Fun Team-Building Activities You Can Do in an Hour

By Robert Half on April 16, 2014 at 7:00am

We’re all kids at heart, right? Even your buttoned-up VP likes a lively game now and then, and nearly everyone enjoys a short diversion during routine days. Doing fun team-building activities together also raises spirits, builds camaraderie and yields greater productivity.

There are lots of techniques and methods to help encourage team cohesiveness. The next time your team has a free hour, try one of these fun team-building activities to build unity, reduce stress and have some fun:

Focus on self-improvement and team cohesion

Starting a hobby that employees pursue together is a great team-building idea. Invite an expert into the office for a lesson in a skill, a craft or an academic subject or language that your group may like. The cost of a teacher’s time is minimal or may even be free if your speaker stands to gain some clients, while the rewards to your team can be priceless. For example, aim to perfect the art of persuasive writing or learn to employ calming techniques in stressful situations.

Flex your collective creativity

Many team-building games focus on improving participants’ problem-solving skills while inspiring lots of laughter.

Here’s one to try, called the “Game of Possibilities”: Give a cloth napkin to groups of five to 10 participants. Then, one person from each group takes turns demonstrating a way to use the napkin that does not involve its intended purpose.

In this game, the rules make the fun. They are:

• The person must make his or her demonstration without speaking
• The person must stand while demonstrating
• The demonstration must be original

Clearly, this game could be repeated over and over with other items substituted for the cloth napkin (e.g., paper clip or binder clip). Hopefully, participants will learn to create new and unusual uses for everyday objects and translate this experience to creating new ways to solve problems, use resources or motivate a team.

Learn something new

If you’d like your team to get to know each other better, try the activity called “This Is My Life.” Here’s how to play: Use the face cards from several decks of cards. The face cards represent different stages of life — jacks represent childhood, queens are teen years, kings are young adult years and aces represent the present.

Each person draws a card and tells a story about the period of their life that corresponds to the card. This game helps your team uncover common interests and open dialogue.

Another getting-to-know-you activity is “Back-to-Back Drawing”: Divide your group into pairs and have each pair sit on the floor back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper. Ask the people holding the pictures to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape — without actually telling their partners what the shape is.

After they’ve finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider the following questions:

• How well did the first person describe the shape?
• How well did the second person interpret the instructions?
• What were the challenges with both the sending and receiving parts of the communication process?

When you choose fun team-building activities, make sure to keep your office personality in mind. Every office has a culture that people feel most comfortable operating in. Respect privacy and avoid embarrassing anyone. If your employees tend to be quiet and introverted, don’t force false joviality. And if your group is a lively bunch, make sure your team-building activities take place in a location that doesn’t disturb others.

More From the Blog...