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Team Building Ideas for the Hybrid Workplace

Team building is a concept that provokes various reactions and one which can bring back memories of really successful times or incredibly awkward times.  Whatever your experience has been, team building can be incredibly beneficial. Done well, it can improve collaboration, foster positive work relationships, open up opportunities for amazing ideas, and contribute to your teams feeling happy and settled at work.  

In hybrid working world, team building looks a little different, but the use of virtual tools and remote working equipment means companies have much more choice in how to plan for team building activities to suit multi-location working. There is much to consider when you’re thinking about the right activity to help bring your teams together.  We’ve put together this resource to give you a taste of the sorts of activities and tasks you can include, to suit your hybrid working arrangements.

Before we begin

When planning your wonderful and cohesive team building session, there are some things to consider. Especially if you want to avoid your staff coming away with those ‘shudder’ moments.  

It may seem like an obvious one, but you should make sure the activities you choose are right for the team. Think about the makeup of your staff and whether some activities lend themselves better to some colleagues but not all.  For example, introverts in the team may not fully embrace an activity that requires them to step too much out of their comfort zone and the activity will then turn out to be of little benefit to them.

Activities and games should be inclusive and take into consideration any access needs and disabilities. If you have staff who have sight, speech or hearing impairments, games that limit communication, such as blindfolding games, will exclude them.  And there may be colleagues who have a disability that means they are not able to take part in some physical activities.  

Organisers should also be mindful of games or tasks that require participants to reveal personal information for the purposes of being open and sharing with colleagues. This can have the opposite effect and be detrimental if the stories involve something upsetting or traumatic. Safeguarding your staff and considering their wellbeing should always be at the forefront of your planning agenda.

Physical/Face-to-Face Activities

There are many activities and games that can be enjoyed in the time when your team is together in the same space.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

Scavenger Hunt

This is a good one for teams to use their problem-solving skills whilst working together. They could work as one large team or several smaller teams, and the list of the items they need to find can be a straightforward one or it can include obscure items that require more investigation.

Cost/equipment: Free, need scavenger hunt sheets and pens/pencils.

Escape Room

Escape Rooms, sometimes known as Puzzle Rooms, require teams to work together to solve puzzles and challenges to get out of the room.  This activity can take place in specific, purpose-built premises with companies that offer this as their main service, or by hiring a venue and arranging the challenges separately.  There are also online games to turn this into a virtual escape room activity.

Cost/equipment – Equipment will be needed depending on the puzzles and challenges.  Cost depending on options chosen.

Outdoor Board Games

Many board games lend themselves really well to being played in giant versions. Games such as Jenga, Chess, and Snakes and Ladders, are great ways to get teams working together and using their problem-solving skills to navigate the pieces and win the game. And they’re fun too so they can help colleagues to relax.

Cost/equipment – Low cost, the chosen game will need to be purchased or made in giant form.  It is very possible with many of these to make them out of basic materials – card, glue etc.

Back-to-Back Drawing

This game involves two people sitting back-to-back.  One has an image, the other has a blank page and a pen. The person with the image has to describe the image to their partner, without telling them what it is.  Their partner has to draw what they hear and then see if it looks anything like it’s original.

Cost: equipment: - Free, only need paper and pens.

The Mixed-Up Jigsaw

We love this little gem of an activity.  It’s so simple and doesn’t need much space or equipment. All you need is two jigsaws of around 100 pieces each. Split the jigsaws in half and give each team 50 pieces of each, but don’t let them know they’re mixed up.

When the teams begin to work together to build their jigsaw, they soon realise they have half of the other team’s jigsaw. They then have to work as one big team to bring everything together and unjumble the pieces.

Cost/Equipment: Low cost, only for jigsaws.

Virtual/Online Activities

Gartic Phone

A favourite in the Team Today office, this is online game mixing Pictionary with the Telephone Game (where you whisper into your neighbour’s ear until the original message becomes something quite different at the end). It’s a great game for having a bit of fun and being a bit silly whilst trying to guess what your teammates have drawn and seeing how far removed it is from the original phrase. You can play using Discord and invite colleagues to join.

Cost/equipment: Free to play, best played over MS Teams or Zoom

Similar games: This free-to-play game is a similar concept that works through the website, where you create a private room and invite colleagues to play.

This is a geographical guessing game where players are dropped into a street view panorama and have to guess where they are on the world map by finding clues.

Cost/Equipment: There is a free account, and, for unlimited play, there is a Pro Account which starts at £1.39 GBP/month. Play can be on a web browser or using the app.

Team Trivia/Quiz

You can’t beat a good quiz. There is so much you can do with team building quizzes and they are perfect for online team building.   Whether using general knowledge or themed, they are a great way to get colleagues talking and getting to know each other.  

Cost/Equipment: Free to low cost for quiz materials/quiz app subscription. Equipment depends on the nature of the quiz. You can create you own materials and questions, or you could use a trivia platform such as Kahoot and TriviaMaker.

Team Story Game

This is a lovely one for encouraging creativity. It’s a very simple concept; teams begin with 2-3 sentences and then work together to write their story, typically picking a sentence each but there are lots of ways to vary this, such as dividing into sub-teams to create sections together.  

Cost/Equipment: Free although there are apps that can help generate ideas, some of which are paid for, such as Storium and Playmeo.

Two Truths and One Lie

An old favourite, this is perfect for online, or in-person play and it’s a great one to break the ice and enable colleagues to get to know one another. Teammates have to tell everyone three things about themselves, one of which must be a lie. Everybody else must then guess which is the lie.

Cost/Equipment: Free, no equipment and this can be played on a virtual call.

This is our starter list for you to enjoy some really fun and engaging team building activities.  

For more insights and articles about hybrid working from Team Today, visit our blog here.

Madeleine Thompson

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