An office aware of a teambuilding event is one split between those who cannot wait to socialise and waste a day of work and those who would rather walk their goldfish than spend any more time with their colleagues. However much teambuilding exercises have been criticised for failing in bonding workmates or changing social situations at work, there must be something to it that has kept it top of mind when executives wish their office to work better as a team.
However, the trick is to find teambuilding activities that: are not competitive in any way; build trust without obviously doing so; reward everyone for their input; and have a direct correlation to how the participants work in the office.
The following teambuilding exercises encourage office members to work together towards common goals in ways that build trust and enhance performance and learning, while also rewarding every person for their input.
What Am I?
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You will need sheets of paper printed with the individuals of pairs (such as Salt and Pepper, Mario and Luigi, Knife and Fork, and so on), which will be stuck to your employees' backs. Your employees must also prepare a sheet of five facts about themselves. Everyone will have to speak to everyone else, asking questions about what the word is on their back. Once they know what they are, they must find their matching individual. The pair then sit together and exchange the facts with each other.
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Zombies are all the rage in popular culture at the moment thanks to television shows such as 'The Walking Dead' and 'iZombie'. Tap into this zeitgeist with this challenging, fun, and collaborative game. Your entire office will have to work together on this one, bar the one member who offers to play the zombie. For this activity you will need a rope, a key, and a couple of puzzles (10 at most). Your zombie will be 'tied' to the corner of the room in which the activity will take place and the restraint is loosened every few minutes. Your employees must solve all the puzzles in order to obtain the key that will set everyone free before the zombie escapes.
A Shrinking Vessel
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For this activity, all you'll need is a rope or measuring tape. Gather all your employees together inside the looped rope or tape. Slowly shrink the space inside the loop. Your employees must work as a team to keep everyone within the boundary of the loop. As the space becomes smaller faster, the team will have to think fast and creatively to keep everyone inside.
Blind Man's Bluff
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Create an obstacle course inside your office or out on the grounds if possible using boxes, chairs, and anything else you can think of. Array some kind of fruit, like an apple or orange, around the obstacle course - these will serve as mines. Allow your employees to pair up, preferably with someone outside of their immediate work environment. They then take turns to verbally guide their partner through the obstacle course, taking care to avoid the mines. This is an exercise in trust. Sometimes the exercise involves a competitive aspect, with rewards for the pairs who move fastest through the course it is best to avoid any competition, so rather reward everyone at the end with a snack or meal.
Memory Wall and Campfire
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Set aside a section of wall or purchase a giant pinboard. Ask your employees to write down or illustrate a happy memory or achievement they've had during their time at your company. Write all your employees' names on separate pieces of paper and place them in a hat. When their name is drawn, the employee must share their happy experience with the rest of the office. The employees' note is then put up on the wall or pinned on the pinboard. This will form a positive Memory Wall, and you can indulge in this activity once every few months to add to the wall.
All the above activities focus on individuals' success and also on building the feeling of a a collaborative and creative work environment that is certain to raise productivity.
By Roane Swindon
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