Here is a list of the most fun team building events & activities for work.
Team building events are activities that deepen coworker relationships and foster cooperation among team members. Examples include team meals, Minute Madness, and movie nights. The purpose of these gatherings is to boost collaboration and worker morale.
These ideas are in-person versions of virtual team events and online group socials. These activities are similar to group activities for adults, team bonding ideas, and relationship-building exercises.
This list includes:
- corporate team building events
- outdoor team building events
- indoor team building events
- team building events for big groups
- team building events for small groups
Here we go!
List of team building events
From birthday parties to spirit weeks to guacamole mash-offs, here is a list of events to foster camaraderie, cooperation, and connection between team members.
1. The Great Guac Off
The Great Guac Off is one of the best team building events for big groups. Participants compete in teams to perfect the ultimate guacamole recipe. A host brings all the ingredients, leads groups through mini-games, and encourages participants to taunt or cheer. This cookless cook-off is available in various venues.
Learn more about The Great Guac Off.
2. Ultimate Trivia Showdown
Ultimate Trivia Showdown elevates pub trivia into a game-show-like atmosphere. For 90-minutes, a professional performer plays the role of host and leads teams in new takes on quiz games, like Majority Rules and Champion Challenge. Players collaborate against each other and compete against other teams to prove dominance in the ultimate test of random knowledge. This activity can happen in a variety of indoor settings and can add a layer of extra fun and bonding to any team event.
Learn more about Ultimate Trivia Showdown.
3. Museum Hack
Museum Hack runs out-of-the-ordinary museum tours in six major US cities. These renegade tours aim to make participants interact with, and view exhibits in new and novel ways. A guide oversees the action by giving groups fun insight about artworks and artifacts and issuing fun challenges like “find a piece that reminds you of your first breakup.” In addition, the event includes several opportunities for team bonding, including group photos and time to mingle.
Learn more about Museum Hack.
4. Happy Hour
Happy hours are a go-to team social event. These gatherings involve heading to a local watering hole, setting up a bar in the office, and socializing over drinks and snacks. The most common times for happy hours are directly after work or during the final hours of the workday. Entertainment ideas include answering icebreaker questions, playing pool or board games, competing in trivia, and participating in mixology lessons. You could assign a theme for happy hour or leave the event more free-form and simply encourage teammates to chat with peers.
Check out more work happy hour ideas.
5. Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts are among the most high-energy team building events. These games are customizable to fit various venues and occasions. Most scavenger hunts involve players getting into groups and racing against each other to find clues and fulfill commands. Examples might include “find a statue that reminds you of your boss,” “show the oldest coin within your group’s wallets,” or “recreate the Crossing of the Delaware in photo form.” Typically, scavenger hunts have a theme and a time limit. At the end of the game, the group that completes the most tasks or finds the most items wins the game and earns a prize.
6. Escape Rooms
Escape rooms are one of the most popular team building events for small groups. In these games, participants usually enter a locked themed room and have a limited time to find clues and solve a mystery to escape and win the game. These challenges require team members to collaborate, communicate clearly, think critically, and work quickly under pressure. Entertainment venues like malls often host these attractions, and there are usually at least one or two options in every city. However, you could also DIY an escape room experience in your office or event space by printing out and setting up clues and puzzles or by opening an escape room kit.
Here is a list of DIY escape room ideas.
7. Beach Parties
Beach parties are a beloved summertime activity for work. These events allow employees to get out of the office and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. You can take your staff on a trip to the beach or create a beach-like atmosphere in your party space by handing out leis and serving tropical drinks. Some ideas include putting up a volleyball net, handing out branded beach balls and sunglasses, and setting up a tiki bar. As a bonding exercise, you can ask teammates to submit photos of their favorite beach or dream beach destination and turn the resulting slideshow into a guessing game.
Check out more beach party ideas for work.
8. Birthday Parties
Birthday parties are one of the most beloved team building events. These bashes celebrate employees’ special days. Standard office celebrations typically involve cards and cake at minimum. However, you can make celebrations extra special by throwing a theme party or planning a special outing like a meal at a restaurant or an afternoon in an escape room. When designing office birthdays, it is best to consider the honoree’s interests and set a budget for the occasions. Or, instead of planning a gathering, you can give employees an extra paid day off so they can spend their special day however they prefer.
Here are more work birthday party ideas.
9. Murder Mystery Games
Murder mystery games are roleplaying events that ask employees to play the parts of suspects and detectives. The games follow a murder plot, and participants must figure out the murderer and the motive by searching for clues and listening closely to the script. You can split the group into teams so players can share theories and pool clues, or participants can individually race to unravel the mystery. These activities motivate coworkers to interact, even if they are acting during those interactions. The games are great fun, especially if you have teammates with panache and dramatic flair. Props and costumes can make the event more immersive.
Here is a list of virtual murder mystery games, many of which you can turn into in-person parties.
Picnics are often workers’ favorite outdoor team building events. These occasions revolve around enjoying delicious food outside together as a team. Often, company picnics are open to employees’ families and are a way for coworkers to get a glimpse of teammates’ home lives. Besides food, these events often include competitions like scavenger hunts or capture the flag and announcements about company news. These events make great largescale team gatherings, as the minimum requirements are arranging tables and food.
For a more high-end and memorable experience, you can book a luxury picnic company to set up fancy decorations.
Check out this list of team picnic ideas.
11. Team Meals
Team meals are one of the easiest corporate team building events. These events are also the most well-attended by employees since most folks love free food and eat during the workday. To plan a team lunch, first, choose a day and time that fits most of the team’s schedule. Then, decide on a restaurant. Next, you can ask employees to vote on a few options, choose a restaurant within walking or driving distance, base the choice around a particular theme, or pick a place randomly. During the meal, you can ask icebreaker questions or allow the conversation to happen naturally.
These events are ideal for celebrating special occasions like birthdays or retirements or showing staff appreciation. Meals can also be an excellent way to welcome a new hire to the team.
Check out this guide to team lunches online.
12. Lunch and Learns
Lunch and learns are professional development events where teammates gather to share a light meal or snack while listening to an expert explain a particular topic. These events often happen midday during lunchtime, and employers typically book the speaker and provide refreshments. The topics can be strictly professional and revolve around a particular industry or career concept, for instance, diversity in the workplace or sales strategy. Or, the subjects can be non-work-centric and focus on general life skills, for example, financial literacy or local history. Generally, these events include a Q&A component where teammates can interact with the host.
Here is a guide to virtual lunch and learn topics.
Espionage! is a game of deduction and deception. For 90 minutes, team members step into the roles of spies and double agents. A host leads the group through various puzzles and challenges. Aside from cracking codes and tackling complex tasks, participants must decide who among the group to trust and who to accuse of being a mole before the traitors sabotage the mission. The event is available in virtual and in-person versions and on a variety of virtual meeting software.
Learn more about Espionage!
14. Minute Madness
Minute Madness is one of the best outdoor team building events. This fully-facilitated activity has a field-day-like atmosphere and is ideal for outgoing groups. A host brings all necessary equipment, handles setup, explains the rule, and keeps track of the score. This event is a great icebreaker and re-energizer for groups needing a boost.
Learn more about Minute Madness.
15. Game Nights
Game nights are hands-on and low-key team events. These experiences revolve around playing familiar card, board, video, or party games. Employees can compete for prizes or team pride, or you can take a more collaborative approach and let attendees enjoy each other’s company. Participants can play in teams or individually, and you can mix up groups from game to game for maximum interaction. Snacks and drinks elevate the event to a fun hangout. Also, you do not have to wait until nighttime to break out the games. An afternoon group trip to the office game room can boost your team’s morale and encourage playfulness and interaction.
16. Spirit Weeks
Spirit weeks are in-office events where each day of the week revolves around a different theme. Examples include sports day, decades day, or hometown day. Employees often dress up in costume, and the day’s schedule includes on-theme activities. For example, decades day might consist of a collaborative team playlist of favorite songs from the era, and a pajama day may have a breakfast buffet. Sometimes, these weeks are interoffice competitions where teams or departments can earn points for different challenges, and the group that scores highest by week’s end wins a fantastic prize. However, even without contests, spirit weeks can shake up the work routine, add an element of fun to the office, and boost staff’s moods.
Here is a guide to spirit week ideas for work.
17. Costume Parties
Costume parties allow employees to ditch the dress code and show off their personalities and creativity. These occasions are most common at Halloween. However, you can organize a dress-up event to add fun to any time of the year. Each party should have a theme, for instance, heroes, masquerade, throwback, or kindergarten career day. Many parties give out prizes for best dressed, and these competitions can be an opportunity for departments or teams to come up with clever group costumes. These experiences add humor and playfulness to the workplace and result in fantastic photos!
Read a guide to virtual costume contests.
18. Craft Nights
Craft nights are beloved by both introverts and big personalities. These events give participants something to do with their hands and can make socialization lower pressure. During these classes, team members receive all necessary supplies for a chosen project and step-by-step instructions from an artist. At the end of the event, each teammate has a masterpiece to decorate their home, desk, or department. Cool project ideas include origami garland, etched drinkware, painted signs, planters, coasters, and preserved flowers. The best projects for craft nights are easy to set up, make, and clean up, and leave attendees with a souvenir that reminds them of the experience.
Check out this list of online art classes for inspiration.
19. Winery or Brewery Tours
Winery, brewery, or distillery tours are more active versions of happy hour. At these events, teammates travel to different vineyards or brewers or take a tour of fields or facilities before sampling different beverage options. These happenings allow teammates to share a drink and an experience. In addition, participants can sip, chat, and get to know each other better while learning more about beer, wine, or liquor.
20. Movie Nights
Movie nights are one of the best team building events for big groups. To create your cinema, set up a screen and projector. Movie nights can be regular team events; thus, movie screens are a good investment. However, a blank wall or sheet can do if a proper screen is unavailable. You can project the film via a projector or AV hookup. Be sure to set up ample seating or tell attendees to bring chairs or blankets. Outdoor movies are fun in the warm weather, and you could create a drive-in experience in your parking lot. If you have the budget, then you could rent out a local theatre. Or, for the easiest option, you can set up the screening in a conference room or stream the flick together online. Whatever the setup, snacks are a must. Popcorn and boxed candy are must-haves.
Instead of longer movies, you could set up a film festival of shorter clips or watch television shows together on the big screen.
Check out this list of team building movies.
21. Holiday Parties
Holiday parties are the most common corporate team building events. These occasions are a way to celebrate the season, unwind at the end of a long year, and thank employees for the past twelve months of hard work. Some companies throw the bashes in-office while others opt to move the party offsite. These gatherings can be an opportunity for employees from different departments or locations to meet, mingle, and be merry. Often, attendees exchange presents and participate in fun games. In addition, employers usually provide a generous spread of food and hand out employee gifts. In recent years, some companies have taken Christmas parties virtual so that dispersed employees can come together and share holiday cheer from afar.
Here is a list of office Christmas party ideas.
22. Team Retreats
Team retreats are events where groups head offsite for focused days of camaraderie and development. Common locations for these gatherings include resorts, conference centers, and camps. The agenda at these events consists of various activities such as meals, icebreaker games, discussion groups, team sports, and hikes. In addition, these venues allow teams to get to know each other and strengthen their skills and relationships without outside distractions.
Check out this list of team retreat activities and ideas.
23. Day Trips
Day trips are like mini-vacations for employees. Rather than travel to a new country or state, teams take a bus or carpool to a nearby town or city. Once there, team members explore the environment, see local attractions, and visit spots like parks and restaurants together. In smaller groups, each team member can choose one activity for the group to do during the day, while larger groups can vote on the agenda. These excursions take teams out of their elements and comfort zones and can spark creativity and forge memories. At the same time, because the destinations are close to home, travel is convenient and often inexpensive, and a sense of familiarity remains.
Cook-Offs blend teammates’ love of food with their competitive spirit. Employees compete on teams or individually to prepare the best version of a themed dish in this event. Common categories include chili, BBQ, mac and cheese, wings, and cake. Entrants can cook in teams or individually. If the building has a big kitchen or you are willing to rent a cooking space or simple cooking equipment, then contestants can make meals onsite. Otherwise, entrants can cook food at home and serve it from crock pots. Non-cooking employees can act as judges by tasting samples of each dish and casting votes. Or, you can tap organizational leaders to act as a panel of “celebrity judges.”
Here is a guide to office cook-offs.
25. Concerts and Plays
Concerts and plays bring culture to your team building events. Often, theatres offer special group and corporate rates. Attending a performance together as a team can be an exciting change of pace and give teammates a topic to discuss over the next week of work. These experiences are even more meaningful if a team member is part of the performance, for instance, part of an improv group presenting a showcase or a band playing an open mic night. If you do not have seasoned performers in your troupe, then you can still hold your showcase. Or, if your team would rather be in the audience, then you can support your local arts scene by seeing a show or booking an act to perform in your office. Also, you could use tickets to big-name performances as a reward for your hardworking team.
26. Sporting Events
Most sports emphasize teamwork. Your group can take lessons from athletes working together to achieve victory. Many teams have loyal followings, and hometown sports can bring about unity and pride. Many employees clamor when employers announce complimentary tickets to baseball and basketball games or car races. Most stadiums have corporate packages allowing group rates, corporate season passes, or company boxes. Employees can cheer on a favorite team together and enjoy refreshments from the stands or seats.
Or, if your group is athletic, then you can host intercompany sporting events like softball leagues or dodgeball games.
27. Workout Classes
Fitness classes are one of the best indoor team building events. These activities promote positive health and physical activity. Plus, the social factor lends accountability and encourages folks to exercise. First, find out what kind of fitness most interests your group. Yoga tends to be a popular option among workers because it is low-intensity and doubles as a mindfulness activity. However, perhaps your group might enjoy a more exciting option like a dance class, spin session, boxing lessons, or aerial aerobics. Or, maybe the team prefers a teacherless option like a group run or a meetup in the company gym. Whatever the workout, find a teacher, book a large room, and gather your group to sweat together. Be sure to remind staff to wear comfortable clothes and bring water bottles. You can hold these events as a routine, ongoing option as an incentive for employees to keep moving.
28. Ice Cream Socials
Ice cream socials are snack sessions ideal for summertime. You can take your team to a nearby ice cream parlor, arrange a visit from an ice cream truck, or set up a sundae bar in the office. You can go classic with traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla or entertain those with more adventurous tastes by trying out options like merlot, sriracha vanilla, and ginger orange. Dairy-free options are available to appease attendees with dietary restrictions. You can also make the event more hands-on by starting a sundae competition, making ice cream sandwiches or bars, or sharing a flight of flavors.
Here are more summer team building activities.
29. Office Olympics
Office Olympics is a competition where employees face off in different athletic events. Sometimes the matches are traditional sporting events like relay races or ping pong, and often these games are office equivalents such as desk chair soccer or pencil toss javelin. Regardless of the contests, participants usually try to bring glory to their team, and the games at large promote teamwork and unity. Medals are a must for these events, and the team that wins the most points overall should receive a more substantial prize. To up the team bonding factor, you can ask each group to design team uniforms and flags and encourage attendees to watch and cheer on their teammates.
Check out this guide to Office Olympics.
30. Gift Exchanges
Gift exchanges are popular holiday team building activities, however, you can host this exercise any time during the year. For example, secret Santas involve team members receiving the name of a random coworker to gift, while white elephant exchanges follow a similar concept but encourage participants to get gag gifts or impractical presents. These gift-giving exercises can encourage gratitude and prompt workers to learn more about peers. You can assign matchings using an online generator or by pulling names from a hat. Be sure to set a budget, preferably all gifts under $25. For best results, have participants give suggestions or answer icebreaker questions to give givers hints for good presents.
Here is a guide to doing holiday gift exchanges online.
31. Haunted House Tours
Haunted house tours are one of the best indoor team building events for Halloween. These memorable events scare groups and accelerate bonding by allowing team members to be vulnerable around each other. You can take a trip to a local attraction or turn a part of your building into a haunted house. Departments can compete to create the scariest scene and spook each other. Wherever you wander, take plenty of pictures, mid-scream especially! Be aware, however, that these experiences are not for the faint of heart. If your group is easily spooked, then you may want to opt for a calmer option like a kid-friendly haunted house or a walking ghost tour.
Browse this list of online haunted houses for teams.
Volunteering is a great way to unite a group around a shared cause or purpose. Community service can bring about positive feelings. Team members can feel good about giving back to the surrounding community and the wider world, which is bound to make them feel more fondly about each other. You can arrange a group volunteering day where team members participate in a service project while on the clock. These projects can be one-time or ongoing, and you can poll your group to find out what causes or projects most interest your team. Example projects include cleaning up highways or parks, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, visiting nursing homes, or hosting a career day for local youth. If your staff is too busy to donate their time, then you could launch a fundraiser or collect donations instead.
Check out this list of group volunteering opportunities.
33. Award Ceremonies
Award ceremonies give employees recognition and a chance to celebrate with coworkers. These events acknowledge team members and teams for extraordinary achievements and efforts. Often, team members nominate each other for awards, or leadership picks outstanding employees. Then, the group comes together to applaud each other. Winners typically receive trophies, plaques, certificates, and prizes like gift cards. Best practice is to provide food and drinks at the event so that all employees in attendance receive a treat. You can host traditional awards to call attention to true achievements or hold just-for-fun awards where team members make up silly titles and prizes for each other. These events make employees feel appreciated. Team members who do not receive awards still walk away with the sense that the organization values workers.
Here is a list of employee recognition program ideas.
Team events put groups into new settings with interesting activities that encourage coworkers to interact and engage with each other in out-of-the-ordinary ways. These shared experiences can create the foundations for deeper relationships and give employees a means to communicate and get to know each other beyond the scope of work. These events also serve the dual purpose of giving the team a treat and a break from work and showing the organization’s investments in its employees.
Throughout the year, there are numerous occasions and ways to get the group together for a new experience. However, you do not need a holiday or a firm reason to host an event. You can arrange a special experience whenever you think employees could use a morale boost and social time!