Building a cohesive and high-performing team is a goal shared by organizations of all sizes and industries. In the quest to nurture strong relationships, enhance collaboration, and boost overall productivity, team-building activities play a pivotal role.
Creating harmony in a huge team is often more challenging because it means managing diverse talents and personalities. With the right activities, you can foster a sense of camaraderie and unleash the full potential of your team members in an enjoyable and interactive way.
From icebreakers that set the stage for open communication to collaborative challenges that test problem-solving skills, we’ve put together some engaging team-building activities tailored for larger groups, with activities meant for both in-person and remote teams.
In-Person Team Building Activities
With so many people working in isolation, in-person interactions take on new significance, offering a chance to strengthen the bonds between team members and create tangible connections. Here are some team-building activities that are designed to foster engagement, communication, and teamwork among large groups.
1. Escape Room Challenges
Escape room challenges are fantastic for team building because they get everyone working together, solving puzzles, and having fun in a high-pressure, real-life game setting. They boost communication and problem-solving skills while creating a sense of teamwork and accomplishment when you escape.
The great thing about this activity is that there are so many escape rooms all over the US and in other parts of the world. The Escape Game and Escape Room USA also have branches all over North America.
2. Trivia Nights
Trivia nights combine knowledge, strategy, and a touch of competition. It’s perfect for large groups because you can split them into small teams, adding some competitive fun to the mix.
Imagine a quiz-show format with a quizmaster or host facilitating the event. The trivia questions cover a wide range of categories, including general knowledge, pop culture, history, science, sports, and more. You can even make things more interesting by adding "fastest finger" rounds or bonus challenges.
3. Volunteering Activities
What better way to bond a team together than by giving them a common worthy cause to work for? There are so many volunteer programs to choose from — wildlife and nature conservation, community development, youth support, and mentoring — the possibilities are endless!
4. Learn Something New
A team that succeeds together learns new things together. Whether it’s a cooking class or learning a new language, it’s great to see team members support each other and help each other out in masterclasses.
You can hire an expert to come to the office and teach the group, or you can have the group attend classes within the vicinity. Classes are a superb team-building choice as they combine skill development with a shared learning experience. Participants can collaborate, acquire new knowledge, and enjoy a sense of accomplishment as they enhance their expertise together, all while deepening their connections in an engaging and productive way.
5. Egg Drop Challenge
How can the group prevent an egg from breaking? This is the baffling puzzle that teams have to figure out to win this challenge. Since you have a large group of people joining, it’s best to split them into teams.
The premise of this challenge is simple — find ways to protect the egg so that it won’t break when dropped from a specific height. You can give them limited materials to use to make the challenge even tougher. You can also add another layer to the challenge by doing multiple rounds, with each egg being dropped at different heights.
6. Build a Boat
The TV series Survivor was a great example of a team-building activity stretched over a longer period. While it would be fun to leave your team members stranded on a deserted island, let’s not get too drastic here. You can focus on one aspect of the “survivor” plot and ask the team to build a boat.
This activity is best done with two or three teams competing against each other. Let them be creative in the way they build their boats. They get to choose what materials to use and how big they want their boats to be. Give them a specific timeframe to work on their boats. This can be a long-term project (say, one or two weeks) or this could be a quick activity.
Once the time is up, the panel of judges will decide which boat is better. They can make the boat go through challenges like hosing it down with water or dropping it from a certain height. You can even come up with a scoring system, with different criteria like design or stability.
7. Marshmallow on a Tower Challenge
Tower games are a common team-building activity. This often requires teams to build the highest tower they can build using either straw or pasta, with strings or tape putting everything together.
But what if we make that challenge more interesting? Ask the team to build a tower that doesn’t just stand — it should be able to support the weight of a marshmallow on top, too!
While you might be thinking that this is an easy enough challenge because marshmallows tend to be light, the real challenge here is getting the marshmallow to stay on top. Do you build a basket for it? Do you stick it up on top? You’ll see a lot of creative ideas in play here, so it should be interesting to see which one is most effective.
8. Minute to Win It
This popular TV game show wasn’t a huge hit for nothing. The 60-second challenges might seem easy enough to complete when you’re watching on your living room sofa, but when you’re in the actual game, you might find it tougher than you think.
This is what your team members will realize when they join this team-building activity. Split the entire group into 3 or 4 teams and have them go through several 60-minute challenges. Give them points each time they complete a challenge first, then see who racks up the most points in the end.
9. Amazing Race
Since we’re on the topic of TV game shows, The Amazing Race is also something you can do as a team-building activity. Imagine teams hustling to complete different challenges and racing all over the office compound searching for clues.
The more teams you can produce for this activity, the better! Have just 2 or 3 people per team so that you can truly make it an interactive experience for everyone.
10. Team Outing or Staycation
They say that you won’t truly know someone until you try living with them under one roof. Well, an entire weekend may not suffice if you want your team to truly know each other inside out, but it will definitely give them some quality time to build stronger relationships.
Getting everyone on a bus or a plane to somewhere for an entire weekend is a great way for everyone to bond in a casual environment. You can even do some of the activities listed above just to keep things interesting.
Remote Team Building Activities
Managing and enhancing team dynamics in a virtual environment presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. 12.7% of full-time employees enjoy working remotely, while 18.2% are enjoying flexibility through a hybrid model. It is also expected that 32.6 employees in the US will be working remotely by 2025.
With these statistics, it’s safe to say that plans for remote team building should be in place. Here are some activities that you can try for your remote team.
1. Coffee Maker Questions
What does your dream vacation look like? What’s your most prized possession? Questions like these are a great way for a team to get to know each other better and see some similarities and differences in the way everyone sees the world.
This can be done using the Coffee Maker feature from the virtual coffee break platform CoffeePals. The app regularly sends thought-provoking questions through your team channels, then team members can give their insights.
2. Virtual Escape Rooms
Yup, escape rooms are still an effective team-building tool even for remote teams. The Escape Game offers remote virtual escape rooms that are just as exciting as their in-person games. You can also buy your own online escape games that you can play anytime.
Just like in-person escape rooms, you also get to choose specific themes for your activity. If you do this frequently, you can choose a different one each time.
3. Virtual Trivia
Even your trivia nights can be converted into an online activity. You can choose a specific theme to keep things interesting, with everyone wearing costumes to match!
You can also have a hosted game with expert facilitators. Outback Team Building, for example, hosts the Virtual Trivia Time Machine, which can accommodate up to 1,000 team members! Even if your team is not as huge as that size, it could still be an enjoyable experience for the entire team.
4. Virtual Theme Days
Virtual theme days are a creative way for teams to bond and have fun while working remotely. This is perfect if there are specific holidays or seasons to celebrate, but you can also come up with your own theme.
Have everyone attend a virtual celebration wearing costumes or themed clothing, then let everyone use a virtual background that’s also aligned with the celebration. Conduct theme-based games online, and use this as the chance to recognize top performers and anybody else who has reached impressive milestones.
5. Collaborative Map
This activity is perfect for teams with members scattered around the globe. Using Google Maps, ask everyone to put a marker corresponding to the specific questions to be asked. You can ask where they got their degree from, where they’re currently located, or where they were born.
You can even use this as a DEI activity and ask people to share something about the place they’re marking on the map. It’s a great way to see how technology connects the team despite distance.
6. Virtual Movie Night
Creating shared experiences like virtual movie nights can be a fantastic way to help a large team bond, even when team members are working remotely or dispersed across various locations.
Choose a movie that everyone can watch together. One can share the screen as the movie plays so that everyone can see it. You can have popcorn and soda delivered to your team members’ homes to complete the experience.
After the movie, you can have everyone share who their favorite character is and why. They can also talk about their favorite moments in the movie and share how they would rate the movie from 1 to 10.
7. Virtual Tours
Just because the team is scattered across different locations doesn’t mean you don’t get to travel as a team. Did you know that there are several virtual tours that you can all enjoy?
From tours to popular museums like The Louvre or The Metropolitan Museum of Art to historical sites like Machu Picchu or the Great Wall of China, virtual tours allow your team to explore new places, cultures, and experiences together.
8. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Everyone has a treasure trove of random things at home. This means that everyone can have their scavenger hunt at home!
Since this is for a remote setting, gather everyone in whatever video conferencing tool you prefer. Then, give them a list of things to look for around the house. You could say “things that start with a letter B” or “things that you use with water”. Have them collect as many things as they can for each category. You could give them one or two minutes per category.
Once time is up, check on who got the most items and declare them the winner.
9. Virtual Icebreakers
Virtual icebreakers are great for building a sense of connection and engagement in remote meetings. And because they’re quick and straightforward enough, they’re a great way to start your virtual meetings.
Two Truths is a Lie is a popular one where each participant shares two true statements and one false statement about themselves. The rest of the team tries to guess which statement is the lie. Show and Tell is another icebreaker activity that you can do, where you ask participants to find an interesting or meaningful item in their workspace and share the story behind it.
Other activities include Never Have I Ever, Pancakes vs. Waffles, Guess the Background, and Name One.
10. Virtual Coffee Chats
Virtual coffee chats are a great way to connect team members and get to know each other in a casual setting. This is perfect for large groups because the app automatically matches pairs and sets up coffee break schedules for them. This means that no matter how many team members you have, everyone can have the chance to meet other team members and enjoy meaningful conversations with them.
By using a virtual coffee break platform like CoffeePals, you can also take the load of organizing these coffee breaks off your shoulders. You can even set up cross-team matching, and the app pairs up people who don’t belong to the same team.
Virtual coffee breaks offer informal, relaxed opportunities for team members to connect, share experiences, and build personal relationships, fostering a stronger sense of camaraderie and collaboration.