5 Quick Quarantine Team-Building Ideas
April 15, 2020
Team-building activities usually get a bad rap – and it’s often deserved. Just think of the teams subjected to doing trust falls or baring their souls in a drum circle.
But in this time of quarantine, most teams could use a little building. The stress of trying to get work done in a highly disruptive environment has taken its toll on many of us. And the truth is, team building is a highly effective way to build trust, mitigate conflict, and increase collaboration.
Many team-building activities last hours or even all day. In our current quarantine-based virtual work environment, a quick team-building activity might work best. Maybe you want to check in and see how everyone’s doing working from home, maybe you want to provide a safe space for your quarantined team to vent, or maybe you want to get people thinking creatively or diffuse tension. Whatever the reason, you can get a lot of team-building bang for literally no bucks with these quick activities. Here are a few ideas that we’ve used and gathered from others:
Ideas for Quick Team-Building Activities
- To help your team bond while acknowledging that everyone has good days and bad days, I recommend High, Low, Looking Forward. In this activity, gather your team, and one-by-one, team members list a “high” — a positive work experience that happened to them that week — a “low” — a negative work experience that happened to them that week — and a “looking forward” — a work experience to which they’re looking forward. It’s a great way to spread positive energy and dismiss negative energy.
- If you’ve got a virtual team, I recommend Guess the Owner. Have the team leader collect a picture from each team member that uniquely describes a part of their personality or interest. At the start of the team meeting, the leader will reveal them one at a time while members try to guess who it belongs to. You could also have people submit pictures of the same thing – shoes they wear, favorite coffee mug, pets, or workspace. It’s a nice way to learn more about team members that you don’t work with face to face.
- To reinforce clear communication, I like Buzzword Bingo. Choose a few words or phrases that are banned for the duration of the meeting. People get points when they say the banned words and low point earners win. This is particularly good if you’re trying to eliminate certain jargon, or you’ve changed the nomenclature of something, or you just hate vague, non-specific corporate-speak and want people to speak plainly. Here are a few that I like to incorporate:
- “at the end of the day”
- “out of the box”
- “best in class”
- “value add”
- If you have 15 minutes and want to work on communication, try Blind Drawing. Divide your group into pairs, giving one person pen and paper and the other a picture of an object. The person with the picture must then describe the picture without actually saying what it is, while the other person can’t see the picture. This is a good one for communication, problem-solving, and interpretation.
- Anyone can play trivia, but why not play Office/Company Trivia to kick off your next meeting? Collect fun, obscure trivia like, ‘What does the poster say in the cafeteria?’ and ‘How many Johns can you name in IT?’ and ‘What was the topic of the CEO’s last blog post?’ This is not about memorizing the mission statement. It’s meant just to be fun and it could be a great activity for a quarantined team who haven’t been together in months.
Other quick team-building activities include fun ongoing games like joke of the week, meme of the week, funny YouTube video of the week that you can post on your team’s website or intranet page. It’s a great way to bring your dispersed team together to have a laugh, relax and bond in this pandemic work environment.