11 Amazing Team-Building Games Even the Office Grouch Will Love

Leo Kangin
Leo Kangin  |  September 19, 2019

If you’ve got a team that’s hunched into their desks and siloed in their work, you probably know that a team-building exercise can get them on the same page.

Unfortunately, too many of them have been burned by boring games in the past.

Team-building games

The best team building shouldn’t feel like a chore; rather, it should be an opportunity to get to know each other better and find common ground. The following list of games are sure to make even the office grouch put a smile on their face!

1. Game of Possibilities 

Time required: 5-6 minutes
Players: One group or several small groups
Game materials: Any random objects
Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

Rules

This takes only five minutes. Give each person in a group a random object. Each person then stands up with their object and silently pantomimes a possible, not necessarily logical use for the object. The other people guess what the use is.

Purpose: This game helps get creative juices flowing.

2. Winner/Loser 

Time required: 5-6 minutes
Players: 2+
Game materials: Just yourselves
Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

Rules

One person shares a negative life experience with a partner. Then, they have to repeat the story, but focus on the positive parts. Their partner helps identify the silver linings with them. Then, the partners switch.

Purpose: This exercise encourages compassion and teaches resilience.

3. Purpose Mingle 

Time required: 1-2 minutes
Players: As many as you have
Game materials: Just yourselves
Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

Rules

Before a meeting, each person should share what they hope to contribute at the meeting with other attendees. You can incentivize this by offering a prize for the person who talks the most people or for anyone who indeed contributes what they say they will.

Purpose: This exercise encourages team members to think forward and prepare for the meeting.

4. Scavenger Hunt 

Time required: Less than an hour
Players: 2+ small groups
Game materials: Pen and paper
Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

Rules

Assign each group a list of wacky tasks/dares. Take a selfie with a stranger, hop down the street on one foot, whatever. Whichever team completes all their tasks the most quickly wins.

Purpose: This game helps break up cliques and encourages socialization.

5. Human Knot 

Time required: 15-30 minutes
Players: 8-20
Game materials: Just yourselves
Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

Rules

All participants stand in a circle, facing inward with shoulders touching. Then, everyone extends their right hand to grab the hand of someone across from them. Next, everyone extends their left hand and grabs another hand. Give them 5 minutes to untangle themselves without releasing any hands. 

Purpose: This game encourages teamwork, creativity, and the busting of personal bubbles.

6. The Perfect Square 

Time required: 15-30 minutes
Players: 5-20
Game materials: Rope and blindfolds
Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

Rules

Everyone stands in a circle, each holding a part of the rope. Then, everyone puts on their blindfold, drops the rope, and walks a short distance away. Next, everyone returns and tries to make a square around the rope, while blindfolded. To increase the challenge, set a time limit and/or ask some team members (especially those who are typically talkative) to remain silent.

Purpose: This game encourages team members to step up to leadership positions and demonstrate strong communication skills.

7. The Minefield 

Time required: 15-30 minutes
Players: 4-10 people (even numbers)
Game materials: Various handheld objects, several blindfolds
Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

Rules

You’ll need an open space. Scatter the objects across it. Have everyone partner up, then have one person in each pair wear a blindfold. Their partner must guide them through the “minefield” with words only. To increase the challenge, limit pairs to certain routes they must take.

Purpose: This game builds trust and improves communication skills.

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8. The Egg Drop 

Time required: 1-2 hours
Players: 2+ small groups
Game materials: Assorted office, kitchen, or miscellaneous supplies, uncooked eggs
Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

Rules

Break out your people into groups and have them choose office supplies from a pile. Teams then have a set amount of time to build contraptions that will protect the egg. Then, drop each contraction from a height and see which team engineered the best protection.

Purpose: This game is good for encouraging innovation, problem-solving, and teamwork. 

9. The Barter Puzzle 

Time required: 1-2 hours
Players: 4+ small groups of equal numbers
Game materials: Different jigsaw puzzles for each group, all same difficulty level
Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

Rules

Each group is given a puzzle, but with a few pieces from other groups’ puzzles mixed in. The team must negotiate with other teams to retrieve those pieces, whether it means swapping team members, bartering, or whatever. All decisions must be made as a group. Place a time limit to increase the challenge.

Purpose: This game encourages leadership but also an important aspect of leadership: deferring to others’ input and making sure everyone is on the same page.

10. Truth and Lies 

Time required: 10-15 minutes
Players: 5+
Game materials: Just yourselves
Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

Rules

Everyone sits in a circle, then takes turns telling three truths and a lie about themselves. The lie should be believable. In each turn, the other people guess which thing the person was lying about.

Purpose: This icebreaker is great for getting people to feel more comfortable with the rest of their team.

11. Blind Drawing 

Time required: 10-15 minutes
Players: 2+
Game materials: A picture, pen, and paper
Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

Rules

Have everyone form pairs in which they’re sitting back-to-back. One partner has the picture, the other has pen and paper. The one with the picture must describe it without actually describing it. The one with the pen and paper must draw it from their partner’s vague description.

Purpose: Enhance communication and improve descriptive skills among team members. 

Get ready to play along 

Many people don't see the value in team-building exercises or games like the ones mentioned above, but the truth is, if you want to see your employees working together through stressful situations and see how they problem-solve, these types of activities are crucial. Not only is being a good worker important, but being a team player as well. 

Curious about other ways to manage your meetings creatively and with ease? Check out meeting management software to help you automate some processes while you people-manage like a pro. 

See the Easiest-to-Use Meeting Management Software →

Leo Kangin
Author

Leo Kangin

Leo Kangin is a Productivity Trends specialist for Brief Brief. He's also a regular contributor at DataBird Business Journal.