team members sharing a group high five to celebrate a team win

5 Team Building Ideas That Won’t Make Your Employees Feel Awkward

Effective team building positively impacts the workplace across the board. Although not all employees are fond of traditional team building activities, the benefits greatly outweigh the cons and there are a lot of options to suit different personalities.

So how exactly do you go about planning successful team building activities and motivating everyone involved? Read on to find out!


1. Learn Something New As a Team

As a team building initiative, learning something new together can foster teamwork. Learning a new language such as Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish, for example, can not only increase morale and teamwork, but also improve your employee and company value in the market.

People who learn, master, and conquer new things together will have a shared sense of achievement, and this later adds to overall productivity and an improved work environment. Once a foreign language is learned and mastered, it could also increase your company’s footprint in the foreign market.


team members enjoying pizza together as part of a team building activity


2. Go Offsite for Some Bonding Time

Being in the workplace often creates a certain air of competition and formality. However, once you take everyone involved out of their standard work environment, then all bets are off.

Have you ever been to a holiday party at a restaurant and seen a side of your coworkers you have never seen before? Well, this is why.

Some supervisors and managers even go as far as scheduling team building vacations in the form of annual company trips.

Of course, you don’t need to go that far or spend that much, especially if you are a small-scale company. What you can do is look into more team building locations by:

  • Finding team building-specific venues/facilitators.
  • Organizing a scavenger hunt in your city to emphasize the importance of teamwork.
  • Heading to a bar and participate in trivia nights or board game nights.
  • Hosting improv workshops and other small workshops that prove to be very successful.
  • Trying an escape room. While it’s fun to do with friends, family, and even strangers, it can prove to be very useful with your fellow employees.
  • Taking everyone to a new place in town. It could be a new restaurant, a new park, or another place no one has been to even the playing field.
  • Going to a local ball game. Chances are everyone will root for the same team. You’ll get a sense of camaraderie like never before.

Certain things can be done in the workplace, too. Some of these activities include:

  • Sending funny (but appropriate) emails to brighten everyone’s day.
  • Holding professional development workshops in the company meeting room.
  • Calling a meeting to get more team building suggestions for your next outing.

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3. Volunteer/Give Back to the Community

Nothing brings people together more than doing good for the community, and there are a lot of great reasons to consider offering volunteer time off.

It’s a win-win situation, as the community, your company image, and all involved benefit.

Some suggestions for team building through volunteer work include:

  • Volunteering time or resources to a local animal shelter. Nothing cheers people up like cuddly little creatures.
  • Participating in public cleanups for the environment. Look for beachside opportunities or cleaning up local schools or parks and surrounding areas.
  • Running a workplace fundraiser for a selected charity, garage sale, auction, or raffle with the 100% of the proceeds going to those in need.
  • Sponsoring youth clubs and sports teams to improve your company image while giving local kids a chance to play.
  • Organizing holiday donation drives or a blood drive.
  • Visiting a homeless shelter to see where your team can help and positively impact the lives of others.

team members playing a board game as part of a team building activity


4. Team Perks!

Part of a healthy work environment is having workers who care and give 100%. Demotivation often occurs over time and is almost inevitable in a corporate setting.

One way to combat this issue is through perks given to entire teams when a goal is met.

For example, if your sales team hits the target this quarter, take the entire team out (not just the top salesperson) for a free meal at a restaurant. Take out the accounting department for an end-of-the-year meal to congratulate them for a job well done will significantly boost morale.

This may require a significant monetary investment, but you should keep the long-term benefits in mind. No company would be successful without solid teams.


team members meeting together as part of a team building activity


5. Give Everyone a Chance to Lead

Take everyone’s contributions and suggestions to heart. While not everyone will have the desire to lead, you should make sure each employee feels heard and valued.

What you can also do is encourage each person to contribute during meetings, and even call meetings when they deem a problem important enough to be addressed.

An employee who has a chance to speak up, take the lead, and voice their concerns is one that feels valued, empowered, encouraged, and willing to put in the work.



There are many opinions on what makes a great team building session, where are the best team building locations, and which are the most effective team building activities. Much of this will be determined by your unique company culture as well.

One thing is for sure: team building in a workplace is beneficial across the board. Try not to enforce your authority too much during these activities, as fun should be your primary focus. Creating a healthy and fun company culture will make everyone’s workday that much brighter.

By Susan Craig, Guest Author | January 15, 2020