What is one team-building event that works for getting people excited to come into the office?
To help you encourage employees to come back to the office, we asked CEOs and people managers this question for their best recommendations. From Shark Tank-themed sessions to office Olympic games, there are several team-building events that may help you entice and energize your workers back to work in person with their teams at the office.
One of the best exercises that are both motivational and could help the company with great ideas is a Shark Tank-themed session. In this, every employee is asked to come up with one brilliant idea, research it and pitch it to the group. You can put stipulations on it that it must be something your company can do or develop, must have cost research included, and must resolve a current problem. This allows all employees to find solutions to problems they see in the company or find new avenues to launch new products. The winner should get a cash prize with some runners-up getting gift cards.
The judging panel includes a company executive, a manager, and a shift worker. They can ask questions and offer opinions as the pitch is made, just like in Shark Tank. There should also be a stipulation that if the company uses one of the ideas the employee will get credit and some other form of significant compensation, particularly long-term compensation.
Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
Folks love food, free food especially, so any team-building experience that includes snacks is a sure win. For example, some of Team Building's most popular events are Great Guac Off, a competitive guacamole-making contest, a tiny campfire, a virtual cookout that includes a gourmet s'mores kit, and Gingerbread Wars, a seasonal event that has teams competing in cookie decorating challenges. Other ideas include potlucks, picnics, cookoffs, team lunches, food trucks, and sampling events. These activities add excitement to the normal workday lunch routine, and meals are naturally communal events that help teammates socialize in a relaxed atmosphere. Plus, most team members love snacks!
Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
Trivia is a fan favorite team-building event. Quiz games appeal to competitive employees, however, since players often compete in teams, the stakes are lower for non-competitive workers. Trivia is naturally fun and social and usually involves food. Plus, the categories can span a wide range of subjects and give various teammates a chance to shine and show their skills and smarts. The activity is a blend of fun, educational, and cooperative, thereby winning the leadership's approval.
Tasia Duske, Museum Hack
One exciting team-building event is a team scavenger hunt. This event can involve a variety of different tasks, such as finding specific items, completing a puzzle, or completing a challenge. By doing various tasks that require a variety of skills, the teams and employees will be encouraged to test and share their skills. This helps build support and camaraderie among them. It also is important to make sure that the tasks are challenging but also doable so that everyone on the team is engaged.
Paw Vej, Financer.com Ltd
Games are a great way to get people excited to come into the office. We've done scavenger hunts, played Taboo and Pictionary, and made our own version of Trivia with company-related questions. Our employees look forward to these team-building events and always make sure to come into the office on the days we're playing these interactive games.
Katie Lyon, Allegiance Flag Supply
Happy hours are a sure-fire way of getting your teams excited about showing up to work, as well as giving them something to look forward to through the entire week. Tips for holding a successful happy hour include choosing a good theme, offering a variety of different snacks and drinks, and facilitating great conversations amongst your team members to keep the mood lighthearted and happy. So long as your happy hours are a space where employees can unwind and relax after a long week, there's no doubt they'll be looking forward to it every week.
Harry Morton, Lower Street
Let's be honest, everyone loves attending an event where food is involved. To make it interesting, set a theme for the potluck (like Mexican, Italian, or Cajun) and have everyone bring a dish surrounding it. Breaking bread together is one of the best age-old bonding experiences there is.
Jae Pak, Jae Pak MD Medical
One fun and engaging team-building task we’ve done in the past is a wine tasting night at the office. I hired a sommelier to come in for a night after work on a Friday, and gave him a budget of $500 to choose wines ranging from $4/bottle up to $150/bottle. We then did a blind taste test where everyone got to taste and grade the wines one at a time. People would guess their price range, and order them as best they could. Then the sommelier revealed the results and declared a winner, with a grand prize of (surprise) a bottle of wine. It was a great event, and everyone had a lot of fun. In fact, our winner knew nothing about wine while our two resident “wine experts” failed miserably. And at the end of the night, for anyone who didn’t have someone to pick them up, I ordered an uber for them from the office. I think it worked well for bringing us a little closer as a team and making the most of our physical space.
John Ross, Test Prep Insight
When people have the conveniences of home at their disposal because they work from home, it's a tough sell to get them excited to come into the office. But if you can create an event that will benefit them not only in the moment but also later on at home, then you've got a winner.
For offices that don't have a kitchen, I recommend hosting a cookie decoration class. Have a local bakery provide all of the supplies (cookies, icing, piping bags, etc) and teach a fun, interactive class. At the end of the class, make sure everyone gets to go home with half a dozen cookies they can share with their family/friends! For offices that do have a kitchen, pick an appetizer or two that doesn't take long to create from start to finish. Make sure the vendor you choose provides a printout of the recipes your employees can take home with them!
At the end of the day, you've taught your employees a skill; and most people like skills they can put to use at parties and other social functions.
Crystal King, Amazing Baby
Our colleagues at work become our second family. As the weather starts to get warmer, consider hosting a picnic with employees and their families. This is a great opportunity to connect professional and personal lives to improve office culture and work-life balance. Each employee can contribute by bringing a homemade dish along with their significant other and children. Not only does this strengthen workplace friendships, but also helps team members feel appreciated in a fun and engaging way.
Sara Adam Slywka, Nestig
Gameday-themed work events are an engaging way to get people excited to come into the office. There’s nothing like the combination of sports and friendly banter amongst colleagues. Sporting events make for compelling nights where everyone figuratively (and literally, at times) shows their colors. The comradery it inspires is great for a healthy workplace. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team no matter who we root for. Gameday sporting events are a great way to get to know your peers, and they don’t have to be at an actual game - a local bar/restaurant or perhaps even the workplace will suffice.
These events are a great way to improve the workplace by fostering environments where employees can feel good about where they work and who they work with. Good vibes and good times!
Jordan Duran, 6 ICE
Do a show and tell! People get excited when they have the opportunity to share things they are passionate about. Usually, it is hard to get to know much about our coworkers during business hours. A show and tell is a fun activity that motivates everyone to know each other better and maybe even find common interests.
You can do it with hobbies, pets, favorite movies, etc. People will connect more easily with other colleagues with whom they may not interact much during work hours. This encourages communication, which benefits the productivity of the entire team.
John Cheng, Baotris
One of the most memorable episodes of the U.S. version of “The Office” was “Office Olympics.” While the boss was away, the employees invented games during the day. It gave them a much-needed diversion and boosted their morale. You got the sense that it strengthened the relationships among them (particularly between Jim and Pam). A real-life Office Olympic Games can be held – annually, quarterly, or whatever time frame you prefer. The games should be inclusive. They should consist of contests everyone can enjoy. The contests can be skill games, games of luck, or a combination of both. Offering this day of diversion can go a long way toward boosting an office’s morale. It’s something team members will look forward to.
Trevor Ford, Yotta