According to this article by Huffington Post, performance indicators have shown that teams that work together are more efficient/productive than those that work in isolation. In high-pressure environments and at workplaces where the collective effort of many people with varying skillsets are required, it becomes doubly important that team members work as a unit. A good way to bring team members together and foster a good working relationship between them is through team bonding games and activities.
Here are some team bonding ideas that employers/managers can use to get their workers to connect effectively:
Team members are placed in pairs and each pair is given 4 minutes to introduce themselves to their partner, giving them pertinent information and details. Once the introductions are done, each partner takes the stage and introduces their paired partner to the entire group.
This activity works particularly well with new teams. In addition to getting the workers to mingle, it also ensures that they concentrate enough to learn one or two things about their team members. Before long, common grounds are established and bonds are formed.
This activity works better for team members who have worked together for some time (say, 2 years). Participants are paired up and Partner 1 tells Partner 2 about something negative that happened to them sometime in the past. Partner 2 listens to their narration and afterwards, comes up with a story that focuses only on the positive aspects of the story. Afterwards, Partners 1 and 2 switch roles.
Win/Win helps team members empathize with one another—empathy is very important for bonding. This exercise also teaches participants to see positives in every situation/experience.
Participants are divided into 2 groups and each group is given building materials e.g. Jenga blocks, Legos, straws etc. Individual groups are then tasked with building a bridge. When they are done, the bridge built by group A has to fit into the one built by group B, forming one big bridge. Here is the catch: members of each group are not allowed to see the bridge being built by the other group until the end of the exercise. They can talk and describe their contraption, but they cannot show it to each other.
Bridges compels the participants that make up each group to be creative and harness their problem-solving skills. It also improves communication and cooperation between team members.
Participants are split into pairs and while standing side-by-side their hands are tied together, freeing one hand for each person. They are then given tasks to complete e.g. tie a knot, make a sandwich, or piece a jigsaw puzzle together.
This activity comes with a lot of awkwardness at first, but over time, the participants learn to work through their restriction. Tied-Up is a very effective bonding exercise.
This requires a large number of employees and it may take some time to pull off, however, it’s totally worth it. Four groups are formed and each group has to come up with a drama/musical that can be performed to an audience in less than 10 minutes. The groups may be given 2/3 hours to prepare. NB: Mostly, the more time team members spend together preparing for their performance, the better.
This activity allows team members to delegate tasks among themselves. Some may choose to be writers, some, directors, and others, performers. Theater Day brings a lot of fun and people will recollect the performances weeks later and still find things to talk/laugh about.
After going through these (and other) bonding exercises together, team members may become workplace friends—this is good for productivity. Even if they do not, they will be comfortable enough with each other to relate and work together effectively.