Enhancing Workplace Culture Through Team-Building Activities

by | Apr 3, 2024

A positive workplace culture is crucial for fostering collaboration, innovation, and employee satisfaction. One effective way to improve workplace culture is through team-building activities. In today’s business environment, where remote and virtual teams have become the norm, incorporating both in-person and virtual team-building activities is essential. 

In this article, we will explore the impact of team-building activities on workplace culture, share some fun online and in-person games for you to set up for your teams, and address the question of how to improve overall wellbeing in the workplace.

The importance of culture and team building

A strong workplace culture is a cornerstone for organisational success, directly impacting productivity, employee retention, and overall job satisfaction. 

Central to such a culture is the team dynamics, which plays a pivotal role in shaping and reinforcing shared values, norms, and behaviours within the workforce. Incorporating activities that promote positive team dynamics requires us to create an environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and connected to their colleagues and the organisation as a whole.

By promoting a positive and collaborative atmosphere, team building initiatives facilitate the breakdown of communication barriers, allowing for more open and effective dialogue among team members, cultivating trust and mutual respect, which are essential components for building strong working relationships. Through shared experiences and challenges, team-building activities strengthen the bonds between colleagues, which boosts morale, motivation and engagement, and enhances their sense of belonging and fulfilment at work. 

Virtual team building activities

As the trend of remote work continues to rise, virtual team-building activities have become crucial for maintaining team cohesion. While the cons of working from home are few and far between, many remote workers miss out on the daily in-person interaction that we easily take for granted. So, here are some online games that can be enjoyed by employees working from different locations:

1. Online trivia challenges: organise virtual trivia nights to encourage friendly competition and boost team knowledge.

At Dharma, our team is based all around the world. With some of us in the UK and others in France, Spain, Thailand, Albania, Mexico and Argentina – we cover a lot of ground and so have to make the most out of online team-building games and activities.

Below, you can find a screenshot of us during our Christmas quiz. Although not everyone was able to participate, it was a laugh for those of us that could make it (even if the quiz was impossibly hard!)

This particular shot was taken during the creative round, where we had to draw the scene the quizmaster was describing but with a catch: we had to draw with the paper resting on our heads. This meant that we could neither see, nor easily understand the orientation of our illustrations. 

It was a really silly quiz, but sometimes things need to take a silly turn for people to loosen up, which is exactly what you want when you’re trying to break down barriers within your team. 

Silliness might seem like the total contradiction to professionalism, which is often associated with having a serious and business-like attitude, but usually, if you really want to get your team to open up you have to create an opportunity or an environment where they don’t have to take themselves so seriously and they can just have a bit of fun. 

Of course, you still need your employees to take their jobs seriously, but finding this balance between ‘work and play’ at the right time and place will lead to happier, healthier and more fulfilling team collaboration.

2. Escape room games: engage teams in virtual escape rooms where they must work together to solve puzzles and complete challenges.

3. Digital icebreakers: incorporate fun get-to-know-you games for work, such as two truths and a lie or virtual scavenger hunts, to help team members better understand each other.

In our weekly team meetings, we dedicate the start of the meeting to what we call our “sweets and sours”. This is essentially where each person gets two minutes to talk about the best of the week and the worst (in a personal and professional capacity). While this isn’t a game, it is a great opportunity for us to get a better understanding of what’s going on with the rest of our team, which is even more necessary as a fully remote workforce. In such a short amount of time, we are able to gauge how people are doing both at home and at work, and that influences how we interact with them.

Outdoor team-building activities

For teams working in a physical office space, outdoor activities can provide a refreshing break and contribute to a positive workplace culture. Consider the following outdoor fun get-to-know-you games for work:

1. Team-building retreats:

Plan a day or weekend retreat with activities such as trust falls, rope courses, and collaborative problem-solving.

2. Sports tournaments:

Organise friendly sports competitions like soccer, volleyball, or even a company-wide relay race.

3. Nature walks or hikes:

Encourage team members to connect with nature while building relationships through group hikes or nature walks.

Wellbeing activities in the workplace

Incorporating wellbeing activities into the workplace is essential for employee satisfaction and overall morale. Prioritising mental and physical health contributes to a positive and supportive environment. Consider the following strategies to improve wellbeing:

1. Mental health workshops:

Provide resources and workshops that focus on stress management, mindfulness, and resilience.

2. Flexible work schedules:

Allow employees flexibility in their work schedules to accommodate personal commitments and reduce stress.

3. Wellbeing challenges:

Introduce wellbeing challenges, such as step competitions or healthy eating initiatives, to promote a healthy lifestyle.

    Improving wellbeing through team building 

    In summary, a positive workplace culture is essential for organisational success, and team and culture building activities play a vital role in shaping that environment. Whether through virtual games that bridge the gap between remote teams or outdoor activities that promote camaraderie, investing in team building contributes to a more cohesive and satisfied workforce. 

    To further improve wellbeing in the workplace, organisations should prioritise mental health initiatives, offer flexible work schedules, and promote overall wellbeing through engaging challenges. By combining these efforts, businesses can create a workplace where employees not only collaborate effectively but also thrive personally and professionally.

    But it’s not all fun and games…

    Team building is an essential component of a healthy organisation, it’s not everything. To truly observe good workplace wellbeing practice, you need to ensure your organisation goes above and beyond its legal duty of care to protect employees from undue psychological ill health.

    As wellbeing consultants, we would be remiss not to emphasise the importance of having a mental health and safety management system. It’s all good and well running activities and games so that your team get to know each other better, but if you’re not taking reasonable steps to address the root cause of potential psychological harm (i.e. not effectively managing psychosocial hazards), then not only are you going to see little result from your team-building efforts, but you will also be leaving your business open to risk of prosecution should your employees succumb to significant and preventable work-related stress, anxiety and depression.  

    At Dharma, we offer three tiers of consultancy to set you on the path to improve employee engagement, retention and performance. To go beyond your legal duty of care, you need to aim for the national standards of workplace wellbeing, and to take it a step further and build an environment that nourishes workers, you need to be providing the right training for employees.  

    Make sure your business and employees are protected by strategic, systematic and comprehensive workplace wellbeing efforts, and take the initiative to become a top employer, because the actions you take can make a huge difference to the lives of the people you employ. 

    Stay informed to unlock the benefits of improved workplace wellbeing.