of the game is to select a member of the group who will do their best not to smile while the rest of the team does everything they can to make them laugh. It’s a great game to play at work that creates a bit of fun and lightens the moon.
17. Jigsaw puzzle race
Jigsaw puzzle race, seems simple enough right? Wrong! Time to surprise your employees with this great ice-breaker game that will encourage some team collaboration.
Invest in a big jigsaw puzzle and split your employees into two groups with equal team members. Give each group a bag full of half of the jigsaw pieces. When they begin, they’ll be under the impression they are competing against each other, until they realise they have to work together to complete the final picture. In the end, all of the group members have to identify the problem and then come together to find the solution.
18. Human snakes
A hilarious game to play at work that relies on communication and trust, making it a perfect team-building activity that’s actually fun!
Create two simple obstacles course in the office using what you have already, like chairs and desks and bins.
Then have two teams stand in a line connecting with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Everyone is blindfolded apart from the person at the back who is responsible for navigating the team to safety at the end of the finish line.
Another great problem solving game. Human snakes relies on a high level of discussion around the room and encourages communication amongst groups.
19. Paper plane competition
Most of us would spend some time in the classroom creating paper planes, so this is a great way to bring some nostalgia into the office with a bit of fun and healthy competition.
Divvy out some paper, either to teams or individually, and set a timer too. Get your team or employees to create their paper plane and then have a little paper plane competition to see who has come up with the best Aerodynamic design. You could even make this a running competition to see how team members develop their skills.
This building game encourages problem solving, creativity and team bonding if done in groups.
20. Egg Drop
Another great game to play at work that will have team members building, working together, thinking creatively and managing their time.
In teams, give your employees some materiel and a time constraint and ask them to create a structure that will prevent a raw egg from breaking when it’s dropped from a height of at least 10ft.
This is a great problem solving game that also works as a team bonding activity too.
As a manager or host of the team, you can engage each group member by asking questions throughout the task. You could ask;
why they made changes to the design, what they’d do differently and also the who came up with specific ideas.
It’s a fun game to play at work that lets you see different peoples skills and contributions too!
Introducing fun games to play at work can be a great way to show appreciation to your employees, recognise their hard work or relieve any stress during an important project! Make sure you get involved with the fun too, so your employees can see a different side to you and they feel connected to the whole company.
✍️ By Aisha Fatunmbi-Randall