If your office is a super quiet space where everyone comes to work, plugs in their earbuds to do their work, doesn't talk with their colleagues at all, and leaves work to get some rest before repeating the same routine the next day, your office probably isn't very fun.
Of course, people go to work to, well, work. But that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy yourself. After all, we spend the bulk of our lives working, and it'd be a lot better if you had some fun doing it.
You can make your office more fun by hosting workplace team-building activities during off hours, on lunch hours or after work during happy hours. There are tons of team-building activities and office games from which to choose.
While there are countless options for team-building activities, here are 25 office games to get you started.
Give an object to one person in the group and, one at a time, everyone has to stand up and demonstrate a use for that object without speaking. Meanwhile, the team has to guess what the player is demonstrating. The exercise is to inspire creativity and innovation.
Teams have to solve a problem using only four or more different objects. They might be stranded on a deserted island or are trying to save the planet from burning up. The ice breaker is to inspire creativity in problem-solving.
Two partners, A and B, share something negative that have happened in their lives — this might be a personal or work-related memory. Then, they reshare their same stories but only by discussing the positives, and they help each other explore the silver lining. This exercise helps teams discover how to reframe negative situations together.
Teams head off together to accomplish a list of goofy tasks, each of which will earn them a certain number of points. These tasks might include taking a selfie with a stranger or doing parkour, and they all have to be completed by the deadline. Whoever wins the most points wins the scavenger hunt. This game can bring people from different departments and teams together by pairing them with each other to get the job done.
Groups are given different jigsaw puzzles, each of which has had pieces of other puzzles mixed in at random. Members of each group have to strategize and barter with other teams to get back their missing puzzle pieces first and then complete the puzzle.
You set a hypothetical situation, like you're all on a boat and that boat becomes stranded in a body of water. Perhaps it catches fire and you all have to abandon the boat. The team has to create and prioritize a list f items they'd grab from the boat and agree, together, on the top 10 items.
Before a team meeting, have each individual member walk around and discuss what they hope to contribute to the meeting with as many others as possible. Then they'll all walk into the meeting with intent and hopefully accomplish their missions. This intends to improve meeting productivity.
Create a hypothetical electric fence (with a rope or shoe string, perhaps even two chairs) and ask teams to cross over it without touching the fence. This will bring teams together to solve a problem with each other.
Divide into two teams and have each build a bridge out of the materials provided. The goal is for the two bridges to have similar or identitcal designs so they can both fit together when each team is done, but it's challenging because the teams cannot see each other at work. They're only allowed to communicate verbally (perhaps via Slack).
Everyone stands in a circle facing each other, shoulder to shoulder. They each put their right hands out and grab a random hand of someone across from them. Then they put their left hands out and grab another random hand. Then they all need to work together to untangle their arms from the human knot without releasing their hands.
Two people sit back to back. One of them has a drawing that they have to describe to the other person, who is equipped with a pen and paper. That person with a pen and paper has to draw what they think the picture is based on the verbal description they're given. This exercise promotes effective communication.
Create a list of names, which can be celebrities or even types of professions such as actor or doctor. Write these down on Post-It notes and place them on people's foreheads without showing them their name. Then have everyone speak with each other for a set number of minutes asking yes or no questions until they're able to correctly guess the name on their own forehead. This game helps teammates interact with others who they might not get to talk to much throughout the day.
Grab a circular tarp with a hole cut in the middle (or a plastic sheet) and some tennis balls. Then have you team stand around the tarp, each holding a piece of it. Then have them each shake the tarp so that it moves around like a wave. And, once it is moving, throw in the tennis balls.
Stand around in a circle holding a piece of rope. Then put on blindfolds and set the rope on the floor. Together, the goal is to form a perfect square with the rope without removing the blindfolds. To make this game even more difficult, you can do it completely silently.
Have each member of your team sit in the hot seat and then have everyone else in the team fire out 20 questions total. The person in the hot seat has to answer all 20 questions honestly, so long as they're appropriate. This helps coworkers get to know each other on a deeper level.
Find an open space like an empty parking lot or park field. Place objects like cones or balls sporadically across it, and have everyone pair up (one person should be wearing a blindfold). The other person without the blindfold needs to direct their blindfolded teammate around the open space without stepping on the objects, using only verbal instructions, and the blindfolded person cannot speak at all.
Everyone stands in a circle and throws a ball to another person, but they have to name that person before they toss them the ball. As the group becomes more comfortable, add more balls to group juggle.
The group has to cross the river of lava by jumping over and maneuvering around different objects. If anyone touches the floor, they'll get burnt and have to start over. The first full team to cross the river are the winners.
Create cards with photos and names of team members or with company information (like logos, value pillars, products, etc.). Then have team members flip over cards two at a time to try to find matching pairs. This helps employees learn more about each other and the business in a fun way.
Groups of three to five people each have an uncooked egg and some office supplies. They have 15 to 30 minutes to use the supplies to build a contraption around the egg so that, when the egg is dropped (later), it won't break. The team whose egg doesn't break when dropped wins. This helps teams solve problems and innovate together.
Each team is given newspapers and a pen to scribble out and come up with different headlines that cover what the company will be doing in the future. They then share their headline ideas with the rest of the team and discuss feedback. This helps business owners and entrepreneurs who want to work together on the company's direction and goals.
Everyone stands in a circle and teams of three to eight each pull a piece of paper out of a hat or bucket. Each piece of paper has a short skit on it, and the teams have to enact those skits. This exercise helps the more introverted people in the office break out of their comfort zones.
Task the employees in the office with baking the best cupcakes or cookies, or even decorating the best cakes. Then have everyone bring in their desserts to have a bake off, with judges, during lunch one day. Everyone gets to eat cake and socialize with each other over lunch, and the winner gets a prize like a lunch gift card.
Divide into several groups and have one person from each group take a peek at a hidden object in just 10 seconds. That person must relay the information that they see to the rest of their group, so it's important that they take as many mental notes as possible in that timeframe. Then the group must try to recreate the object based on the person’s description.
Everyone sits in a circle facing each other and comes up with two truths and a lie about themselves. One by one they each share their two truths and a lie, and the rest of the circle has to guess which one is the lie. This helps team members get to know each other better and learn new things about one another.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.