Whether you have an hour or a whole day, these team building ideas will bring your office together

Team building. The phrase often sparks memories of cringe-worthy human resources videos from the 90s or corporate events with awkward role-playing games. There’s a reason why mentioning team building in the modern-day office can inspire more than a few groans and eye rolls. 

The solution? Events that are actually fun! 

Despite the memories of outdated human resources videos, it doesn’t have to be some stiff, corporatized task. It can be authentic. It can be filled with activities that every member of your office enjoys. Best of all, it can bring your team together. After all, what’s the point of even having a day of team building if it doesn’t foster, you know, actual teamwork?

Want to bring some life into your office’s team building events? Whether you have a little or a lot of time to spare, here are some ideas that we think your team will love – plus a secret ingredient (spoiler alert: it’s food) that will really sweeten the deal. 

At the office

If team building has you thinking field trip to Disney but you know your accounting department is going to veto that idea before you’ve even put on your Mickey ears, don’t despair. It can happen at the office and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of space or time. 

Set aside an hour or a whole day for team building activities both inside the office and just outside (a parking lot or grassy area will work for the latter). You can set up games, play trivia, and even bring in a guest speaker or two. One great idea: an ongoing guest speaker series followed by time for discussion afterward. For a less formal idea, try an office film or book club followed by discussion.

Outside of the office

Go somewhere together and let the team building begin! The trick is to choose an activity that will be both unifying and fun. For example, opt for a trivia night at a bar rather than an unstructured office happy hour. It will be fun and require everyone to interact while working together towards a common goal. 

Other out-of-the-office ideas include an escape room, a round of mini-golf, a cooking class, a scavenger hunt, or, in classic team building fashion, an actual sports game that you play together, such as softball or “capture the flag.” If athletics aren’t your team’s thing, try party games. You can even include remote workers over Zoom.

If you’ve got a whole day (or multiple days!)

Are you able to take off a whole day for team building? If so, the sky is the limit (or rather, everything within a 50-mile radius is the limit). Plan a team outing to a nearby lake or beach. Don’t worry, you don’t have to repeat the disastrous events of that one episode of The Office where they all go to the beach.

An outdoor team outing, such as a group hike or kayaking together at a lake, can really foster team building. Everyone can use their skills while communicating – without the distraction of digital devices. 

Another idea for a whole day of team building is to spend the day volunteering. Choose a charity or cause that your team feels passionate about (you can choose this yourself or hold a meeting where everyone decides together) and then spend a day giving back. You might sort donations at a food pantry, walk dogs at the local shelter, or clean up a beloved community park. Feeling active? Run or walk a charity 5k together. You can even create custom t-shirts beforehand to showcase your team spirit. 

If you only have an hour to spare

At a busy workplace, it’s not always possible to devote an entire day or even half of a day to team building. That’s okay!

If you only have an hour to spare for team building, you can still bond while having fun. One simple idea to try that will boost morale is an anti-roast. Think of it as a compliment hour where everyone goes around saying nice things about one coworker. 

You can also set aside time to share stories that bring everyone together – think of it as storytelling around a campfire, but at work (P.S. microwaved s’mores are encouraged). Create prompts on index cards to fuel conversation on topics such as a first day of work story, a work travel story, or the weirdest thing that happened during a commute to work.

Other activities that don’t take up much time include craft hours, such as pumpkin decorating for Halloween or gingerbread house making for Christmas. Make it extra fun by introducing some friendly competition with prizes to the activity.   

Why team building works

Team building shouldn’t be forced but it should be structured. It’s up to you to plan an event or a series of events that is organized but still leaves room for fun.

Why team building? It’s more than just a good time; it’s an investment in your employees. It can boost productivity, reduce turnover, improve communication, and create a workplace that people like coming to. 

P.S. Don’t forget the food!

TooJay’s Catering can make an awesome team building event even better. Good catering is an essential part of any team building experience. 

Whether you’ve opted for a physical activity like a 5k that deserves a hearty meal afterward or you want to make an afternoon of storytelling livelier with some sweet desserts, TooJay’s Catering can make the bonding experience a memorable one.