Team-building activities. We know, we know, cue the eye roll. The idea of a team-building activity not only feels cringe-worthy, but outdated. Two truths and a lie? Lame. A company wide soccer game? Boooooring! When a team-building exercise is poorly planned, the results can be abysmal. But when an activity is executed properly, positive effects can be long-lasting, far beyond your retreat.
As a fully remote team who plans corporate retreats for other fully remote teams, the value of a properly executed team-building activity goes far beyond bringing your group together - it gives your team time to realign on values and goals, work with teams and folks they’ve never met, and connect outside of the workplace.
We’re here to tell you: It’s time to get creative with these tried and true games and activities for company offsites. They can be played on retreat, in a boardroom, or even virtually! No matter your method, these are sure to shake it up, get everyone smiling, and your team a little bit more cohesive than before.
Quick Tips for Effective Offsite Team Building Activities
While we are the experts at planning corporate retreats, we’re also a big fan of creating our own! Because we are a remote team, a big portion of our retreats involve team-building games and activities. It’s important to us that our activities are inclusive, and our teams feel comfortable participating. Here are our quick tips for planning team-building activities:
- Make everyone feel comfortable: A company-wide soccer game may not suit everyone’s athletic abilities, but a big trivia night gives everyone an opportunity to participate.
- Create a goal: By defining a goal before you begin planning, you won’t accidentally turn your activities into a competitive mess!
- Time them right: There is nothing worse than being stuck in a boardroom playing pictionary for four hours. Ensure the group doesn’t get bored by keeping activities at a reasonable length!
- Don’t take it too seriously: One of the reasons team-building has such an outdated perception is because there is a history of taking these activities too seriously. Have fun!
Moniker loves a good game of Trivia. We mean it - there’s nothing like a little competition to bring your team together! Just like your traditional Jeopardy-style trivia, prepare for your activity by purchasing either buzzers or whiteboards. Have a predetermined Trivia Master standing at the front with the questions. When a team wants to answer, they either have to buzz in or write their guess on the whiteboard and hold it up to answer. Keep your team engaged with a balance of easy and difficult questions, both about the company and its employers. This could include questions about company values, current clients or projects, and yearly goals.
Getting the team together needn’t exclude those who can’t make it! There are tons of great ways to hold a virtual trivia, or to include those who are unable to attend the offsite. Here are some great ideas for virtual games, including trivia, for your team building.
Shake it up: Before your offsite (in-person and virtual), have the Trivia Master send out questions to some of your employees to answer. Include these in your trivia game for the ultimate icebreaker!
Another Moniker favourite, the scavenger hunt! Split your crew up into smaller teams and send them out with nothing but an iPhone and a long list of tasks to do, selfies to take, songs to sing, and locals to talk to! The best part? The pictures you get to share afterwards!
On the surface, a scavenger hunt is a great way to get your teams out and about while fostering a bit of competitive spirit. Beyond that, it encourages team-building in a playful and silly way, and can shed light on some of the lesser known values of team-building activities:
- Non-linear problem solving
- Challenging One Another
- Building Communication Skills
Shake it up: Schedule a post-hunt reflection, where teams can share photos as well as their problem-solving strategies. Many of the methods used to complete the scavenger hunt will align with the company’s mission and values!
You know what they say: if you really want to get to know someone, travel cook together! Finding a local cooking class is a great way to pair team-building with learning about local cultures and foods. Think: poutine in Quebec, paella in Spain, pasta in Italy!
A cost-efficient way to grab a local meal and spend time with your coworkers, a cooking class allows your team to work together in smaller groups. It develops strong communication, and encourages people to get to know those in other teams. Most importantly - it’s a fun and casual way for your teams to hang out with one another, and have good food!
Shake it up: Make the cooking class a competition, and have your instructor be the judge. There is nothing like adding a little pressure with some friendly competition!
This is another great activity that perfectly balances team-building with fun. Not only is it an effective way for coworkers to meet other teams, but it’s an awesome way to get everyone outside, comfortably. Having a relatively large outdoor space at your disposal is important for this activity, so if that’s the case, this one’s for you!
Split your group into smaller teams, and have them decide on a team name. Similar to popular TV show, The Amazing Race, have one host ready to start with the clues. Once you hand over the first clue, it’s game time! Organize various different challenges for teams to complete in order to win: eating funny foods, completing obstacle courses, finding clues hidden in silly places.
Shake it up: Take your group outside of their comfort zone, and bring them to a city or town!
Adrenaline Activities: Indoor Rock Climbing, Go-Karting, High-Ropes or Ziplining!
A few classics to bring to your company offsite, introducing adrenaline-inducing activities has team-building benefits, and in more ways than one! All of these activities push groups to get out of their comfort zone together, which can create a sense of bonding as well as strengthen relationships. Having to speak to another through activities like rock climbing or high-ropes courses teaches teams how to communicate effectively and directly.
Shake it up: There aren’t too many *safe ways to shake up an activity like go-karting, but a great way to raise the stakes is to offer a prize! Keep it simple like a half day off, or a $50 gift card. When your group is incentivized, it gets a little more rowdy!
Though this may seem a little tame for team-building opportunities, one of the best ways to get people thinking about their teams before the company offsite is to plan a company Oscar Awards. Think big - a red carpet, invitations, round tables, hors d'oeuvres, even mini Oscar trophies! Finding a way to give back to your employees with a night of recognition helps with team-building in more ways than one:
- It gives employees a period to reflect on their work, and the work of those around them
- It allows employees to feel recognized by their peers
- It gives an opportunity for the company to reflect and realign their values as necessary
- It’s a ton of fun, and can turn into a memorable night!
While having an Oscars-style party is tons of fun for your employees, there are also great ways to tie it to company mission and values. Before your company offsite, plan out what the awards are going to be. If honesty is a strong value in your company, create a “Transparency” award. If teamwork is a strong value in your company, create a “One for All” award. To keep it light, toss in a few fun awards, like “Best Zoom Outfits” or “Favourite Person at the 7am Meeting”.
Shake it up: Bring in a theme! Call your event something personalized (eg; Moniker Awards) to your company. Let people know in advance if there is a dress code, and plan the evening out accordingly.
Ask The Experts:
Though many of these activities can be planned on your own, ensuring that things run smoothly can be quite the task! We don’t shy away from saying we here at Moniker are experts when it comes to company retreats. If you’re not ready for a company retreat, check out our virtual team-building ideas instead!
If you want to know where to start for planning your company retreat, check out our step by step blog post! Not sure how to budget your that same company retreat? We’ve got you covered there too. If you’re feeling ready to jump into the process, reach out to us and we’ll get you started on this exciting company retreat planning journey.