Learning & Development

11 Office Games to Connect Your Team

Your employees know they’ve made the right move in accepting a job with your company when they begin to see their colleagues as friends and look forward to work each day. But developing tightknit teams requires you to utilize innovative planning and transparency in earning and maintaining your staff’s trust. The trick? Making a plan for your team to play together.

This doesn’t mean you should march your team off to the playground for a round of dodgeball. Although the office games you create for your employees should give them a similar rush, they need to provide a deeper level of satisfaction.

Utilizing Team Games to Improve Engagement

Every white-collar worker knows that office games can be awkward and time-wasting—the opposite of their intention. According to the Gallup State of the American Workplace Report for 2022, only one-third of American workers report being actively engaged. Not only does a lack of engagement affect production, but it can also harm your employees’ overall wellbeing.

According to Gallup:

• Only 3 in 10 workers strongly agree they’ve received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last 7 days.
• Only 4 in 10 strongly agree their supervisor or someone at work cares about them.
• Only 3 in 10 strongly agree someone at work encourages them regularly.
• Only 3 in 10 strongly agree they feel like their opinion at work counts.
• Only 2 in 10 strongly agree they feel they have a best friend at work.

These statements all have things in common: Most workers report feeling a lack of validation, that they go unheard, or that they simply don’t matter at work. The way to change this may very well begin with games.

Strengthen Your Workplace with These Office Games

Well-chosen team games make everyone on the team feel heard, seen, and valued. What leader doesn’t want his or her employees to build better relationships and become more trusting? Check out these 11 activity options to help you foster team closeness:

1. Karaoke. You might not know that a team member sang in a school choir, performed solos at church, or can do a spot-on Johnny Cash imitation. Give everyone a chance to impress by handing over the microphone.

2. Two truths and a lie. This old game remains popular for a reason. Everyone appreciates a chance to talk about themselves. Playing this game gives your staff the opportunity to learn about each other.

3. Battle of the air bands. This one requires some planning, but the results make it worthwhile. Make this contest a big deal by offering prizes to the band with the best costumes; the best hair; and, of course, the best performance.

4. Spelling bee. Ah, to be in sixth grade again. Encourage participation by offering prizes, and make it a whole office affair by providing snacks for everyone, including the audience.

5. Escape room. Clearly, this activity must take place away from the office, so try shutting things down for an afternoon. Nonwork activities can really prompt good relationship-building.

6. Video game tournament. Award custom trophies to the best gamers (or the randomly lucky winners).

7. Bake-off. You may have too many volunteer judges, but with this fun activity, everyone wins.

8. Something nice. Have your staff write their names on a piece of paper, then send all the papers around the office. Everyone must anonymously write something nice about the person whose name he or she received. The owners get their list back at the end of the week.

9. Niche clubs. Start clubs for people with similar interests, and find free coupons or passes to give the members.

10. Holiday costume contest. Does someone have the ugliest Christmas sweater? Do some team members make their own Halloween costumes? Reward creativity with prizes.

11. Chili cook-off. Everyone loves a warm bowl of chili. For prizes, give team members certificates to cooking or home stores.

Your employees need to feel appreciated. When you go to the trouble of planning office games and activities for them, they feel significant. Not only that, but the more time employees spend together away from their desks, the more they share about themselves. Disclosure builds rapport and trust, which positively affects the office culture. What may start out as a game will end with employees who are loyal to you and each other.

Mike Szczesny is the owner and vice president of EDCO Awards & Specialties, a dedicated supplier of employee recognition products, branded merchandise, and athletic awards. Szczesny takes pride in EDCO’s ability to help companies go the extra mile in expressing gratitude and appreciation to their employees.