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Workplace Insight

Top Workplace Bonding Activities - Improve Office Rapport

Improving teamwork and rapport among employees isn’t always easy, but these top team-building activities make it that much easier to help employees bond personally & professionally.

coworkers gathered around a screen drinking coffee and talking

We’ve all been there at one point or another. Management has set aside a weekday for professional development and team building. On average, you can expect a call-and-response exercise featuring a foam ball. Later on, you’ll likely break into groups and work on a small activity that is (somehow) representative of your teamwork as a whole.

But after the awkwardness and inside jokes fade from memory, what remains? From the manager’s perspective, have your employees truly strengthened their bonds? Or, as is commonly the case, have your employees simply bonded over how little interest they have in the chosen activities?

Improving teamwork and office rapport can feel like a no-win situation. If activities are too much fun, the professional value of that time feels lost. If activities are too on-the-nose, employees reject them as unnecessary and, worst of all, a waste of time.

The question remains: how can a concerned manager genuinely strengthen bonds? Here are just a few popular and effective activities for your next professional development day.

Invention/Business Pitch

Conducted in a similar format to ABC’s popular show Shark Tank, this exercise divides your workforce into groups for some out-of-the-box thinking.

How it Works

For this activity, you’ll need two types of groups. Divide your workforce into teams of 3-6 people. These are your entrepreneurs. The second type of group will be made up of investors or “Sharks.” A panel of 3-4 people should suffice.

After breaking into groups, give your entrepreneurs a problem to solve. This can be any general problem or a problem specific to your office or industry. During a 35-50 minute brainstorming session, entrepreneur teams will come up with a brand name, business plan, marketing strategy, total business valuation, and desired investment-to-equity ratio. The team that earns the highest investment from the Sharks wins! It’s as simple as that. Overall, you can allot 1.5-2 hours for this fun, stimulating, and beneficial activity.

What the Activity Improves

- Teamwork

- Known team member strengths

- Out-of-the-box thinking

- Team member familiarity

- Rapport

Office Trivia

Much like the popular pub game, office trivia gatherings (during or after hours) give your employees a chance to demonstrate their knowledge. Employees will also need to trust their teammate’s answers, leading to better teamwork and increased familiarity.

How it Works

Sometimes, the best team-building exercise is fun in its own right. Separate your workforce into groups of 3-4. You’ll need a little space so that everyone can talk freely without overhearing another team. You’ll also need at least one “trivia master” to conduct the activity as an MC. Depending on where and when you host your trivia night, you may also opt for drinks or food while you’re at it.

In 1-1.5 hours, your trivia master will pose a series of questions, providing 2-3 minutes for deliberation among the teams. Teams can submit their answers on a piece of paper at the trivia master’s desk or have their answers taken up and delivered by a designated assistant. Make sure to decide ahead of time on a set number of questions. At 3 minutes each, 20 questions should last you about an hour. You’ll also want to assign a point value to each successful answer.

At the end of the activity, you’ll tally up the answers and announce the winning team. Trivia nights can be combined with intimate office questions, industry questions, prizes, time off, parking privileges, or gift cards! The most important outcome is cultivating a sense of fun and enrichment among your employees.

What the Activity Improves

- Coworker familiarity

- Employee confidence

- Workforce intimacy

- Teamwork

- Trust

Whiteboard Social Network

For large offices or offices with many newer employees, this fun activity encourages familiarity and strengthens bonds for a more honest, content, and productive workplace!

How it Works

For this exercise, you’ll need a whiteboard, some index cards, and a fresh pack of multicolored markers. Give each employee an index card and a marker, and ask them to draw their “avatar.” This can be as simple as a stick figure with a name next to it. Next, you’ll want to tape each index card to the whiteboard, leaving as much space between them as possible.

In groups of 2-3 (or all at once depending on the size of your workforce), have each employee draw a line on the whiteboard to the avatar of each employee they know well. Somewhere along that line, each employee should write how they know the other employee. This can read “worked together 5+ years,” or “go to the same gym.”

Once everyone is finished, have each employee make note of the employees they didn’t know well enough to link to. Now, give everyone 15-20 minutes to make acquaintances. Afterward, have them return to the whiteboard to link up their avatars with the avatars of their new office friends! They can share a fact about each other like “enjoys sushi” or “cheers for my college football team.”

Overall, this activity should only take roughly an hour. At the end of that hour, everyone should be at least somewhat more familiar with everyone else!

What the Activity Improves

- Workplace familiarity

- Knowledge of shared interests

- Bonds

- Rapport

- Future collaboration

Fun for Everyone

When your employees interact and work together in an organic way, the bonds and feelings they come away with tend to be their own. Forcing employees to interact or strengthen rapport is not guaranteed to work. But by giving them a minute away from their desks to meet, greet, and familiarize themselves with one another, you’re ultimately making them stronger as employees too.

When we work with strangers, we work for ourselves. But when we work with friends, we work for each other. Building a better relationship among your employees begins with sincerity. As the manager, when you display interest in the lives of your team, you encourage the same interest in each team member.

Office Environments has the spaces you need.

A tighter workforce is a more efficient workforce. But many traditional office activities focus too heavily on professional development to be interesting or stimulating for your employees. Give these new activities a try and watch your team grow!

For office activities big and small, you need the right kind of space and the right kind of furnishings. Intermix conference tables are perfect for team-building exercises, and Herman Miller brainstorming spaces will have your employees collaborating both during and after fun teamwork activities.

Want more ideas?

Contact us today!