Finding the right team building activity for your team often involves triangulating a bunch of different needs. You have to weigh your budget–which limits what you can do–with your goals for your team, which can seemingly be infinite. Then there’s the actual options that you have available in your area, and whether or not they will benefit your team.
There’s another aspect that is important to team building as well, and that is how much your team will actually enjoy the event. In other posts we have talked about how team building can improve team effectiveness and help teams achieve their goals.
In order to do this, however, teams need to actually enjoy themselves. Why? The reason is partly psychological–when people have fun, they are more receptive to new information, and more open with other people. But it also has to do with the philosophy of team building–that teams should learn how to have fun together in order to really grow together.
Needless to say, finding an activity that everyone on the team can enjoy is not an easy task. Everyone has individual likes and dislikes, things that they just can’t stand and activities that they may be actively turned off by.
Finding the right balance among all these competing preferences is integral. So, in the following post we will give you a list of team building activities that Invite Japan offers, which are enjoyable across the board. These activities mix a lot of different skills, experiences and methods of having fun. That way, many different people can participate and get the most out of the experience.
These activities are also centered around breaking teams out of their routines. This is a strategy that can instantly raise the enjoyment level of any team building activity. Because of the sheer novelty of the event, team members will be engaged in trying to figure out what to do, and they won’t be able to fall back on their previous prejudices.
1. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt (Hidden Secrets Journey)
What is it?
An outdoor scavenger is a puzzle game that takes place outside in a specified area. Teams look for clues that are found on buildings, monuments, billboards, and in other public places. Oftentimes these clues are found in places that are not in the regular tourist spots. They then use these clues to solve the puzzles. Often the answers involve aspects of the culture and history of the area.
Why it’s fun
Outdoor scavenger hunts offer a great way for teams to have fun outside while exploring different places. They combine puzzle-solving and exercise, as well as let teams learn about the history, culture and “hidden secrets” of the areas they are playing in.
Getting teams out of the office and walking around is a great way to include novelty and newness into the team building process. Team members will naturally be more engaged and have more fun when they step outside into a new environment.
Furthermore, with an outdoor scavenger hunt there is a little something for everyone. Team members can immerse themselves in the puzzles and challenges, look at the scenery, direct their teams using the map, search the area for clues, and on and on. This makes it very hard for team members to get bored and disengage.
The exploration aspect of outdoor scavenger hunts is the best part though. Exploring a new area is really fun, and doing it with colleagues means you can share that experience with them and talk about it, which leads to a natural flow of conversation.
Because it takes place outside, outdoor scavenger hunts are perfect for larger groups. Instead of trying to find a place inside that can accomodate everyone, an outdoor scavenger can be used for multi-team or company-wide events.
2. Online Team Building
What is it?
Online Team Building takes classic team building activities and places them in a new technological interface. The challenges are conducted online, so remote workers can participate using Zoom or other video-messaging apps. Using clues found in an online photo album, teams complete puzzles as they would in a regular puzzle-based team building activity (like escape games). Except that everything is conducted online, of course. Teams also have access to an online white-board application,which they can use to write down notes, draw, and brainstorm together.
Why it’s fun
With many companies going remote or adopting a hybrid model (partly in the office, party work from home), it has been increasingly hard to promote team unity in a fun way online. Online team building is the antidote.
Online Team Building provides an enjoyable program that utilizes the technology that remote teams currently use and is mentally stimulating.
Teams that are working remotely or partly remotely will have the chance to interact, relax, and enjoy themselves during the program. Online Team Building is ultimately about giving teams a fun way to get to know each other and strengthen relationships, using the tools that remote teams are currently familiar with.
Because the program is all online and remote, a large variety of groups can participate. For example, teams that are located in separate parts of the country or even on different continents in multiple time zones can all participate in the same activity at the same time, something that could never have happened before.
Finally, the program is designed to be a puzzle adventure across Japan. So teams “travel” together to different locations, including Yokohama, Karuizawa, Sendai, and Asakusa. At each location, the puzzles are based on different monuments, buildings, and sites, so teams have the chance to learn about Japanese culture while they play. It’s a fun way to travel without actually leaving the house.
3. The Suitcase Mystery
What is it?
The Suitcase Mystery is Invite Japan’s dispatch puzzle game. It’s like an escape game in a box, which can be sent to your team no matter where they are–in the office, at a conference hall, or other event space (we’ve even had some teams play it outside before).
Each team of 4~5 players gets a mysterious suitcase, filled with different locks and puzzles. As a team, they have to work their way through the box an finish the final mission before one hour runs out.
Why it’s fun
Suitcase Mystery is a face-to-face puzzle game that gets people to work together. It’s challenges are all designed so that team members need to use teamwork and communication in order to succeed. The puzzles test different skills like observation, pattern recognition, and spatial reasoning, so that different team members will be attracted to the game and be able to shine,
Suitcase Mystery also allows teams to create an extraordinary team building space in their own office. This is useful if teams can’t travel very far or don’t have the time to hold an event in another location. It’s flexibility allows it to be played anywhere that fits the needs of the team.
This program is very popular for groups of new hires or teams with new members. It works as a great ice breaker, allowing teams to get to know each other fast and learn the unique skills that each member possesses. At the same, team members can relax and have fun, giving space to let their personalities shine through.
At the end of the Suitcase Mystery, team members feel refreshed mentally. This is one of our most popular events, and for good reason. It’s an immediate and tangible game that turns team building into something that flows easily and naturally. Suitcase Mystery can work perfectly as an event for hybrid teams that may not always work together in the same location, too.
What is it?
Improv workshops use improvisational acting as a basis for doing different team building activities. There is no “performance” though. Instead, the challenges are meant to inspire team members’ creativity and allow them to open up in front of their coworkers. This in turn builds a stronger sense of trust among team members.
Many of the activities in improv work on cultivating spontaneity and reacting to team members. For a perfect example, let’s look at the “Gift game”. Players in pairs take turns telling each other gifts that they are giving to each other, the more extravagant and detailed the better (e.g. a diamond necklace, the Statue of Liberty,etc.). The player “receiving” the gift has to react to it, either by saying “Thank you” and pretending to use it , or by “throwing it” away while saying “whoo!”.
The game works on multiple levels. Team members have to use their creativity to come up with different gifts to give. Team members also have to react to the gifts that they receive on the spot. Finally, there is an element of getting used to rejecting an idea by making it funny and entertaining.
Another game has two players taking turns telling each other a story. The person listening encourages the player telling the story by saying “And then what?” This game gets the players to really lean into their creativity and use it fully.
Why it’s fun
Improv workshops truly spur creativity and communication on teams. But they do so in a very subtle way, using entertaining and dramatic actions and reactions. You don’t even realize that you are really engaging all these team building skills because you are having so much fun with your teammates.
Improv workshops encourage openness and sharing as well. This is something that is hard to achieve on its own. Lots of teams want to build relationships and encourage more confidence in their team members. However, oftentimes team members can be shy or afraid of rejection or social marginalization.
So improv really helps to level the playing field and give team members motivation and confidence in themselves. It works on a team-wide level but also on the individual level as well, teaching team members to value themselves and the ideas they have, no matter what.
Improv is highly recommended for teams that want to break down barriers and boundaries that are holding them back. It’s also incredibly fun, and your team will be laughing together within the first few minutes.
Team building activities don’t have to be dull and boring. In fact, they really shouldn’t be. And as you can see from the above, there are many enjoyable team building activities out there that are fun for the whole team.
In the team building activities mentioned on this list, different skills are combined, so that no team member will be left behind with nothing to do. They also activate participants’ sense of novelty, originality, and mental stimulation. This allows team members to forget that they are learning, and to immerse themselves in the challenges and in having fun together as a team.
That’s why all of Invite Japan’s team building programs are designed so that team members have fun. We believe that team members who have fun together are also more open with each other, and will build a stronger and healthier team. Get in contact with us soon about all of our team building options, and let us help you find the program that is right for your team!