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5 Fun Team Building Activities for the Workplace

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

When you really stop to think about it, the people who we tend to spend most of our waking hours with are our co-workers. For eight hours a day (give or take a few), we share an office with many different kinds of personalities that have many different kinds of expectations. So, for the sake of being able to work in a peaceful and productive environment, it's important to cultivate a healthy workplace camaraderie. One of the ways to effectively do this is to participate in team building activities.

Below, we have enclosed five of them that are fun as well as beneficial for any workplace environment:

Role Play. If you want to be able to better understand the perceptions of people's realities, nothing does this better than role playing. It's an especially productive tool if your staff has been working together for some time because you can have people "take on the character" of some of the people they work with in various scenarios. For instance, you could have one of the administrative assistants act like the person they report to in a time of a professional crisis and vice versa. It's a good way for both individuals to see how the other person views them.

Tell "Two Truths and a Lie". Another popular team building game is playing "Two Truths and a Lie". Give everyone a piece of paper and ask them to write down their name along with two truths about themselves, along with a lie. Then collect all of the papers and read each one at a time to see if everyone (or anyone) can guess what are the truths and which is the lie. A benefit of this game is that it helps to show how well you really know the people who you work with.

Play "30 Seconds in the Life". Speaking of getting to know people, you're looking for a way to get to know the people who you work with on a more intimate level, try playing the "30 Seconds in the Life" game. Basically, you tell everyone to think about the best moments of their life. After you've given them a minute or two to think it through, then ask, "Now if you only had 30 seconds left to live, which moment would you want to experience again?" It's a great way to tap into people's vulnerabilities without making them feel like you are invading their personal space.

Build a Paper Tower. One activity that requires a lot of creativity and patience (two things that are often needed to have a successful work environment) consists of building a paper tower. Basically, you put people in teams of two or three and then hand each person on the team a sheet of paper. Tell them that they have approximately five minutes to use their pieces of paper to build a free standing tower without being able to use any other materials or tools. There is absolutely no way that people will not have to engage one another while learning how to cooperate harmoniously with this kind of challenge.

Make eye contact. When team building companies like are coming up with ways to instill trust and respect among their employees, they may try this kind of activity. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul and so, therefore, you can tell a lot about a person when you make eye contact. As kids, some of us referred to this particular activity as the "stare down" game, but basically what you do is get people into groups of twos and have them sit or stand directly from one another and stare into each other's eyes for as long as possible. Watch for the body language, the nervous giggles and then once someone breaks eye contact, be sure to ask why they did so. The answers can offer up insight into how comfortable or comfortable a particular person is when it comes to direct interaction either with that person or people in general. Knowing this can definitely prove to be beneficial as you assess your staff and the future plans that you have for your company.

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