Team building activities for total strangers

Written on 
May 6, 2018

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Team building activities aren’t about forcing strangers to have weirdly structured “fun” together. And they don’t have to be eye-wateringly awful. Here at Timely, we’ve just come back from our second ever full company meetup, where half of our workforce met in-person for the first time. How did it go? Incredibly. And it’s all thanks to some kick-ass team building exercises.

What’s the point of team building activities?

Team building activities provide an easy social entry point for the bunch strangers you’ve gathered together in your company. They provide a common, non-threatening focus everyone can engage with to open discussions, build relationships and kick-start communication. Why? Because team bonding is super important.

The benefits of team building

Effective collaboration can't work in the absence of positive, mutually supportive relationships. And if you don’t know or don’t like the people you work with, you’re probably not going to be super invested in staying with them long-term. Team building activities provide people with a safe space to problem solve and learn how different people communicate, but they also help build an essential sense of team belonging and community.

Effective team building activities for work

Good team building exercises are fully inclusive. They don’t embarrass or demotivate, and everyone feels comfortable taking part. It’s super important to consider your own cultural preferences and biases when putting together team building activities. Consider the following:

  • Alcohol should be an option, not the main event
  • Don’t make it prohibitively expensive if people need to chip in
  • Be weather wise – consider indoors and outdoors activities
  • Competition is great in moderation
  • Control groups to avoid cliques forming
  • Be aware of dietary requirements
  • If it’s physically demanding, check with people first

Our top team building activities

These are the Timely team's tried-and-tested team building activities – suitable for any budget or weather!

  1. Match the person to the fact – we used Sil.do for simple group voting.
  2. Movie night – with a projector, every wall’s a screen.
  3. Escape room – Our team had to battle with 42 rooms at Oslo’s Fangene på Fortet.
  4. Board game/puzzle-offs – wholesome fun that even Wall Street can get behind.
  5. Host a classic LAN party – WoW, MoH, Civilization, Age of Empires, Tekken etc.
  6. Learn new moves – try company yoga or some sweet self-defense.
  7. Company song – get groups to make a song and video.
  8. Shuffleboard – our CEO’s favorite form of humiliation.
  9. Company bake off – a great way of sharing culture.
  10. Karaoke – you won’t regret it.
  11. Curling – what can we say, we’re Norwegian 🇳🇴.

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