You don’t have to tell us, we hear you. Team-building games feel like a thing of the past. Who wants to spend time on their corporate retreat playing team building games?
Take it from us, they don’t have to suck. As a fully remote team ourselves, we rely heavily on virtual and in-person team-building games to raise morale, teach values and honestly, have fun. There is a fine line to navigate between fun and unique team building games that will actually add value to your group, and overdone, kitchy activities. Rather than dragging your group through a series of overdone Trust Falls and games of Two Truths and a Lie, we challenge you to think outside the box and offer team building games that the group will actually enjoy.
Corporate retreat team building games can inspire a group while encouraging strong teamwork and collaboration. Removing the team from their work environment and providing fun activities to participate in together will allow them to relate differently to one another and connect more effectively than from behind their screens. Keep in mind that there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to planning games - and don’t forget to make sure that your activities cater to everyone on your team!
Below are some tried and true team building games that we’ve found to elevate and engage any group while bringing meaningful bonding to your corporate treat. We can promise you one thing - these team building games don’t suck.
1. Human Bingo
What better way to get to know your colleagues than with a company-wide game of human bingo! This get-to-know-you style icebreaker will encourage participants to learn fun facts about each other and make memories together through a series of questions and challenges.
Rather than competing for just a five stamp line, the purpose of this game is to learn as much as possible about each other in an effort to complete your entire bingo card! Human bingo can be played over the course of your corporate retreat, with a variety of challenges to be completed each day, or it can be as simple as a quick 30 minute icebreaker to play upon arrival.
The best part? This team building game requires almost no materials and is very travel friendly! Some pens and premade paper cards are all you need to create this memorable experience.
Here are a few examples of puzzles and challenges to include:
- Speaks more than two languages (bonus points if you know which ones!)
- Get Sydney to teach you a TikTok dance
- Once worked as part of the Whistler Ski Patrol
- Has lived in 4 different countries
Be creative! This team building game is entirely customizable, so include challenges specific to your company and team. You’ll quickly see your colleagues stepping outside their comfort zone to get to know each other and mingle with new faces!
2. Scavenger Hunts
Picture this: Your employees are divided into small teams and dropped off in the city centre of Lisbon, with nothing but an iPad in-hand and competitive spirit in their hearts. Teams race through the city - taking quirky (read: ridiculous) selfies in front of monuments, completing culturally-specific challenges (tile painting, anyone?), and interacting with locals with the hopes of accumulating enough points to be crowned the victors.
Everyone knows the premise of a scavenger hunt, and they are a fantastic way to facilitate team building. Perhaps a little less well-known, is how much more an activity of this nature can do beyond fostering a little competitive spirit. If you take a closer look at how corporate scavenger hunts are designed, their intrinsic value begins to come forward: competitiveness, setting and achieving goals, task management and completion, authority delegation, problem solving, and more!
With this in mind, it’s easy to see that while a scavenger hunt can be a fun afternoon team building event to build into your corporate retreat as it will also be engendering the fundamentals of company success in the process… win-win!
3. For Hybrid Teams, A Virtual Escape Room
With busy schedules and personal comfort varying, it is possible some of your colleagues may not be able to make it to your in person retreat. If this is the case, setting aside a couple of hours to host a hybrid event will certainly be appreciated in an effort to ensure everyone can be included in the retreat. Escape rooms make for great team building games, so we suggest hosting a hybrid escape room to give the entire team, whether onsite or online, a chance to connect. Check out our post on How to Host an Engaging Hybrid Event for even more suggestions and best practices.
4. Giant Bumper Ball
Let’s face it, human bumper ball is one of the most exciting team building games you can play as an adult! Suit up in your inflatable bubbles and spark some friendly competition as you bounce, roll, and dive around the field. Since your experience is completely customizable, decide which game (soccer, capture the flag, etc.) would be best suited for your group, and host a tournament. This corporate retreat team building game is the perfect afternoon activity for active groups who want to fuel up some friendly competition!
5. Company Trivia
A bit better than your average game of Trivial Pursuit, if you put in the extra effort it can be a great way for the team to learn more about the company, each other, and have fun doing it. Using the traditional Trivial Pursuit board and rules a manager will create custom categories and trivia questions based on the business and team members attending the retreat. General company knowledge should be used such as sales goals, previous events, marketing plans and future milestones.
The purpose of the game isn’t to prove who doesn’t know enough about the business, so make sure at least a few members of each team will likely know the answers to most questions with a few tough ones mixed in. We promise it's an easy but engaging team building game that will enhance any company retreat!
6. Epic Outdoor Laser Tag
Starting the day with a welcome presentation and group breakout sessions followed by a Tex-Mex lunch before the group suited up for an elaborate game of “Operation Enduring Freedom”. This epic and unique team building activity was no ordinary game of laser tag, it was a detailed tournament involving tripwires, smoke-bombs, paintball grenades and even a helicopter.
We undertook the mammoth task of once again custom building each team a base camp, creating personalized camouflage coveralls and ghillie suits. This one-of-a-kind capture the flag style wargame was designed to ensure teams were forced to rely on strategy and team coordination for their gameplay as opposed to just running out into the field guns blazing!
7. Try Something Local
Different countries and cultures all have games and traditions unique to their specific destination, so what better way to bond with your team than while engaging in some friendly, local competition. In Italy? Try a pasta making class. Taking your corporate retreat to Singapore? Have a Dragon Boat race down the Singapore river! Your team will appreciate the chance to bond while also exploring the region’s culture through a local team building activity. It’s also a great way to reward your team after a day of meetings or co-working.
8. Beach or Lawn Olympics
Hosting an Olympics style event is a great way to bring out everyone’s competitive spirit and give them an opportunity to do something active outdoors. A large open space (whether that be a beach, lawn, or field) will be a key component to this event, so as long as this is available to you, Olympics are a no-brainer!
Split your group into teams and create a series of challenges based on your location, available materials, and interests. Teams will compete in a variety of games over multiple rounds as they accumulate points in an effort to be crowned Olympic champions.
The best part about the Olympics? You can customize the event to meet the needs of your group. Offering a wide range of activities will ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate and play to their strengths.
Some potential games:
- A relay race
- Company based trivia round
- Sandcastle building competition
- A mini-talent show
- Volleyball tournament
Competition is a great way to encourage bonding among colleagues, so including a giant scoreboard is a sure-fire way to ensure the group stays motivated and fuels their competitive spirit. Want to take it one step further? Ask groups to create team names and arrive in costume!
9. Learn Something New, Together
There’s no better way to bond and facilitate team building during a corporate retreat than over a shared experience! The added element of trying something for the first time will do wonders to bring colleagues together. Whether this be leading a seminar on a skill you can all learn (like first aid) or trying out a new activity (surfing), the shared experience and knowledge will unite your whole team.
Learning requires a certain level of vulnerability and open-mindedness that encourages growth. As you work through this new experience, your team will grow individually and collectively. They’ll share laughs and make memories during your corporate retreat as they bond over the novelty of this new experience.
Trying a new activity is also a great opportunity to choose an experience native to the destination you’re visiting to add an element of culture to your retreat. Visiting Cuba? Take a salsa class! By the beach? Try surfing! The options are endless. We encourage you to think about a skill that would improve your company’s operations or poll the group to see what they’d like to learn then do this activity together.
10. Cardboard Boat Building Competition
All aboard! While it may look easy at first, don't let this classic team building game fool you - building a floating cardboard boat is no small feat. Split into teams, your group will use a set of allotted materials to build boats out of sheets of cardboard. Not all teams will have the same materials, so trading and bartering (and sometimes, begging!) is critical for success. When time is up, teams will hit the water with their boats to see who can go the distance. Bonus points will be awarded to various categories like "most creative design" and "best cheer".
11. Salad Bowl
If you’re looking for an evening team building game to bring the group together in a casual atmosphere, look no further than Salad Bowl! This fast-paced take on charades will have even the most shy of your colleagues competing for champion. The simple game will go a long way in offering a fun evening activity during your corporate retreat.
The rules are:
- Ask everyone to write down a word on a slip of paper; this can be company related, a famous person, a city - anything!
- Divide the group into teams of 3-6. Each round, teams will nominate one representative to give the clues, while the remainder of the team guesses. You have 60 seconds to get as many points as possible. After each round, return all of the words back to the bowl for the next game.
- Round 1: Have your teammates guess the word using verbal clues
- Round 2: Get your teammates to guess by acting the word out (charades)
- Round 3: Test your skills and use just one word as a clue
- Round 4: Act out the word from under a blanket - silly we know, but this always gets the group laughing!
12. Get Competitive!
Introducing some friendly competition into your next offsite or virtual retreat does wonders: it gives teams the ability to meet new faces and strengthen social bonds, it encourages cooperation, and gives folks a chance to learn communication strategy under pressure!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - the Moniker team thrives off a little friendly competition. We’ve tried ‘em all - the trivia games, the scavenger hunts, even musical chairs! When we want to spice things up a little, we come up with new games for our team to indulge in. Here are some great - and different - ideas for your team to get a little competitive!
- Bracket Competitions: Yes, exactly what you’re thinking! Just like a classic March Madness bracket (or any sport for that matter), face off against your team for their favourites! Whether it’s classic rock bands, or favourite countries in the world - let your team face-off with contrasting opinions and funny stories!
- Cookie Bake-off: This is a great one that can be done both virtually and in-person. Get set up with a theme, and have everyone get cookies in advance. Get decorating, and vote for the winners!
- Team Amazing Race: Before heading into your offsite retreat, put your group into smaller teams. Have them come up with a name, cheer, and costume, and let the games begin! From physical activities to intellectually challenging games, tying it all together in an Amazing Race-style competition is a sure-fire way to get everyone hyped up!
Over the course of your corporate retreat, it is so important to ensure you build out intentional time for team building to occur outside of the boardroom. As evidenced with all of the out-of-the-box ideas above, corporate retreat team building games can be fun and enjoyable, rather than kitchy and cringy. Reflect on your group’s interests, the location you’re in, and what your goals are for team building, then choose activities your team will genuinely enjoy. The real magic happens when the group bonds over a shared experience that’s memorable and unique.