Research clearly tells us that any effort you can invest in terms of time and energy to develop the team skills of your workplace will amplify the satisfaction, productivity and overall performance of your staff. This is why office team building activities and games are so important to deliver on a frequent basis.
Team Building Considerations for the Office
Every office is different, just as every team will comprise a diverse set of personalities and skills. However, that said, the delivery of team building games in an office environment are unique for the following reasons:
Most office environments offer limited areas of open or empty space to permit ample room for interaction, movement and equipment. Consider first how much space you could accommodate in your office, such as the meeting room before you choose what you’d like to present. Beware, even the largest spaces may be filled with furniture such as board tables, chairs and cabinets.
Key Office Skills
Be sure to choose activities that focus specifically on skills that are demonstrated in and are useful to people who work in office environments, such as effective communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. The 4 x Cs (as they are known) are the best skills to develop and nurture among your office staff. Many of the activities in this article will help you build these skills.
Inviting people to participate in any activity within the context of their ordinary workplace environment is always tricky. One of the benefits of running a team-building program away from one’s workplace is to remove people from their natural and cultural settings. For example, it’s hard not to view your boss as anything other than your boss when you see them in the office. To this end, you will need to work extra hard to invite your staff to engage with one another as equals.
Office Team Building Activities & Games
I have worked with thousands of office workers all over the world, often in their indoor environments to develop their team skills. After 30 years of program leadership, these are some of my favourite games and activities for office workers.
A simple, yet powerful exercise that demonstrates the impact of roles, perceptions and communication in the office. All you need is a deck of playing cards and just a small amount of space to invite people to mix and mingle.
Most office workers combine their talents to produce something. In this wonderful group initiative, your staff will work together to build the tallest they can (placing a marshmallow on top) in less than 20 minutes. A few simple ingredients and props will be required and most work can be performed at one’s office desk.
Every office has reams of paper, so preparing for this exercise is a cinch. Divide into small teams of 3 or 4 people and direct everyone to the box of discarded sheets of paper, possibly sitting next to the photocopying machine. I’ll bet that most of your staff will think that their task will be easy to complete, but watch what happens soon after they start. expect to see opportunities for collaboration, listening, empathy and goal-setting to appear.
A great no-props brain teaser that is perfect for small teams, huddled around a desk or table in front of a whiteboard. This could even become one of your favourite type of team building activities for meetings at your office – there are many more to choose from. Pitch the challenge and invite each small team to solve the problem of how to get three objects across a river in a particular order. It’s simple, but not easy.
Even if your space is stuffed with furniture, this fun connection activity will work. Start by asking one of your staff to announce something that they like about their workplace, or if this is too contentious, ask them to share anything that they like doing, eg going to the movies. Any other person who also likes the stated activity can link arms with the first person, and then they announce something that they like, etc. Continue until everyone is connected, with space permitting in one large circle. Click the link to view the video tutorial for an excellent example.
Beware the physicality of this exercise, but it can prove to be a wonderful way to build trust among your team members. All you need is a few clear hallways or passageways and set of pairs.
Note, team building is never a set and forget type of endeavour. You are well-advised to regularly and consistently engage in team-building activities, especially if your workplace experiences significant or frequent staff turnover.
Not sure you can present these activities yourself?
If you need help designing a fun and engaging team-building program your workplace, we can help. Just ask.