You found our list of the best team building tools.
Team building tools are resources you can use to simplify and streamline your team building process. For example, board games, movies and kits. These concepts, resources and programs provide guidance and structure to your team’s collaboration process. These tools are also known as “team development tools.”
These tools are similar to team building apps.
This list includes:
- free team building tools for work
- tools for team building
- team development tools
- team work tools
- team bonding tools to try at the office
Let’s get to it!
List of team building tools
From books to bulletin boards to social time, here is a list of tools that will help you structure your team building efforts.
1. Team building books
Team building is a vast subject that takes time to fully explore. You could speak for hours about teamwork, but the Harvard Business Review says your teammates will start to lose focus after thirty or forty minutes.
Instead of lecturing your team, you can assign books on the subject you want to address. Team building books cover topics like communication, collaboration, positive energy, and creativity.
Reading assignments make useful employee development opportunities. For example, one of my former employers made a book called “Crucial Conversations,” mandatory reading so that every team member learned how to effectively talk through conflict resolution.
When recommending team literature, you should set a deadline to finish reading, and end the activity with a discussion or other reflective activity. Because work life balance is already tricky, you should take care not to over-assign readings; select only the most relevant books, or consider summaries of longer works.
For reading list suggestions, check out our post on the best team building books.
2. Team building board games
A number of board games are also great team building tools, for example Apples to Apples, Scattegories and Codenames. These games either help bring out individual characteristics in a fun way, or encourage teamwork and bonding. We recommend having a number of board game options available at your event or in your breakroom for participant to play as they wish.
Check out this list of the best team building board games.
3. Team building movies
Movies are a great way to bring people together, and can also provide important lessons in teamwork and collaboration. For example, Mighty Ducks, Remember the Titans, and The Avengers all have strong team building themes. You can watch these movies as part of an office movie night, and include popcorn, snacks and trivia games to make it more fun.
Here is a list of team building movies to watch.
4. Teamwork shows
Shows about teamwork provide important team building lessons in a condensed format. In a 20 or 30 minute episode, your team can see character development, conflict and resolution play out. These shows can be a great team building tool to start conversations about important themes.
Start with this list of teamwork shows for work.
5. Team building songs
Listening to music is a great way to set a vibe or atmosphere at an event. You can play high energy songs to add excitement, slower songs for a more mellow time and so on.
Check out this list of team building songs, and this list of high energy songs for conferences.
6. Team assessment tools
One of the most important parts of the team building process is assessing teams and formulating a plan of action. There are many team assessment tools you can use to determine your group’s strengths and weaknesses, measure your team’s morale, and gain insight into your crew’s interaction style.
Here are a few examples:
- Personality tests: Tests such as the Myers Briggs classification or DiSC assessment can help you identify the different personas on your team and determine how those identities might best work together.
- Team building lesson plans: If you want to analyze your team’s response to a team exercise, a team building lesson plan can serve as a great guide. The lesson plan outlines the purpose, breaks down the steps, and observes the effectiveness of an activity.
- Employee surveys: One of the most valuable evaluation tools at a manager’s disposal is employee feedback. You can gather impressions from your team by conducting surveys, and using the comments to guide your plan of action.
- RACI charts: RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. RACI charts are responsibility assignment matrices that help leaders assign roles and evaluate performances among group members.
There are many more team assessment tools and theories that can benefit your group. You could even devise your own evaluation method. The key takeaway is to analyze your team and design an informed plan to improve operations.
Check out this list of online personality tests for team building and this list of employee survey questions to get started.
7. Bulletin boards
Experts estimate that approximately 65% of the population are visual learners. While you can assign tasks verbally during meetings or send assignments individually, teams benefit from having a visual aid that lays out the responsibilities of all teammates and the status of all tasks.
Bulletin boards are one of the most helpful team tools for project management because you can spatially organize steps and assignments. Updates are instant; teammates can instantly gauge the overall team’s progress by glancing at the board.
Several software programs mimic the bulletin board format, including:
If you work in a traditional office setting, then you can create a physical scrum board, or you can devise your own system to display the project.
Bulletin boards are useful to define team roles, clarify responsibilities, and track progress, but these displays also can serve as a means to connect coworkers and form relationships. You can create casual team bulletin boards to share compliments and praise, team member photographs, or news and artwork. No matter what your team building objective, bulletin boards are a simple and effective visual tool.
Check out our list of project management tools and this list of team bulletin board ideas for more information.
8. Communication platforms
Communication is critical for teams. Teammates depend on each other to handle different components of a project. Radio silence or infrequent updates can cause panic or delays, but regular communication assures teammates that other group members are on task and on schedule.
Communication platforms are the most important team building collaboration tools because in order to work together, teams need to exchange ideas. For virtual teams, a strong communication software like Slack, Blink, or monday.com is essential, since almost all conversations happen online.
Messaging platforms are useful in traditional office settings as well. Meetings, bathroom breaks, trips to other colleagues’ offices, and treks to the break room can quickly devolve into games of tag between coworkers trying to catch each other. Emails can go unanswered for hours or days. Direct messages on platforms like chats or text demand a quick response. Employees can jot off a response while on a phone call, meaning coworkers do not have to wait for an answer. Which is preferable, because only the Terminator should have to mumble, “I’ll be back.”
Here is a list of remote work platforms that can help improve communication.
9. Team building kits
Team building kits are boxes full of supplies for activities. Because team building exercises often involve props and aids, gathering materials can involve planning and organization.
You can simplify activity setup by assembling kits that contain the necessary objects for your event. Examples include popcorn packets, a projector, a screen and films for a team movie night, or games, cups, and drinks for a team happy hour.
You could even start a sort of “team building library” for your organization full of pre-made kits that managers can check out anytime. By collecting and storing items, you can position yourself to seize on impromptu team building opportunities and avoid last minute runs to the store.
For more information, check out our guide to team building kits.
10. Social time
One of the most effective team building tools is simply the ability to spend time together. Whether structured or unstructured, social time allows teammates to learn about each other, forge relationships, and deepen empathy.
Celebrating special events like birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, or other achievements creates a sense of recognition and reinforces the concept of the team win. Conversations allow coworkers to form bonds. Workplace relationships encourage responsibility towards peers and strengthen a sense of belonging. A survey by Reuters found that 60% of employees would remain at a company longer because of work friends.
There are many methods of initiating workplace socialization. You can plan on-the-clock events such as team lunches, employee cook-offs, departmental celebrations, or charity drives, or you can host after-work outings like happy hours, game nights, and escape room visits. You can also encourage spontaneous social time by designating common space, championing casual office conversations, and providing snacks as an incentive to gather.
Learn about how the 8% rule is important for social time at work.
11. Team building games
Games are powerful team building tools for students and workers alike. Gamifying your bonding time gives participants a shared sense of purpose. A mission forms common ground, and provides strangers or loose acquaintances with talking topics. Games can be a real boon for shyer teammates who struggle to find initial common ground with colleagues. Strategy-talk and victory congratulations can open the door to future conversations.
In the same way you can sneak a serving of fruit or vegetables into a dessert, you can disguise a lesson on essential teamwork skills like communication, critical thinking, or decision making in a fun challenge. The team’s shared victory often acts as a bonding agent that forms the basis of a growing relationship.
Check out our list of team building games to play at the office.
12. Online gatherings
Distributed teams receive less interaction time than in-person teams. Creating a sense of community and cohesiveness remotely can be a real challenge in virtual offices. Online gatherings are one of the most valuable virtual team building tools in a remote manager’s arsenal. By hosting online get-togethers with your team, you can facilitate bonding, share company culture, and fight off the loneliness often associated with working from home. These gatherings allow remote teammates the chance to unwind, meet coworkers, and have fun on the clock, which can boost employee morale.
Traditional offices benefit from virtual gatherings too, because online hangouts appeal to coworkers who might otherwise skip an event due to responsibilities at home or the inconvenience of traveling to a physical location.
For inspiration on online gatherings, check out our list of fun virtual team building activities and a list of virtual happy hour ideas for teams.
Team building tools can provide important structure and guidance for your team building efforts. By planning ahead, you can choose the right tool to bring your people together in fun and authentic ways. From board games, to bulletin boards to event kits, and everything in-between, there is a tool that will support your team building initiatives.
Next, check out this list of team building skills, and these team building techniques.