17 Best Team Building Ideas for Small Businesses

By: | Updated: January 30, 2023

Here is our list of good team building ideas for small businesses.

Team building ideas for small businesses are engaging activities, games, and exercises that workers in your small business can do together to improve team relationships. These team building ideas include escape rooms, book clubs, and a scavenger hunt. The purpose of these activities is to celebrate team spirit, increase employee engagement and bring camaraderie to small, close-knit groups.

These exercises are subsets of team building exercises, relationship-building activities, and culture-building ideas. These activities are similar to team building ideas for small groups and small-group icebreakers.


This list includes:

  • team building ideas for small teams
  • team building ideas for small groups
  • small business team building events
  • independent business team building activities
  • team building games for small businesses

Let’s get started!

List of team building ideas for small businesses

From scavenger hunts to fun Slack channels to employee movie dates, there are many ways to enhance team spirit among employees in smaller companies. Here are some ideas for team building for your small business.

1. Escape room

An escape room is a great way to engage your team. This activity gives all team members a task and a common goal. Additionally, the game is a nice way to see how well the team works together. The best thing about an escape room is that it does not matter if the employees can solve the challenge in time. The main purpose of the exercise is to give coworkers a chance to work together.

Escape Rooms have different themes, such as movies, music, or historical events. Participants typically work in groups of four or five players.

These activities strengthen problem-solving skills. Since most escape rooms have limits of around ten players, these challenges make ideal small-group activities.

Read this list of escape room tips.

2. Movie date

A movie date is a fun small business team building event. Not every idea has to involve mental work. You can give your team members the freedom to watch a movie and cool off. To get every worker involved, let team members suggest and vote on a movie.

You can then pick a date and time most convenient for the group. If going offsite to a movie theatre, then take time to arrange a team carpool and buy group tickets. You can also set up a movie screening in your office by rigging up a projector and laptop and arranging comfy seating. Be sure to supply concessions like popcorn and candy!

After the movie, you can take the team out for ice cream or pizza, discuss the film, take pictures, and hang out.

Here is a list of team building movies.

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3. Scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is one of our top team building ideas for small teams since the game is quite easy to set up. These competitions are equal parts engaging and fun! You can send your team members around your city to find hidden clues and complete challenges. To engage the group and encourage participation, we recommend offering a prize such as a few days off, a gift card, a new appliance, or a monetary reward. You can hire a team building company to set up and guide your game or use an app that downloads clues and tasks to team members’ mobile phones to facilitate the exercise.

A scavenger hunt gives everyone on your team a chance to work together and apply different skills under pressure to get the prize. The prompts can include clues, trivia, puzzles, photos, and riddles. You can group your employees, making sure to combine those who do not ordinarily work together.

Here is a list of scavenger hunt ideas for adults.

4. Field day

An activity-filled field day can give your employees a chance to bond. Many of us remember those days in school when we all left the classroom and competed against each other at tug-of-war, sack races, and backward races. Replicating this idea for your small businesses would take your colleagues back to the good old days when they all let their hair down and just had fun.

To make this more engaging, include different athletic and non-athletic team building games for small businesses in which all members can participate. You can also add side attractions like face painting, board games, and charades.

Check out this list of field day activities for adults.

5. Team hikes

Finishing a hike together is a unifying experience for a team that helps boost morale and strengthens relationships. A team hike is a relatively easy independent business team building activity to plan. First, find a day that works for most of the group,  and provide supplies like water, first aid, and snacks for the climb.

Every employee can help each other reach the end of the hiking trail. Note that for a team hike, the main idea is not to simply reach the end of the path. Instead, the journey is the most important part. After the hike, coworkers can have a picnic, eat food, play games like charades and relax.

Here are more outdoor team building ideas.

6. Book club

A book club may seem like an unusual work activity, but discussing a book is a gateway into the mind of every coworker. Each month, an employee can suggest a book for the team to read. Then, everyone gathers and discusses the book on a specific day and time.

This idea serves to have intellectual discussions and understand different coworkers’ perspectives. The hardest part about running a book club at work is that employees may lack time. Also, there are fewer possible participants in small teams, and the activity will be less compelling if only one or two team members finish the book. Remember that you can choose shorter books, short stories, or articles rather than full-length novels to encourage participation. You can also offer extra incentives like free drinks, food, or games with prizes to keep employees involved.

7. Guess the coworker

Employees in your small business can play “guess the coworker” to connect. This game is easy to play. The activity needs a game master who collects and reads facts about team members. These questions should concern each team member’s behaviors, actions, and particular peculiarities.

Examples of the questions include:

  • Guess the coworker with a gold tooth.
  • Guess the coworker with the strongest understanding of PowerPoint.
  • Guess the coworker who has a red classic car.
  • Guess the coworker that speaks four languages fluently.
  • Guess the coworker that likes bringing cookies to work.
  • Guess the coworker with the best fashion sense.

Obviously, these statements should be tailored to the workers in your company. This game works well with other independent business team building activities like field games or at the end of a hike to cool off. You can write these questions on pieces of paper and put them in a basket. The basket should then be passed around to all employees. Each employee picks a slip and then answers.

Pro tip: Make sure that the questions you ask are not insulting. Consider asking team members to volunteer the prompts.

Here are more guessing games for work.

8. Fun Slack channels

Planning team building activities for your small business in real life can be hard. A way to get around this is to create a Slack channel where employees can drop funny memes, videos, and cute pictures of animals. This idea is cool because it works whether your colleagues are remote, on-site, or have different schedules.

This idea gives employees a glimpse into coworkers’ non-work lives and helps team members appreciate each other on a human level. Over time, folks can drop funny and cute videos on the Slack channel, which can translate into conversations in the workplace and inside jokes.

Check out this list of Slack channel ideas.

9. Professional activities

Team building ideas for small groups do not always have to be about puzzles and games. The experience can also be about attending professional activities together. When all the workers in your small business attend webinars, conferences, workshops, and seminars together, it helps the employees connect over the shared learning experience. Also, these small business team building events benefit the business by adding to employees’ personal development.

The type of business you run should come into play here as well. For instance, if you run a restaurant, then you can invite an expert to come and teach the chefs a new cooking technique. If you are running a store, then you can take employees to see how certain products are manufactured.

Read about more professional development activities.

10. Brainstorming sessions

Team building exercises can be work-related. Brainstorming sessions help small teams think collectively about a big team goal. You might want to look for a new idea for a marketing campaign or a new design for a product.

There are brainstorming techniques you can explore, including:

  • Mind mapping
  • Brainwriting
  • Affinity Diagrams
  • How Might We?

However, in its simplest form, each team member states their idea and coworkers can raise their hands if they agree or not. Then each coworker can explain their thoughts and volunteer additional ideas. This activity should go around till all the ideas are on the table. Then every employee chooses the one they accept. Next, you start drawing up plans to effect the idea. Ensure you include all team members in the discussion.

Here is a list of virtual brainstorming ideas.

11. Comedy club

Getting your colleagues together for a laugh after a long work week is a nice way to cool off outside work. Some comedy clubs even give discounts to small groups. Thus, you do not have to worry about breaking the bank.

You should ensure that the material from the comedy club is family-friendly. However, if you cannot, warn your colleagues that some of the jokes may be NSFW and should not be repeated in the workplace.

Working on a small team can be stressful during busy seasons, and sharing laughs and humor is a much-needed destresser.

Check out virtual comedians.

12. Office trivia

Office trivia encourages healthy competition amongst colleagues and is a good mental workout. You can gather all employees and split them into two groups. Next, you can check for pre-made questions online, buy trivia cards, or make up your own game questions.

After you have split your employees into groups of two or three, ask a question and give players time to answer. If one group hesitates or answers incorrectly, then the other group has a chance to answer and steal points. You ask questions about the company or other coworkers to make the activity more engaging.

Browse these trivia night ideas.

13. Collaborative playlist

Making a collaborative playlist allows every employee to connect without affecting work schedules. Each employee can access a playlist and add favorite tunes. Then coworkers can listen to music at work, at the gym, at home, or during commutes.

Music has a way of connecting people as colleagues discover new artists, albums, and genres through each other. You can use several platforms, such as Tidal, Spotify, Apple, and YouTube Music. Not to mention, this activity results in an epic work soundtrack!

For inspiration, here is a list of great team building songs.

14. Contests

Holding contests is one of the easiest team building ideas. Examples of contests include a Halloween costume contest, an Easter egg design contest, or an ugly sweater contest. The competition does not have to be holiday themed, though. More general examples include cooking contests or meme contests.

These contests can be an incredibly fun way for team members to learn about each other and build bonds outside of a business objective. Remember to give the winners a worthwhile prize to bring out that competitive spirit further.

Read more about workplace competitions.

15. Compliment circle

The fast-paced nature of work can make team members forget to appreciate each other. A good way to ensure every employee feels valued is to do a compliment circle. Every team member in a small business is essential, so it is crucial to create positive work relationships among coworkers that work so closely together.

This activity can happen during morning meetings or at the end of a stressful work day. For this simple activity, gather in a circle and say at least one nice and genuine piece of praise about each team member. For instance, “I want to thank Daniel for meeting his deadline despite my notes,” or “Shout out to Sarah for her awesome donuts!” You can get the ball rolling, and every employee takes a turn in complimenting each other. This idea is cool for small teams and should last about half an hour.

Check out more gratitude activities.

16. Lunch and learn

You can leverage the hidden talents of your workforce to plan highly personal Lunch and Learn. For example, an employee may be a good writer or fluent in several languages. Team members may even have a niche talent, like a deep understanding of how to utilize Google. You can host occasional lunch and learns so that team members can share these abilities with coworkers over complimentary food.

This activity helps you teach your workers a new skill and allows them to practice skills such as mentoring, public speaking, and presentations.

Here are virtual lunch and learn ideas.

17. Retreat

Retreats are ambitious yet effective ways to establish a good working culture. Spending time with coworkers outside the business can give all team members a new perspective on work. During this retreat, you can incorporate other team building ideas like scavenger hunts, trivia nights, or drinks.

You can use the retreat to identify any problems in the business and brainstorm solutions. Additionally, if there is tension between coworkers, then a retreat is a good way to resolve conflict.

Here are some activities you can do:

  • Explore a new location or city together
  • Play icebreaker games, like, two truths and one lie
  • Have a picnic
  • Host a trivia night

In a retreat, remember to keep work talk as minimal as possible.

Get more group retreat ideas.


Having team building activities is a good way to improve the culture in your small business. These exercises get staff on the same page and boost morale.

Team building should not be an afterthought that you do once in a while. Ensure you do it as often as possible to enhance your work culture and keep the dynamics within your tiny team strong and mighty.

Next, check out small business promo ideas and books on small business.

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FAQ: Team-building ideas for small businesses

Here are some answers to common questions about team building ideas for small businesses. 

What are team building ideas for small businesses?

Team building ideas for small businesses are activities, games, and events a small business can do to build bonds among employees, foster a positive work environment and boost morale. Ideally, these team building ideas should be easy to carry out and effective.

What are some good team building activities for small businesses?

There are several team building ideas that your small business can do. For example:

  • Lunch and learn
  • Compliment circle
  • Team hike
  • Team retreat
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Field day
  • Collaborative playlist
  • Brainstorming sessions

These activities can be combined and tweaked to suit your small business and budget.

How do you do team building in small businesses?

When doing team building in small businesses, we recommend informing all employees beforehand that you want to do a team building activity. This way, all your coworkers can prepare themselves mentally. You make sure that these activities happen conveniently for all employees and the company. Also, keep each team building activity engaging.

Finally, the activity does not have to be elaborate. You can start with an exercise as easy as a compliment circle during team meetings.

How do you keep employees engaged during team building games?

To keep employees engaged during team building games, you can have an incentive for the winner. Ensure this incentive is worth the stress of the game. Examples of incentives are a free work day, monetary prize, gift card, or coupon.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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