Holding a team together - making it efficient and productive - is the bond they share. As the old cliché says; there’s no ‘I’ in team. Team bonding is the way to glue the team together. Inherently, they will then have each other’s back, work seamlessly together, and be high-performing and successful.
That glue doesn’t come from nowhere, and it wears away if not reapplied. Team bonding activities supply the glue.
Team bonding games and activities allow each team player to get to know one another more. This authentic relationship building transmits into improved morale and greater productivity, innovation and problem-solving in the workplace.
These activities allow teams to understand each other – their strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, and that’s powerful stuff. The bond that forms lies behind that illusive team spirit you know is the magical ingredient of the very best teams.
Whilst team building is largely the process of creating and strengthening the team, team bonding is about the long-term deep stuff. It’s about paving the way to greater trust, easier communication and exceptional loyalty.
So, what are the best team bonding ideas for work?
Top 20 team bonding activities
There are many different facets to team bonding. There’s having fun, providing a challenge, problem-solving together, spending time outside of the work environment and more. Rarely do you get everything in one activity.
With a CluedUpp detective day, you get every element of team bonding rolled into one experience. The team comes together to solve puzzles and challenges in a practical and fun way, navigating their way across your chosen territory. They’ll need to uncover each other’s strengths, and mitigate each other’s weaknesses, as they pull together to solve the case.
The result: a well bonded team that feels empowered.
Team away day
Away days can be shaped around the interests and needs of the team. It could be all attending a conference and staying in the same hotel overnight, chilling out at a retreat, or getting the adrenaline pumping on a multi-activity day.
The point is that you’re getting the team out of their usual working environment to let them bond away from the constraints of the daily grind. This has the benefit of getting that bonding glue into all the nooks and crannies that aren’t usually reached.
The team is exposed in different ways, and has opportunities that it doesn’t normally have, and the result is a tighter knit.
If you want to do something to enhance team bonding then the team needs to be put in an environment where they have to trust each other. Tank driving does that beautifully.
Different people take different roles in the tank to ensure it safely navigates the course. It’s not one person’s eyes, ears and hands, but rather a combination that leads to success. Steering when you’re relying on your team mate as the human periscope is definitely a Grade A trust exercise.
No one can argue that Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) didn’t bond over the potter’s wheel in Ghost. You don’t need to croon along to Unchained Melody, or rely on the psychic powers of Whoopi Goldberg, but we do reckon that a pottery class together is an ideal team bonding experience.
Unless you have an experienced potter in your midst, then you’ll all be learning and mastering something new. That can feel vulnerable, but is also very powerful when it comes to bonding. Be newbies together.
Raft building is undoubtedly one of the best team bonding games. Yes, there are all the elements that it’s trying to teach: communication, collaboration and combined effort.
But where it really comes up trumps is in providing the team with much hilarity verging on fear as you attempt to navigate your barely-held-together-craft across the water. That mixture of exhilaration, nerves and fun bonds a team better than Bostik.
Ok, so they call alcohol a social lubricant, which is the antithesis of glue, but when managed with care, a little of the disinhibiting power of alcohol can serve to bond your team.
Of course, it depends on the unique nature of your team, but as long as you are all drinkers, then a wine tasting experience offers just enough to lower the barriers. If not, you can always spit, and frankly, once you’ve spat in front of your colleagues, we can call you bonded.
Wine tasting, beer tasting, or any drinking related team bonding activity is best handled carefully and with teams that already know each other well. You don’t want inhibitions lowered so much that insults are flung, or boundaries are overstepped.
The wind in your face, the spray on your back, and the course of adrenaline surging through you is sure to be a memorable experience. Loads of places offer rib experiences, often on famous rivers in city centres.
Simply enjoying a different and unusual experience like this, with your team, gives you shared memories, moments of pleasure, and a chance to bond over something more than the quarterly report.
We can learn a thing or two from production crews when it comes to team bonding. The dramatics experts have figured out that if you put a bunch of people together, slightly extend their comfort zone, level the playing field, and lower the barriers of judgment, you actually end up with something better than a script.
It’s true of work teams too. Put them in an improv class, where there’s definitely no scoring on acting abilities, and all of a sudden you have a team that trusts each other more, understands each other better, and improves their communication.
It’s a Knockout
They clearly knew what they were doing when it came to awesome TV entertainment in the Sixties, because It’s a Knockout still reigns at group events across the world today.
Competing in weirdly random tasks in some imagined absurd adult sports day, there’s no escaping that the teams bond. They have to. It’s that or succumb to the fact you really have chosen to compete in tasks which are designed primarily with the humour-factor of the spectator in mind!
But somehow, no matter how ridiculous the events, you all want to win. And there you have it: kindred competitiveness is another magical ingredient in team bonding.
As an employer, it’s really important that you show your employees that they matter. A really valuable way to do this is to offer self-defence classes; enabling individuals to learn the skills needed to keep themselves safe, particularly if they commute via public transport.
Offering self-defence classes to teams also has the benefit of helping with team bonding. Almost inevitably, different team members will share some of their vulnerabilities, and learning self-protection skills together will work on the concept of uniting against a common enemy, even if that enemy doesn’t have a fixed form.
Clay pigeon shooting
Clay pigeon shooting and other country pursuits offer valuable experiences for team bonding, especially it would seem for normally-city-based teams. This is because you’re given the chance to get out in nature, doing something completely different from your work-life.
Clay pigeon-shooting is challenging but fun. Teams will bond as they follow instructions together and trek to their shooting spot. Afterwards, they will enjoy talking about their wins, and comparing who has been most successful.
Ever wish you could run off and join the circus? Perhaps your Greatest Showman ambitions centred on the idea of a bunch of misfits all bonding over flame-throwing and terrifying tigers.
Putting the illusion to one side, a day of learning circus skills together is actually brilliant for bonding. You’ll all be trying out something new and facing challenges together. Importantly, many of the skills rely on the relationship between the ‘artistes’ and this gives an opportunity for relationships to be strengthened and extended.
Sometimes the best team bonding ideas simply centre on having a jolly good time together. Check out local beaches or parks that allow barbecues, and head out armed with food for a cookout.
Let the good times roll and allow team bonding to simply happen, naturally. Making sure there are plenty of social events like these in the calendar will ensure that there is always flourishing fertile ground for excellent ream relationships.
If you’ve not let your team loose with some mini hovercrafts yet you’re as mean as Santa filling stockings with coal. Seriously. This is a type of fun that is impossible to emulate in any other way and frankly, your team deserve to float their boat across the grass.
Events like this allow bonding as team members discover the thrill of some speed, some shared experiences and a darn good time.
Was Fred already rescuing Princess Peach when you were still in nappies? Or is shy and quiet Shania an air hockey beast? There’s something remarkably powerful about allowing adults to be kids again in an arcade.
As pairs dive together into VR chairs, boss and subordinate race it out on motorbikes, and Harry proves himself to be a hoop shooting wonder, the arcade takes your cash but gives you back double in team spirit. For an easy win when it comes to team bonding, head to the arcade.
Whether you head out on a boat for a sea fishing experience, or you organise an experience on your local river, taking the team fishing will serve as a bonding experience. It’s a chance for a sedate yet focused time, peacefully away from the office.
The pace of life slows, and you get a chance to simply be alongside each other. Indeed, fishing is how you discover the power of silence when it comes to forging connections. For teams in fast-paced high-pressured environments, sometimes dialling things right back can be incredibly potent.
Nothing says ‘I trust you’ like climbing a wall where you could become strawberry jam on the ground if it weren’t for your loyal rope buddy. If your team is able-bodied and up for a challenge, then going rock climbing together is a great team bonding experience.
There’s also the element of how amazing someone feels when they conquer something they are scared of. Being scared together is social glue. It’s why horror movies are best enjoyed with mates. Going rock climbing is an active bonding experience, but a good one if your team is up for it.
If you make your team fly together, we promise they will work well together. And that’s exactly what you can do if you book them in for a team indoor skydiving session. There’s no need for anyone to be (rightly) terrified of being chucked out of a plane at 14,000 feet as this is all about the illusion of flying in a mega powerful wind tunnel.
However, for the experience to happen you’ll all have to don glamourous boiler suits and face distorting goggles. It’s not a good look and you’re sure to feel it’s a case of bonding over shared embarrassment, if nothing else.
Concert or gig
Remember how, back in the murky depths of your teen years, your best friends were your music buddies? Nothing could beat the thrill of securing tickets to see a band, except the night itself when you bonded over the beat.
You can recreate that experience in the workplace, as long as you can find something that ticks everyone’s musical boxes. Given the price of gig tickets now, providing this as a team bonding perk will definitely make everyone happy.
If you want team bonding games galore, you need only head to a games café where there are literally shelves of them. Gather the team around the table, and pull out some of the best board games on the planet, and watch the miracle unfold.
Of course, competitive games are always fun, but games where you’re all working to beat the game can be particularly good for team bonding. You’ll need to communicate, strategize and think things through together.
Be tougher than a glue stick, be super glue, with team bonding activities that really make the team stick together.