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5 Fun Team-Building Activities For International Fun At Work Day And Beyond

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Apr. 2 2024, Published 1:41 p.m. ET

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I’m a big believer in the saying that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Speaking personally, being happy at work is important and that is largely due to workplace culture.

Research shows that a positive work culture is essential to the success of an organization, especially since the average American will spend about ⅓ of her life working. It makes sense that happy employees are more productive and less inclined to leave. Team building is an essential component since it fosters a sense of belonging. You work better with people you know and like. 

With International Fun at Work Day celebrated on April 1, consider this month the perfect time to prioritize team-building activities to connect in a fun and humorous way. Here are a few suggestions to celebrate the day and beyond:

Games

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One of my favorite ways to engage with coworkers before meetings was with quick games. I found that meetings which began with something fun lightened the mood, got us talking to each other about non-work related topics, and made interacting during the meeting easier. 

The great thing about many games is that they work well for in-person and remote meetings, requiring little prep time. Two Truths and One Lie can get a lot of laughs, especially if everyone focuses on memorable truths (I always shared that I was bitten in the face by a horse) and believable lies (my favorite was saying I spoke 4 languages). Taking the time to share and reflect afterwards further strengthens connections.

Time Required: 15 to 30 minutes

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Contests

There’s nothing like a bit of light-hearted competition to infuse an element of fun in the work day. One of my favorite events during my time as a teacher was the annual door decorating contest. The excitement could be felt throughout the building and people went out of their way to walk the hallways and see each other’s creations.

A desk-decorating contest is a good opportunity for coworkers to connect over shared interests. Everyone in the organization should participate and the staff can vote for superlatives. For remote offices, consider a photo caption contest. It requires searching for and sending photos to the staff ahead of the meeting but is something everyone can participate in and vote on.

Time Required: 3-5 days (due to planning)

Scavenger Hunts

If you’re looking for a fun activity that can be done in teams, scavenger hunts work well. They require collaboration but with a spirit of competition. Depending on the tasks, they can also be silly and lighthearted. 

A good scavenger hunt does require some planning, but it works well in-person and remotely. Teams can be organized by department or you can take the extra step and create inter-departmental teams. This is a more inclusive opportunity for people across departments to connect. If you’re pressed for time, Outback Team Building offers several scavenger hunt ideas for inspiration, with the option to outsource the planning.

Time Required: 1-2 hours

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Escape Rooms

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Similar to a scavenger hunt, escape room activities are excellent for fun collaboration. What I like about escape rooms is that you are placed in an unusual situation (I once played an Indiana Jones type of escape room) and have to use your wits to solve a series of puzzles. The experience becomes a topic of conversation for weeks afterward.

While the traditional model of an escape room (where you are locked in a room) is probably what first comes to mind, there are options available that can be organized in your office or remotely. Mind Tools offers a free escape room kit that works well in either environment but if you are short on planning time and prefer to outsource, Team Building Arena offers virtual escape rooms that can be played in-person or remotely.

Time Required: 1 hour

Problem Solving

Brain teasers and puzzles are fun ways to problem solve and, when done in teams, strengthen collaboration between team members. My favorite problem solving activity has always been The Marshmallow Challenge. It is simple to organize, easy to understand, quick to play, and incredibly fun and creative. I have played it with colleagues as part of staff meetings and I also used it with my students; it’s always been a hit.

Time Required: 20-30 minutes

Regardless of which team building activities you choose, keep in mind that workplace culture needs to be consistently cultivated to feel the effects.

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Marta Kargol
By: Marta Kargol

Marta Kargol is a former educator turned freelance copywriter who brings a unique blend of storytelling and clarity to her writing. She believes effective communication shapes ideas and focuses her efforts on finding creative ways to simplify complex topics. Marta uses her writing skills to help small businesses and solopreneurs share their purpose with authenticity. She is passionate about education, self-improvement, work-life balance, and wellness, all aspects of a holistic approach to success in life. When she isn’t writing, Marta enjoys traveling the world to experience new cultures. Learn more at www.mkcopywriting.com or reach out directly to Marta at marta@mkcopywriting.com.

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