Team building is critical to ensuring a happy office. Some of the most successful companies inculcate team building events and activities like sprints and weekly lunches within their weekly workdays. Buffer, for instance, has an annual company retreat, where employees pick a new country to visit. Since the entire team is remote, these retreats are a great way to reconnect with each other and bond beyond their laptops.

But, adding team-building events and activities within your work environment doesn’t have to hinder work. We’ve listed 10 team building activities that you can add to your workplace without having to disturb your employees’ usual workflow.

10 team-building event ideas to make work more fun 

1. Demo day

Get your employees more involved with different departments in the company with a demo day. Demo days let employees showcase the project they are working on, giving everyone in the company more insight into what is happening.

This monthly team building event can help strengthen the team and make employees appreciate the work done by everyone in the company.

Demo days also let employees provide feedback and suggestions to current projects being done, ensuring that your work gets multiple perspectives.

Also read: All-hands meeting – the new must-have to keep your team motivated

2. Hackathon 

Hackathon originated from a development specific area, where a team of developers within a company come together to solve a certain problem. But, these days, hackathons mean much more.

Companies set up hackathons (or sprints) to encourage every team within the organization to work on one big idea or goal for a period of time. These 7 to 10 days are a breeding ground for great ideas. It allows employees to work collaboratively, helping them achieve outcomes outside of their usual tasks.

Such team building activities let employees work on an innovative project that has been shelved, allowing the company to broaden their scope and gives employees a refresher from their daily tasks.

3. Learning Lunches

Put a little more excitement into your lunch hours at work by having an informal knowledge sharing session. Use the laid-back lunch hour to let team members share interesting industry news or give more details about a problem they are solving within their department.

Learning lunches allow you to grab the insightfulness of demo days but without having to schedule an entire day for it.

Such informal sessions a few times a week can allow you to keep the team connected while not disrupting their daily workflow.

4. Weekend brunches

A great monthly team-building activity to keep your team connected with each other is weekend brunch.

Small teams, in particular, have weekend brunches as a way to strengthen the bonds between co-workers, allowing them to bring their family along for the morning outing and getting them acquainted on a more personal level.

Weekend brunches need not be a formal restaurant setting. You can even consider having a potluck-style brunch where every employee contributes one dish for the meal. This team activity is sure to make employees feel more satisfied with the company and make them develop a better relationship with their coworkers.

5. Contests and challenges

A little competition is always healthy. This is why some of the top companies set challenges within their smaller teams to make employees work harder for a small reward. This can either be a large sum credited to their Amazon account or a health-related item they can buy for themselves.

While your employees might be more focused on the reward, the challenge in itself is what will make this activity a great way to build enthusiasm within the team. Since team members will be rushing to beat each other at the task in hand, their productivity is sure to increase and their interest will reflect in the quality of work they do.

Challenges and contests are a great way to show your employees that their work is valued within the company.

6. Surprise treats

One of the most effective but unusual team building activities is surprising your employees.

Whether it’s handing out desserts in the middle of the week or a surprise day out of the office, giving your employees and unexpected treat is a great way to foster satisfaction among employees.

Such a surprise is especially welcome if your employees have been working harder than usual because of a looming deadline.

7. Expert interviews

One of the best ways to encourage your employees is with a live example. Host industry experts at your office for your team members to talk to and draw inspiration from.

Bringing in an expert for a day goes a long way. It allows your employees to see what climbing the ladder within your industry looks like.

You can have a panel-like discussion where the guest you are bringing in is asked specific questions by a moderator from your team and you can even open up the floor for questions from other employees. It’s one of the employee engagement strategies that always work.

8. World Cafes

Knowledge sharing with events like demo day and learning lunches are great to keep employees in the loop. But you still need team building activities that facilitate conversations among one another.

This is where “World Cafe” comes in. Such events allow you to have a debate-style discussion among employees. Here you can set aside an hour or two for the entire team to have a group discussion. But remember to decide on a topic early on.

Your topic can be about an upcoming event that the company is hosting. The new features for your product. Or even something unrelated to the organization.

9. Movie night

Why not tap into an upcoming event for your next team building activity? Movie nights are a great way to reward employees for their hard work. Especially since new movies are something they are looking forward to.

Take the team out for the next big movie that hits the theatres. Or, if the team is too big for a theatre outing, set up a projector in the office. Get some pizza and watch a film picked by the entire team. A really quick way to boost employee engagement.

10. Travel retreat

While this team building activity isn’t feasible for every team, travel retreats are an innovative way to boost team bonding. Take your team to a nearby travel attraction or even host an international retreat, just like Buffer does. This improves employee engagement and also employee satisfaction.

Use travel retreats as an annual opportunity to give your employees a much-needed vacation. You can pick some of these days to even get some big-picture work done. Set timelines for new launches, restructure the organization, have employees bring suggestions to the table.

But, most importantly, use this time to see a new place. These are people you spend most of your time with. So collect memories with them!

Want to make the most out of your travel retreat? Read our article on How to run a good team offsite. And if you’re planning to implement bleisure, be sure to ask yourself if you really need it!

Which team building events and activities do you schedule for your thriving team? Are there any unusual team building activities that come to your mind?

Working on building a strong team culture? Don’t forget to read our post on Team Culture Myths.