Top 17 Unique Workplace Team Building Exercises: Ready, Set & Teambuild!

Afia Yaseen

Top 17 Unique Workplace Team Building Exercises: Ready, Set & Teambuild!

Ever heard the saying, “Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success“? This saying holds significant weight in the modern workplace. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. Because, strong teams are the backbone of successful companies.

Great teams don’t happen by accident. They are built through intentional effort and a commitment to continuous improvement. In today’s fast-paced business environment, team building exercises at the workplace have become essential for fostering collaboration, creativity, and productivity. 

Just imagine a workplace where colleagues high-five over solved problems, celebrate each other’s successes, and brainstorm like a pack of enthusiastic otters. Sounds a little out there, right? Well, it’s actually closer than you think. Well, research suggests it’s not so far-fetched. Research by SHRM indicates that connected employees are more satisfied and less likely to leave. The secret weapon? Team building!

We’re living in 2024 and today’s workplace team building exercises are designed to be engaging, effective, and yes, even fun. The workplace team building exercises should break down barriers, foster communication, and unlock the collective genius of your team, from collaborative art projects to blindfolded trust falls.

When employees feel valued, connected, and empowered to collaborate, it leads to a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Increased productivity: Engaged teams bring their A-game, leading to better outcomes.
  • Improved morale: Happy employees are more likely to stay with the company, reducing costly turnover.
  • Enhanced creativity and problem-solving: Diverse perspectives and a collaborative spirit fuel innovation.

Once, the legendary Basketball player Phil Jackson greatly said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

So, investing in team-building exercises is a strategic investment in the success of your organization. This blog post will equip you with 17 unique and effective workplace team building exercises to strengthen your team, boost morale, and unlock their full potential.

17 Workplace Team Building Exercises

Looking to transform your team from a disconnected group to a collaborative powerhouse? 

We’ve got activities that spark creativity, boost communication, and forge lasting connections. Check out these 17 workplace team building exercises:

Top Choices

1. The Art of Communication

A workplace team building exercise where participants work together to create a piece of art.

Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the complexity of the art piece)

Number of People: Ideally suited for smaller groups of 4-8 people to allow for active participation and discussion. However, it can be adapted for larger teams by dividing them into smaller sub-groups.

What’s needed: Art supplies, a theme or concept, and a team of participants.

How to perform: 

  • Divide the team into smaller groups and assign each group a theme or concept for their art piece. 
  • Encourage team members to communicate and collaborate to create a cohesive and visually appealing piece of art.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise promotes communication, creativity, and collaboration. 
  • It encourages team members to listen actively and share their ideas, leading to improved teamwork and productivity.

2. Fishbowl Discussion

The Fishbowl Discussion is a team-building exercise where participants engage in structured discussions and share ideas. It involves dividing the team into two groups: one group discusses a topic, while the other group listens and takes notes.

Duration: 45-60 minutes (including setup, discussion rounds, and information sharing)

Number of People: Works well for groups of 6-12 participants.

Ingredients:

  • A room with open space and chairs arranged in two concentric circles.
  • Handouts for observers to take notes.
  • Pens for all participants.
  • A list of questions associated with the discussion topic.

How to do it:

  • Arrange chairs in two concentric circles: The inner circle for players discussing the topic and the outer circle for observers.
  • Assign roles: Designate participants as either players or observers, providing pens and handouts to observers.
  • Start the discussion: Introduce the topic and allow players 15 minutes to discuss it, using the prepared questions to guide the conversation.
  • Switch roles: After 15 minutes, have the groups switch seats and roles, starting another 15-minute discussion on the same or a different topic.
  • Share information: Ask for volunteers to share the information gathered and describe their experiences in each role.

Why it’s a good team-building exercise:

  • Promotes effective communication and active listening.
  • Encourages idea exchange and diverse perspectives.
  • Enhances attentive listening skills and observation.
  • Fosters engagement, collaboration, and understanding among team members.

The Fishbowl Discussion is a valuable team-building activity that not only facilitates meaningful discussions but also cultivates essential skills like listening, observing, and effective communication within a team setting.

3. Collaborative Murals

Collaborative Murals is a team-building exercise where teams work together to create a large mural by dividing it into sections and assigning each section to individuals or small teams.

Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the size and complexity of the mural)

Number of People: Any team size can participate. However, for larger teams, consider dividing into smaller sub-groups to work on specific sections of the mural.

What’s needed: A large canvas or wall space, art supplies (e.g., paints, brushes, markers), and a theme or concept for the mural.

How to perform:

  • Acquire a large canvas or designate a wall space for the mural.
  • Divide the canvas or wall into sections, assigning each section to an individual or a small team.
  • Encourage team members to create their designs independently but communicate continuously to ensure that their pieces connect and harmonize in the final mural.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise enhances cooperation, project management skills, and fosters creativity through continuous communication.
  • It encourages team members to work together, negotiate, and organize themselves to create a cohesive and visually appealing mural. 
  • By focusing on detail-oriented tasks and non-verbal communication, team members can develop their creativity, attention to detail, and collaboration skills that can be applied to their professional lives.

4. Passions Tic Tac Toe

Passions Tic Tac Toe is a team-building exercise where participants fill in a 3×3 grid with their passions or core values and then mingle to find matches.

Duration: 15-20 minutes (depending on team size)

Number of People: Flexible and can accommodate any team size. Larger teams may need more time for mingling and finding matches.

Ingredients:

  • 3×3 grid for each participant
  • List of personal passions or core values
  • Time for mingling and comparing passions

How to do it:

  • Provide each team member with a 3×3 grid and ask them to fill in each box with a passion or core value.
  • Encourage team members to mingle and compare passions.
  • When someone finds a match, they each sign for the other person in that square of the grid.
  • The first participant to have three passions in a row wins.

Virtual/Hybrid Option:

  • Share the Passions Tic Tac Toe grid template with team members via email or a shared document.
  • Instruct participants to fill in their grids with their passions or core values.
  • Use a video conferencing tool to facilitate the mingling and matching process.
  • Encourage participants to share their screens to show their grids and find matches.
  • Continue the game until you have identified five winners.

How it’s a good team building exercise:

  • Fosters connection, understanding, and shared interests among team members.
  • Promotes interaction, collaboration, and the discovery of common values.
  • Strengthens team bonds and enhances communication.

Passions Tic Tac Toe is a simple yet effective team-building activity that encourages participants to share their passions and discover commonalities with their colleagues. This exercise can be adapted to a virtual or hybrid setting, making it accessible for remote teams.

5. Blind Drawing

Blind Drawing is a team-building exercise where participants collaborate to create a drawing based on verbal descriptions.

Duration: 20-30 minutes (including assigning topics, drawing, and comparing results)

Number of People: Ideally suited for pairs of participants.

Ingredients: Paper, Pencils & Pre-selected topics.

How to do it:

  • Divide the team into pairs.
  • Assign each pair a topic to draw.
  • Have one person describe the topic while the other draws with closed eyes.
  • Encourage communication and collaboration to create an accurate drawing.
  • After a set time, allow the drawer to open their eyes and compare the drawing to the original topic.

Why it’s a good team building exercise:

  • Enhances communication skills, teamwork, and creativity.
  • Challenges team members to effectively convey information and listen attentively.
  • Encourages team members to work together to achieve a common goal.

Suggested Reading: Your Complete Guide To Team Building Activities In The Workplace (20+ Activity Ideas) 

Good Choices (Builds Teamwork)

6. Childhood Game Revival

A team-building activity that revisits classic childhood games like tag, hide and seek, or red rover.

Duration: 30-45 minutes (depending on the chosen games and number of rounds)

Number of People: This activity works well for any team size.

What’s needed: Open space, props (if necessary), and a facilitator.

How to perform: 

  • Organize a series of childhood games that require teamwork, communication, and coordination. 
  • Encourage team members to work together, strategize, and have fun while revisiting their favorite childhood games.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise promotes teamwork, communication, and camaraderie among team members. 
  • It encourages team members to bond over shared experiences and nostalgia, fostering a sense of community and connection within the team.

7. Unique Exercise: Human Knot Variation

A twist on the traditional human knot game that incorporates a theme or a story into the activity.

Duration: 20-30 minutes (including explanation and multiple attempts at untangling the knot)

Number of People: Ideally suited for groups of 8-16 people.

What’s needed: Open space, props (if necessary), and a facilitator.

How to perform: 

  • Divide the team into smaller groups and provide them with a theme or story for the human knot game. 
  • Encourage team members to act out the scenario while untangling the human knot, adding a creative and imaginative element to the exercise.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise enhances creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork. 
  • It encourages team members to think outside the box, collaborate, and have fun while working together to untangle the human knot and act out the scenario.

8. The Problem-Solving Marathon

A workplace team building exercises where teams tackle a series of complex problems or challenges within a set time frame, emphasizing critical thinking and collaboration.

Duration: 1-2 hours (depending on the complexity of the problems and number of challenges presented)

Number of People: Works well for teams of any size. Larger teams can be divided into smaller sub-groups to tackle different problems simultaneously.

What’s needed: Problem scenarios, materials for challenges, timer, facilitator, and a team of participants.

How to perform:

  • Present teams with a series of problem-solving challenges or scenarios that require creative solutions.
  • Teams must work together to brainstorm ideas, analyze problems, and implement solutions efficiently.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise enhances problem-solving skills, teamwork, and time management.
  • It encourages strategic thinking, collaboration, and adaptability in addressing diverse challenges, fostering a culture of innovation and efficiency within the team.

9. The Trust Fall Challenge

A trust-building activity where team members take turns falling backward, relying on their colleagues to catch them, fostering trust and teamwork.

Duration: 15-20 minutes (including setup, instructions, and multiple attempts)

Number of People: Ideally suited for smaller teams (around 10-15 people) to ensure everyone gets a chance to participate.

What’s needed: Open space, safety mats or cushions, and a team of participants.

How to perform: 

  • Pair team members up and have one person stand with their back to the other. 
  • The standing person falls backward, trusting their partner to catch them. 
  • Rotate roles to build trust among team members.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise builds trust, communication, and teamwork. 
  • It encourages vulnerability, mutual support, and strengthens relationships within the team.

Choices that’ll Sharpen Skills

10. Frostbite 

Frostbite is a workplace team building exercise that requires participants to work together to build an emergency shelter using limited materials, simulating an Arctic exploration scenario. The objective is to create a functional shelter that can protect the team from a simulated storm, emphasizing problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills.

Duration: 30-45 minutes (including construction time and simulated storm)

Number of People: 4-6 people per team

What’s needed:

  • A designated area or room to conduct the activity
  • Materials for building the shelter, such as cardboard boxes, tarps, ropes, and blankets
  • Chairs or tables for the shelter’s framework
  • A timer or stopwatch to track the progress
  • A simulated storm, such as a fan blowing air or a spray bottle with water

How to perform:

  • Divide the participants into teams of 4-6 members.
  • Provide each team with a set of materials for building the shelter.
  • Give the teams a time limit of 15-20 minutes to construct their shelters.
  • During the construction, introduce a simulated storm, such as a fan blowing air or a spray bottle with water, to add a layer of challenge.
  • After the time limit, evaluate the shelters based on their functionality, creativity, and teamwork.

How it helps: 

  • Frostbite enhances problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills by requiring participants to work together under pressure to build a functional shelter. 
  • This activity fosters creativity, strategic thinking, and adaptability, as teams must adjust their plans based on the available materials and simulated storm.

11. Minefield

Minefield is a trust-building and communication team exercise where partners take turns guiding each other through an obstacle course while blindfolded. This activity promotes effective communication, trust, and problem-solving skills.

Duration: 20-30 minutes (including setup, instructions, and role-swapping)

Number of People: Works well for pairs of participants.

What’s needed:

  • A designated area or room to conduct the activity
  • Masking tape or cones for creating the obstacle course
  • Blindfolds for the blindfolded participants
  • A random assortment of materials for the obstacle course, such as toys, paper, pencils, or plastic eggs

How to perform:

  • Divide the participants into pairs.
  • One partner will be blindfolded or keep their eyes closed and will not be allowed to talk.
  • The other partner is allowed to see and talk but is not allowed to touch the blindfolded partner.
  • Create an obstacle course using the masking tape or cones.
  • The blindfolded partner must navigate the obstacle course safely while listening to the verbal guidance of their partner.
  • Swap roles and repeat the process.

How it helps: 

  • Minefield enhances verbal communication, trust, and problem-solving skills by requiring participants to rely on their partner’s instructions to navigate the obstacle course. 
  • This activity fosters active listening, adaptability, and effective communication, as teams must work together to overcome the challenges.

Top Picks to Invest in Growth

12. The Diversity Workshop

A workplace team building exercise focused on diversity and inclusion, promoting understanding and empathy among team members.

Duration: Half-day to full-day workshop (depending on the depth and complexity of the topics covered).

Number of People: Flexible, but consider the space limitations and facilitator’s capacity for a productive discussion.

What’s needed: Workshop materials, diversity training resources, discussion topics, and a team of participants.

How to perform: 

  • Facilitate discussions on diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias. 
  • Encourage team members to share experiences, perspectives, and ideas on creating a more inclusive workplace. 
  • Engage in activities that promote empathy and understanding.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise enhances cultural awareness, empathy, and communication. 
  • It fosters a more inclusive and diverse workplace, improves teamwork, and strengthens relationships among team members from different backgrounds.

13. The Charity Challenge

A team-building activity where participants work together to complete tasks and raise money for a charity.

Duration: Flexible (can be a one-day event or spread out over a longer period)

Number of People: Any team size can participate.

What’s needed: A charity to support, a list of tasks and challenges, and a team of participants.

How to perform: 

  • Choose a charity to support and divide the team into smaller groups. 
  • Assign tasks and challenges to each group, such as creating a fundraising video or organizing a bake sale. 
  • Encourage team members to collaborate and communicate to complete the tasks and raise the most money for the charity.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise encourages teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. 
  • It helps team members build trust and strengthen relationships, leading to a more cohesive and effective team.

People Also Read: 10 Fun Activities To Boost Morale In The Workplace

Ready, Set, Team Build! (Logistical Considerations)

14. Character Catwalk Challenge

A workplace team building exercise where team members dress up in creative costumes or outfits and showcase them in a fashion show.

Duration: 1-1.5 hours (including time for costume creation and runway showcase)

Number of People: Flexible, but ideally suited for smaller to medium-sized teams (around 10-20 people).

What’s needed: Costumes, props, music, and a runway or stage.

How to perform: 

  • Divide the team into smaller groups and provide them with a theme or concept for their costumes. 
  • Encourage team members to work together to create and design their costumes.
  • Then have them walk the runway to showcase their creations.

How it helps: 

  • This exercise enhances creativity, communication, and teamwork
  • It encourages team members to think outside the box, collaborate, and have fun while expressing themselves in a unique and memorable way.

15. Mystery Dinner Theater

Mystery Dinner Theater is an interactive workplace team building exercise where participants solve a mystery while enjoying a meal.

Duration: 2-3 hours (depending on the complexity of the mystery and meal service)

Number of People: Flexible, but consider logistical limitations like space and catering. It works well for both smaller and larger teams.

Materials: Mystery theme, Pre-assigned roles, Dinner theater setup & Scripts and props.

How to do it:

  • Choose a mystery theme.
  • Assign roles to team members.
  • Set up a dinner theater with tables and chairs.
  • Provide scripts and props.
  • Encourage team members to work together to solve the mystery by asking questions and gathering clues.

Why it’s a good team building exercise:

  • Promotes problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking.
  • Encourages collaboration, creativity, and engagement among team members in a fun and interactive setting.

16. Interactive Improv Workshop

An interactive Improv Workshop is a dynamic session where team members engage in improvisational exercises and games to enhance creativity, spontaneity, and teamwork.

Duration: 1-2 hours (depending on the number and complexity of improv activities)

Number of People: Ideally suited for groups of 8-16 participants to ensure everyone gets a chance to participate actively.

Materials:

  • Facilitator with experience in improv techniques
  • Space conducive to movement and interaction
  • List of improv activities and games
  • Open-minded and willing participants

How to do it:

  • Facilitate improv activities that encourage spontaneity, creativity, and teamwork.
  • Include role-playing scenarios, storytelling, and quick-thinking exercises.
  • Encourage team members to think on their feet, embrace new ideas, and collaborate effectively.
  • Create a supportive environment where participants feel comfortable exploring their creativity and trying new approaches.

Why it’s a good team building exercise:

  • Enhances communication, creativity, and adaptability among team members.
  • Promotes quick thinking, boosts confidence, and fosters a supportive team environment.
  • Improves collaboration, problem-solving skills, and the ability to explore new ideas in a fun and engaging manner.

An Interactive Improv Workshop is an excellent workplace team building exercise that not only boosts creativity and communication but also cultivates a supportive and collaborative team environment where members can explore new ideas and enhance their problem-solving skills in an enjoyable and engaging way.

17. The Reverse Talent Show

Teams showcase a “talent” they’ve never done before, learning and collaborating to create a unique performance.

Duration & People: 1 hour, teams of 6-8.

Materials: Props, costumes (optional), music player (optional).

How to Play:

  • Explain that the talent show will feature things people haven’t done before.
  • Divide into teams and provide a list of random skills or activities (e.g., juggling, playing a musical instrument, singing opera).
  • Teams have 45 minutes to practice and create a short performance using the assigned skill (encourage creativity and collaboration).
  • Each team presents their talent, celebrating the unique contributions of team members.

Team Building Benefits: 

  • This exercise fosters inclusivity, appreciation for diverse skill sets, and collaboration outside of employees’ comfort zones
  • It allows everyone to participate and showcase hidden talents.

💡General Tips:

  • Consider the size and interests of your team when choosing an activity.
  • Ensure the chosen activity aligns with your specific team-building goals.
  • Adapt the duration or complexity of the activity as needed to fit your time constraints.
  • Most importantly, create a fun and engaging atmosphere for your team to participate and bond.

FAQ’S

1. How much time do these activities take?

The time commitment varies depending on the exercise, but most can be completed in 15-60 minutes. Some workshops may take a half-day or full day.

2. What if my team is remote or has a hybrid work model?

Many workplace team building exercises can be adapted for a virtual setting using video conferencing tools and online collaboration platforms.

3. How do I choose the right activity for my team?

Consider your team’s size, interests, and specific goals when selecting an activity.

4. What are some additional tips for a successful team-building event?

  1. Ensure a fun and engaging atmosphere.
  2. Provide clear instructions and expectations.
  3. Encourage participation from all team members.
  4. Celebrate successes and acknowledge everyone’s contributions.

5. How often should we hold workplace team building exercises?

Regular workplace team building exercises can be beneficial. Consider quarterly or bi-annual events, with informal activities sprinkled throughout the year.

6. How can I measure the success of a team-building event?

Observing the team interactions and communication after the event are the KEY. You can also consider conducting surveys to gather feedback from participants.

Conclusions

These workplace team building exercises aren’t just about fun and games (although there’s plenty of that too!). They’re about unlocking the hidden potential within your team. Imagine a group that solves problems with the combined brainpower of a superhero squad, communicates with the clarity of a mind meld, and celebrates victories with the enthusiasm of winning the lottery. That’s the magic of Team Building – it transforms individuals into a powerful, collaborative unit. 

So, pick your favorite exercise from our top 17 workplace team building exercises, gather your crew, and get ready to watch your team rewrite the definition of “workplace synergy!”

Photo of author

Afia Yaseen

I am a professional writer passionate about translating complex business topics into clear, engaging content. My expertise lies in business, workplace, and corporate culture, helping readers navigate today's dynamic work environment.

Leave a Comment