Team-Building Activities with a Purpose

Why do we have a love/hate relationship with team-building activities? For some, such activities are uncomfortable and unproductive. Yet for others, engaging with their co-workers in unconventional ways can be a nice break from the day-to-day grind of work. Trying to find the right kinds of activities to fit your team can be challenging. A quick online search will produce numerous lists of team-building activities; however, determining which ones are most inclusive and effective is still not an easy decision to make.

Setting goals and defining a purpose for your team-building activities can help narrow the list down to only the most appropriate activities. Has your organization recently hired several new people and you need to get to know one another? Has the company had a major shift in management and you need a morale boost? Do projects keep your team members siloed and you need to mix things up a bit? All of these situations and more can be a good reason to host team-building activities.

Based on the goals you want to achieve, here are a few ideas to help make the most of your team-building efforts.

Team-Building Activities to Get to Know One Another

  • Show and Tell

Have your co-workers bring something from home that represents who they are or sparks a memory. This could be anything from a handmade craft to a photo of a classic car. So that no one has to volunteer to go first, draw numbers to determine in what order everyone will share their story.

Change the game up by placing all the items on a table and place a container of some kind behind each item. Each team member will guess which item belongs to whom by placing the name of the co-worker into the container of the respective item. Once all guesses have been made, count all the guesses per item and write them down where everyone can see. Next, go around the room and reveal which item belongs to each person. Everyone will learn something interesting about their co-workers and about themselves.

  • Two Truths and a Lie

Go around the room and have each person share two truths and one lie about themselves. The rest of the group will guess which one is the lie.

  • Career Path Presentation

This will take some preparation time, so make sure to request your co-workers’ participation a few weeks in advance. Have each team member prepare a presentation on the jobs they’ve held, leading up to how they got their current job.

Team-Building Activities to Support Collaboration

  • Scavenger Hunt

Divide your group into teams and have them follow clues to find items that have been hidden. This can be accomplished at the office building, in a park, or around the city. Items collected can be part of a puzzle that the team has to complete or something they have to build. Or, items can be small gifts that each team member gets to keep.

  • Ropes Course

Have co-workers who wouldn’t mind a physical challenge? Check your local recreational organizations for a ropes course or wall climbing facility. These activities encourage team members to motivate one another, practice patience, and share in the accomplishment of completing the task.

  • Escape Room

Although a little more expensive, hosting your team-building activity in an escape room is a group favorite. You can even divide your group into teams to see who will escape first!

Team-Building Activities to Improve Morale

  • Community Service

Nothing feels better than giving back to your community. And volunteering as a group not only gives you personal satisfaction, it’s also a great way to boost your company’s public profile. Serving meals, boxing canned goods, reading to children, playing Canasta with the elderly, picking up trash, or rebuilding a home are all great ways to serve your community as a team.

  • Potluck

Nothing brings people together faster than food, so what better way to bring your team together than to eat together. Have everyone on your team bring a dish to share at work. Of course, if someone prefers to purchase their favorite dish or dessert, that’s perfectly appropriate as well. Have each person share where they got the recipe and/or why it is their favorite dish or dessert.

Team-Building Activities to Communicate Better

  • Telephone

Everyone has played this a time or two, and although it’s typically considered a children’s game, a lot can be garnered from the game for adults as well. Change the game up a bit and instead of whispering a phrase into your neighbor’s ear, text the message to the next player. The rule is, you can’t copy and paste the message. The message must be texted to the next player by memory. Acronyms and emojis are fair game!


  • Back-to-Back Drawing

Give one team member a picture. Give another team member (or several at the same time) an easel with paper and markers. The person with the picture will describe the picture without saying exactly what it is. Once the allotted amount of time has passed, everyone will see how well the description of the picture was communicated.

Participation is Key

To encourage participation and improve your team’s willingness to cooperate, offer one or all of the following incentives. Host your team-building activities off-site. Nothing is better than a change of scenery. Provide your team with a free meal either before, during, or after the activities. Have you ever met someone who has turned down free food? Another incentive could be to offer the remainder of the day off. Once your team-building activities have concluded, allow your team to go home or take care of personal business, even if it’s just one hour early.

No matter the reason to conduct a team-building activity, everyone is sure to get something out of it. Let us know what team-building activities are your favorite in the comment section below.

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