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. And now that more people are working in a hybrid or fully remote way, sometimes it is necessary to have virtual social activities and team off-sites that deliberately foster greater team-building and cohesion.
How Can I Make My Workplace and Work Environment More 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 and build tighter culture at work by hosting fun, team-building activities during off hours or during special team-building events. There are tons of different activities and office games from which to choose.
What Are the Best Team-Building Activities for Work?
While there are countless options for team-building activities, here are 55 office games to get you started. Note that some of these activities are better suited to in-person events than completely virtual or hybrid ones so adjust things based on your work environment and circumstances.
1. Game of Possibilities
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.
2. This Is Better Than That
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.
4. Scavenger Hunt
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.
5. Barter Puzzle
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.
6. All Adrift
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.
7. Purpose Mingle
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.
8. Electric Fence
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.
9. Bridge Build
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).
10. Human Knot
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.
11. Blind Drawing
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.
12. What’s My Name?
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.
13. Hole Tarp
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.
14. The Perfect Square
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.
15. 20 Questions
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.
16. The Mine Field
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.
17. Group Juggle
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.
18. Lava Flow
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.
19. Company Concentration
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.
20. The Egg Drop
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.
21. All the News
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.
22. Grab Bag Skits
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.
23. Bake Off
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.
24. Sneak a Peek
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.
25. Two Truths and a Lie
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.
26. Show and Tell
Everyone is asked to bring an item with a common theme, such as things that inspire them or things that make their day easier. This is both a great resource for colleagues to learn about helpful items or routines, and a way to get to know each other better.
27. Would You Rather?
In this game, leaders come up with two bizarre scenarios — like having arms for legs or legs for arms — and ask everyone to decide which one they'd rather have. Colleagues are then asked to present and defend their answers. This game encourages creative thinking and a lot of laughs.
28. Company Trivia
This game is like any normal trivia game, but with questions about the company. It's a great way to reintegrate important facts about the business or company culture into employees' minds — and invites some healthy competition.
In this game, participants sit in a circle and start with a sentence written on paper. The first person reads the sentence, quietly, in the person to their left's ear. That person then whispers to the person to their left, and so on, until the last person says out loud what was telephoned to them. It is sometimes shocking what is lost in translation! This is a great bonding activity and reasserts the downsides of rumors: What is repeated is often not what is said.
30. Silent Line Up
In this game, colleagues try to line themselves up without speaking along some kind of sorting system — from height to birthday. Only signing and gestures are allowed. This game invites creativity and problem solving, while also strengthening communication skills.
31. Get Together
In this game, colleagues try to sort themselves into groups based on commonalities like birth month, number of siblings or favorite color. The last person to be "ungrouped" is out, until there are only two winners left! This game encourages colleagues to learn new things about one-another — and commonalities, at that.
Everyone knows how to play hangman: You draw a man with every wrong letter guess until your colleagues finish a word. You can put an office twist on this classic game by making all of the words related to your company, like clients or products. This game encourages collaboration and problem solving.
33. Movie In Two Minutes
In this game, leaders predetermine a movie or TV show that is well-known by staff. Then, staff members are sorted into groups and tasked with creating a two-minute version of the plot of a famous movie or show. They then present their skits to the rest of the team or department, and all vote on which skit is best. This game encourages collaboration, creativity and confidence!
34. Name That Tune
In this game, teams race to guess the song that is playing. The team that correctly guesses the most songs, wins. This game encourages collaboration and bonding over one of the most beloved human experiences — the love of music!
35. Talent Show
In this game, teammates are encouraged to demonstrate their silliest or most impressive skill to a panel of "judges," who then vote on winners in a number of categories — from best in show to most likely to make the audience crack up. This game allows team members to learn about each others' interests and skills, and encourages each employee to enjoy the spotlight.
In this game, colleagues are encouraged to nominate one another for superlatives like "Best Dressed" or "Most Likely to Be President." The winners are then read off. This encourages each employee to feel included and appreciated for what they bring to the workplace.
37. Office-Themed Pictionary
In pictionary, colleagues draw a picture until their teammates are able to guess what the picture is. Give this classic game an office twist by making the pictures relate to your business — from products to buzzwords. This game encourages problem solving, creativity and a lot of laughs.
Codenames is available for free online, allowing colleagues to play over Zoom. In this game, teams are asked to guess "their words" on the board based on clues given to them by their team's "codemaster." It encourages problem solving and strong communication (all while learning the downsides of beating around the bush).
39. Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament
This game is exactly what it sounds like: A winner-takes-all rock-paper-scissors round robin. This game can be played in person or via Zoom video, making it not only a classic but a flexible option. It encourages healthy competition and an appreciation for bracket sports.
40. Guess That Coworker
In this game, coworkers are asked to write a fun fact about themselves on an index card that is then read out to the rest of the team. Teammates guess who the fun fact is about, then get to revel in the story. This game helps colleagues learn about each other and share things that are important to them.
41. It's Your Problem
In this game, colleagues are split into teams and tasked with creating a team building game. Then, the best game is chosen to be played. You killed two birds with one stone! This game encourages team work and problem solving — and it can save some time for HR.
42. Guess That Baby
For 'Guess That Baby,' colleagues submit a photo of themselves as a child that is projected or shared over Zoom. They then guess who is in each picture — giving them a special insight into their teammates.
43. Among Us
Among Us is a free game for desktop or mobile that encourages collaboration in sniffing out a common enemy — a teammate who's been tasked with taking your ship down. This game encourages critical thinking skills, communication and team work. Plus, it's a pop culture icon!
44. Never Have I Ever
In this game, everyone holds up ten fingers and sits in a circle. On each person's turn, they say one thing they haven't done — like gone on a cruise or seen the Statue of Liberty. Everyone who has done that thing puts a finger down until someone is out. This helps colleagues get to know each other better and can spark conversations around common experiences.
45. Nailed It!
To do 'Nailed It!,' leaders find a DIY craft or recipe online then task colleagues with completing the project in a set amount of time — say five minutes. The colleague with the best craft at the end of the challenge wins. It encourages healthy competition and fast-paced thinking.
46. The Story Game
Start this game by passing around a sheet of paper and asking colleagues to add a single sentence to the story you're writing. The twist? Each time a sentence is added, the previous sentence is folded out of sight, giving the next writer only one sentence to work off of. The story at the end is often ridiculous and a whole lot of fun, encouraging a lot of laughs.
47. Heads Up!
'Heads Up!' is a free mobile game gifted to the world by Ellen De-Generous (pun intended). You hold a phone to your forehead and try to guess the word on the screen with the help of hints from your teammates. This game encourages creative communication and problem solving skills.
48. Word of the Day
In this game, colleagues agree upon uncommon word to work into their writing or vocabulary for the day. Everyone who manages to use the word wins while everyone else loses. This game injects a bit of fun into the workday and encourages creativity, although it may also encourage some poor writing.
49. Guess The Movie
In this game, aleaders read off a line from a movie and ask teams to guess which movie it is, trivia style. The winning team is the one that correctly guesses the most movies. It encourages teamwork and bonding over a common love — the love of movies!
50. Tell Us a Time...
To play 'Tell Us a Time...," colleagues are told to "tell us a time" in a certain category: Like a time they met a celebrity or did something embarrassing. The story that gets the most laughs wins. This game encourages team bonding and helps colleagues learn a bit more about each other.
51. Invisible String
In 'Invisible String,' colleagues agree upon a place where an invisible string is drawn — like across a hallway or at the entrance of a meeting room. Everyone who passes that string must act like its there by jumping over it or being careful to step over it or by climbing under it... The first person to forget, loses. This one encourages a lot of fun, even on the most dull of work days.
52. Riff Off
In this game, colleagues sit in a circle. The first person shares a lyric of a song, and the person to their left is tasked with picking up another song using the last word of the previous player's lyric. The game goes on until someone is unable to come up with a lyric. This game encourages quick thinking and bonding over beloved songs.
53. What's On Your Desk?
In this game, players are asked to reveal a bit about themselves by sharing what they keep on their desk. It's especially fun when played over Zoom, allowing a look into how colleagues work from home. This exercise allows colleagues to learn more about their colleagues, and potentially useful office products!
54. Decode The Emojis
In this game, leaders write out common phrases only using emojis. Teams are asked to decode the phrase by interpreting the emojis, encouraging team work and effective communication!
55. Book Balance
This game is exactly what it sounds like: A challenge that calls for colleagues to balance books on their head. The person who holds it for the longest wins, encouraging some healthy competition.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist for a gamut of both online and print publications, as well as an adventure aficionado and travel blogger at HerReport.org. She covers all things women's empowerment — from navigating the workplace to navigating the world. She writes about everything from gender issues in the workforce to gender issues all across the globe.