Do you often feel like your employees are going in 50 different directions? Maybe it’s because they are. Team-building activities could be the cure.

Whether your staff is building car parts or writing content (like me!), they sometimes forget they’re part of a team. It’s easy to get buried in tasks and feel isolated even when you have a network of inspiration surrounding you.

According to a study by Academia, teamwork leads to top performances, individual satisfaction, and personal growth and development. The team spirit is essential for overcoming obstacles and maintaining good communication.

Without a teamwork atmosphere, your company may be at risk for sluggish production, slow growth and minimal profits. A study by Salesforce noted 86 percent of CEOs, employees and educators cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.

How to organize team-building activities

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So how do you get employees to reach out to one another and work as a team? Team-building exercises are a great, inexpensive way to start. Simply add short, group activities to your daily or weekly routine to build trust and familiarity among workers.

Don’t forget to end the activity by rewarding employees for their efforts. Promotional products make wonderful gifts to boost team-building and company branding all year long! Order in bulk for cost-savings and you’ll always have prizes on hand.

5-minute team-building activities

Split your staff into teams of six or so. Give each team a paper with a dozen semi-popular logos. For educational purposes, you may want to include logos of companies related to your industry. Give each team 5 minutes to write down the name of the business for each logo. The team that gets the most correct is the winner.

Balloon game

balloon team building game

Divide your group into five to 10 participants per team. Give each team a balloon with a goal of keeping it in the air for a full 5 minutes. Every minute, ask one participant to leave the team, forcing the others to fill the gap for the missing person. The team(s) that keeps the balloon from hitting the floor is dubbed the winner.

Eye contact

Have each employee pair up with someone in their department. Tell them the goal is to maintain eye contact with their partner for 60 seconds. When the time is up, ask each person to do the test again with a different person in their department. Repeat the game three to five times. The goal is to build trust and respect between team members.

Penny for your thoughts

Establish groups of six or eight in a circle and give each a penny baring a date no more than 15 years old. Go around the circle, one at a time, and ask each person to share something significant that happened to them that year. If they do not have anything of significance to share from that year, ask them to explain what was going on in their life at that time. This activity may take up to 15 minutes to complete.

Paper plane contest

paper airplane team building game

This might be the cheapest and most fun office team building activity ever! Give each participant a high-quality piece of paper and ask them to fold it into their version of the ultimate paper plane. Use a long hallway or another spacious area where each person can let their planes soar. Measure the distance of each before calculating a winner. Variations: Measure soaring time instead of distance. Participants can also be given prizes for well-decorated planes.

Back-to-back stand up

back to back stand up team building exercise

Be sure all participants are physically able and comfortable doing this activity. Have employees pair up with someone close to their own size. Have each pair sit back-to-back on the floor with arms interlocked. At the count of three, ask them to stand up by pushing through the legs and into their partner for support. The activity can be done in reverse so each pair ends up in their starting position on the floor. If there’s time, encourage each person to do the activity again with another team member.

Desert island survival

Tell participants they are going to be stranded on a desert island for an unknown amount of time and must choose just one item to bring along. Each person must briefly explain why they chose their item and what they will do with it on the island. After sharing the information, ask the group to devise a plan to use the items together for survival.

Two truths and a lie

5 minute team building games

This is a true ice-breaker activity, especially when you have several new employees on board. Every person is asked to write down two honest things about themselves and one lie. Each person will share their three statements and others must write down what they believe is the lie. The person who has the most correct guesses is the winner.

Expanded team-building ideas

Take the opportunity once or several times each year to extend your team-building efforts. It may require a bit more planning but the rewards are well worth it.

Shake things up with a field trip

Give your team some air and education with an informational outing. Direct office personnel on a tour of your manufacturing facility. This will give them an in-depth perspective on what your company does while uniting your entire workforce. You can also tour local companies that partner with your business. Your employees will get a better understanding of how your business operates while you strengthen the relationship with your vendors.

Organize some “give back” time

Set up a company program that supports employees who wish to perform volunteer work within the community. Choose one or more organizations that your team can help with throughout the year during work hours or after. Provide each of your volunteers with a company T-shirt to boost team-building while they perform the charitable work. Some businesses compensate employees who volunteer on their behalf.

Start building your team for success

This is only a small list of fun and effective team-building activities. Start by setting aside a time each week to do one or more. I suggest choosing a different activity each week to spice things up a bit. Some weeks you may want to stick to a 5-minute time slot. You can adjust the rules to fit the time and space you have.

After several attempts, ask a few staff members for their opinion on the results. Did everyone seem to have fun? Did it help people bond or in some way feel more connected? If so, make it a permanent part of your week. If that works well, consider one of the expanded ideas such as a field trip.

Do you have a great team-building exercise? Please share in the comments below!

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