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11 Innovative team-building games for improved collaboration and efficiency
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11 Innovative team-building games for improved collaboration and efficiency

Discover creative team-building ideas that engage your employees, boost collaboration and improve efficiency. Then learn how best to implement them.

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Sometimes you need to do things differently to really make a change. Take Steve Jobs: His unconventional approach totally revolutionized the tech industry. Before Apple was founded in 1976, the industry focused almost entirely on technical specifications when designing computers.

But Steve Jobs and Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, prioritized aesthetics, user experience, and simplicity. Their approach led to groundbreaking products that would completely change the way people communicate. 

If it hadn’t been for the two Steves shaking things up, the general public might not have adopted at-home computers until decades later. Similarly, when you’re trying to improve efficiency and collaboration in your team, relying solely on conventional training methods may not be enough. 

That’s because it’s human nature to stick to our most familiar routines and workflows—which makes it challenging for people to adapt to new ways of working and communicating. Luckily, you can take a less conventional approach to your team’s development using games.

By infusing an element of fun, team-building games help you cultivate a collaborative and dynamic work culture and a pathway to essential skills like trust, communication, and problem-solving.

In this article, we look at a list of team-building games, exploring how they work and which skills they build. We also look at how you can integrate these into your company culture for the best results. 

Want to have fun while building team efficiency? 
Switchboard's persistent rooms make everything from project meetings to team huddles multiplayer.
Learn more

Comparison table 

Team building games comparison chart

How team-building games boost efficiency 

Traditional training methods like webinars have their place, but they risk becoming one-sided and monotonous. Team-building games bring an element of fun to the learning process and encourage active participation—which is one of the most effective ways to improve learning retention, according to research.

Maximizing people’s chances of retaining information means they can put their new skills into practice in their daily work. So, gamifying learning and taking short breaks will improve your team’s ability to learn and become more skilled.

Team-building games also increase camaraderie, trust, and communication, because everyone has to collaborate to solve challenges and achieve their common goals. Communication is key to reducing duplicated work and eliminating unnecessary “work about work,” making your team more efficient in the long run.

11 fresh virtual team-building activities that help improve efficiency

Not only do games generally improve your team’s ability to learn new skills and collaborate with each other, but there are even specific team-building activities you can use to increase efficiency.

Here are 11 activities to try in virtual meetings and workshops—as well as in-person training sessions.

Quick team-building games for meetings 

The team-building games you hold in meetings should enhance collaboration and problem-solving skills without derailing the main agenda. Here are four quick activities to try in your next team meeting.


Virtual bingo is a great way to promote friendly competition and create a fun atmosphere at the start of your team meeting. Since it’s a game most people know already, you won’t lose any time explaining how to play. But, to make sure you’re using the time efficiently, you could even tailor your bingo card to include tasks relating to your current project.

For example, sales teams could allocate 10 minutes at the start of their weekly meeting for bingo. Each week, team members complete different tasks on their bingo card, like “summarize a recent successful customer outcome for a case study” or “note down one strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) related to your current project.” The first person to complete every task gets a reward.

Number of players:

At least two people are needed to play Bingo. 

How to play:

Bingo is easy to set up because all you really need is a virtual bingo card—you could use a digital whiteboard or even just a spreadsheet!—and a timer.

Your game can be as work-focused or silly as you like. For a more lighthearted game, personalize it to your team by including specific actions or scenarios like “Suni is wearing a bright color” or “Alex’s cat makes a cameo appearance during the call.” To make the game fun and encourage camaraderie, always be respectful and avoid poking fun at your colleagues.

You can also create your bingo card with your team’s fun facts and call out employees’ names instead of numbers. Players will need to match the name with the right option on their cards. For example, if the bingo card says “plays the guitar” players will need to check that row when you say “Andres”. 

If you need inspiration, download a template like our video conferencing bingo card below.

Switchboard Bingo
Bingo is an easy way to connect remote teams.

Skills it develops: 

  • Observation: Successful bingo players quickly recognize and identify patterns on their cards, such as horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines, which enhances their pattern recognition skills. 
  • Focus: Bingo demands continuous attention and concentration as players must stay engaged throughout the game to avoid missing any action.
  • Communication: Players must actively pay attention to the meeting and look out for the situations in their cards and process them accurately. This improves their auditory processing and listening skills.
  • Camaraderie:  Engaging in friendly competition or collaborating to help each other complete their bingo cards can promote a positive team spirit and strengthen relationships.

Role-playing and adventure games

Role-play adventure games like Dungeons & Dragons are having a comeback—and can be a fun way to encourage team building and collaboration. These games require players to think on their feet and work together to find solutions to all kinds of problems and puzzles. 

Traditionally, an adventure campaign takes hours to play. But shorter “one-shot” versions are ideal for team building because you can play in bursts of 20 minutes and finish a game in 6 weeks. 

Number of players: 

Ideally, a group of 3 to 6 players is recommended.

How to play: 

Before you play, each player creates a unique character with distinct abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. The Dungeon Master sets the scene and narrative, describing the world, quests, and challenges that the characters will face. Players then use their creativity and decision-making skills to navigate through the adventure.

You can look at online resources to create scenarios and incorporate puzzles. And all you need for the game itself is a dice.

Skills it develops: 

  • Collaboration: These games often require players to work together as a team to overcome challenges and achieve objectives. Players learn to leverage each other's strengths, delegate tasks, and support one another.
  • Communication: Players communicate within the game to share information, discuss strategies, and coordinate actions. Clear and concise communication is crucial for understanding goals and making strategic decisions.
  • Problem-solving: Role-playing and adventure games present players with intricate puzzles, mysteries, and obstacles that require creative problem-solving. Players learn to analyze situations, break down problems, and devise innovative solutions.
  • Decision-making: Players learn to weigh options, consider potential consequences, and make informed choices under pressure.
  • Creative thinking: In role-playing games, players often create unique characters with distinct personalities, backgrounds, and abilities. This encourages creative thinking and imagination.

Virtual office board games

Games like Code Names and Jeopardy promote team bonding by providing a space for your team to switch off from work and enjoy some friendly competition. And with a virtual environment like Switchboard, where you can collaborate on the same screen, it’s easy to bring everyone together for quick impromptu sessions at the start of a meeting.  

For example, you can open the Code Names browser-based app on your Switchboard room and get everyone to interact and play the game without switching tabs. This makes the game more enjoyable because teammates get to see each other’s faces as they play. 

Number of players:

Most games require between 4 and 10 players.

How to play:

Send instructions to your employees to access the relevant online platform on their devices, or add them to your Switchboard room. In games like Code Names, players cooperate to decipher clues and guess the right words while in Jeopardy, teams compete in a trivia-style format, answering questions across different categories.

Skills it develops:

  • Collaboration: These games often require players to work together to achieve a common objective. Players learn to communicate, coordinate, and pool their efforts to succeed as a team.
  • Strategy: Players develop skills in analyzing the current situation, predicting future developments, and planning accordingly.
  • Problem-solving: Players think on their feet, adjust their strategies, and solve problems in real time.
  • Time management: Players learn to make decisions within a limited timeframe and prioritize actions based on their importance.
  • Trust: Trust is built through open and honest communication. Players learn to share information, express concerns, and provide feedback to create a trusting environment.

Office trivia 

Running an office trivia session is a quick way to engage your team and get them thinking. You don’t need bags of creativity here either—because you can limit yourself to three questions per week and do a roundup of scores at the end of the quarter.

You can also play trivia asynchronously by launching polls or surveys in your team chat. For example, create a form using an online free tool and ask people to add their names and submit their answers. Shout out the winner in the next meeting.  

Number of players:

Ideal for teams of all sizes.

How to play:

Office trivia games are typically run virtually over video conferencing platforms or a digital workspace like Switchboard. You’ll ask a series of questions and team members will respond from their devices—use the chat or an external tool like Kahoot! to collect responses. Be sure to reveal the answers and keep track of scores as you go along!

To keep your trivia game relevant, you could include questions about the team’s KPIs or company history. Alternatively, ask about industry trends and recent training to help encourage continuous learning.

Skills it develops:

  • Knowledge sharing: Players contribute facts, insights, and answers, creating opportunities for cross-functional learning.
  • Collaboration: Office trivia is often played in teams, requiring participants to collaborate and combine their knowledge to answer questions collectively. Players learn to leverage each other's strengths and work together toward a common goal.
  • Attention to detail: Players learn to analyze information critically and distinguish between similar-sounding options, honing their ability to spot subtle differences.
  • Knowledge retention: Players engage in active recall as they retrieve information from memory to answer trivia questions. This cognitive process enhances long-term retention.

Team-building games for workshops and ideation sessions

The games you play in workshops can afford to be a little longer and therefore, more immersive and interactive. By incorporating these three activities, your workshops will become more dynamic and enjoyable. 

Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats technique, introduced by Edward de Bono, involves using six metaphorical "thinking hats" of different colors to guide group discussions and decision-making. Each hat represents a specific perspective and participants metaphorically "wear" each hat, taking turns to think from that specific perspective. 

Using Six Thinking Hats in workshops facilitates a comprehensive and structured approach to discussions, enabling teams to explore diverse perspectives, make informed decisions, and solve problems more creatively. You can be intentional about assigning hats, for example, you could give the creativity hat to the more process-driven leader to invite them to think from a different point of view.

Number of players:

Ideal for 3 or more players

How to play:

The six thinking hats include: 

  1. White hat: Stay objective and neutral. Focus on facts and data to analyze known facts and identify knowledge gaps.
  2. Blue hat: Guide the thinking process. Set the agenda, facilitate each hat to fulfill its role, and summarize the outcomes of the discussion.
  3. Red hat: Be guided by intuition and emotions. Note any hunches or gut feelings and don’t worry about justification.
  4. Green hat: Consider the alternatives and be creative. Try thinking outside the box to consider new ideas and opportunities.
  5. Black hat: Be cautious. Use critical thinking to analyze potential risks and challenges.
  6. Yellow hat: Embrace optimism. Consider the best possible outcomes of an idea while noting its strengths and potential value.

You can either give everyone an opportunity to wear each hat by dividing the workshop itself into corresponding segments, e.g. for the first 10 minutes everyone wears the red hat, followed by 10 minutes for the white hat, and so on.

Alternatively, you can give each team member one or more hats to “wear” throughout the session to get everyone thinking at the same time. Use a digital whiteboard to record ideas and observations as you go.

Skills it develops

  • Critical thinking: Each thinking hat represents a specific aspect of thinking (i.e. logical, emotional, creative), guiding participants to systematically analyze a situation.
  • Empathy: The yellow hat (positive) encourages participants to consider the positive aspects and benefits. This hat promotes empathy by helping individuals understand the potential positive impacts of a decision on various stakeholders.
  • Problem-solving: The green hat (creative) focuses on generating creative solutions and alternative ideas. Participants engage in brainstorming and lateral thinking, fostering innovative problem-solving approaches.
  • Collaboration: The white hat (factual) involves objective and factual thinking. By sharing information and data, participants contribute to informed discussions, promoting collaborative decision-making based on shared understanding.
  • Creativity: The red hat (emotional) encourages participants to express their feelings, intuitions, and gut reactions. This emotional perspective can lead to unconventional ideas and creative insights.

Skills workshops and team quizzes

Encourage team members to run their own mini-workshops to develop their presentation skills and facilitate knowledge sharing. Ask them to include mini-quizzes and games to keep each other engaged and connected. You can also bring in external professionals once a month to run team-building events. 

This gives you the opportunity to discover someone’s skills or reward them for what they know. For example, Zara from the marketing team is great at automating spreadsheets. You’ve seen people manually doing simple, automatable tasks like color coding cells. Ask Zara to give a 15-minute workshop on how to do it. These presentations can also happen async as the host can record themselves explaining the topic.

Number of players:

Suitable for any group size. 

How to play:

Team members take turns hosting skills workshops. These can be based on professional skills, such as verbal communication, or hobbies – for example, a craft class. Create a template structure to make it easier for individuals to run the sessions and for the rest of the group to participate. 

Provide them with a quizzing app like Kahoot! to rate people’s understanding at the end of the presentation. Depending on the meeting time, you can host 1-3 presentations in a day.

Skills it develops

  • Communication: In team quizzes, participants discuss and share answers, leading to improved communication within the team. They learn to articulate their thoughts and ideas concisely.
  • Leadership: Workshops can provide opportunities for participants to take on leadership roles, such as facilitating group activities or guiding discussions.
  • Knowledge sharing: Skills workshops involve sharing expertise, best practices, and insights. Participants contribute their knowledge, and the interactive nature of workshops facilitates peer-to-peer learning.
  • Creativity: Team quizzes can incorporate creative questions that require out-of-the-box thinking. This challenges participants to think creatively and consider unique perspectives.
  • Active listening: Active listening is essential during team quizzes to hear teammates' answers, discuss potential responses, and ensure accurate answers are provided.

Virtual volunteering

Volunteering to participate in virtual beach cleans or bake sales builds community and motivates team members to collaborate—and even compete!—with one another. And you don’t always have to gather your team physically in the same place to give back to the community. 

For example, you can send everyone branded T-shirts and ask them to take pictures doing volunteer work for one of the approved causes. You can also meet once a month or quarter to share highlights and even give bonuses or prizes to team members who achieve certain goals. 

Number of players:

Suitable for any group size.

How to play:

Encourage employees to participate in virtual volunteering activities of their choice. Even if the activity itself requires physical participation, like a sponsored run, employees can log their volunteer hours, milestones, and experiences using a shared online space like a Slack channel. Or if you use an online collaborative workspace like Switchboard, you could set up a persistent room where everyone can check each other’s progress and meet to share highlights once a quarter.

Remember to recognize and celebrate each other’s efforts through regular updates, leaderboards, or virtual awards ceremonies to promote feelings of accomplishment and team camaraderie.

You can also start meetings by reviewing the volunteering scorecard or by sharing a slideshow of pictures of employees doing community work. This shouldn’t be mandatory and people can choose to sit out of the activity without any implications. 

Skills it develops: 

  • Collaboration: Participants learn to work together effectively despite geographical boundaries and time zones.
  • Problem-solving: Volunteers learn to identify and address issues that arise during remote collaboration, such as communication gaps or technical difficulties. 
  • Empathy: Virtual volunteering often involves supporting causes that benefit underserved communities or addressing specific needs. Volunteers practice empathetic listening and understanding to effectively address those needs.

In-person team-building games

You can also build trust in the workplace by running in-person team building games. Here are three great examples that won’t take long to run.  

Egg drop

This game is a great team-building activity that challenges participants to protect a raw egg from cracking when dropped from a height. It’s a fun way to encourage healthy competition with guaranteed laughs. 

This game also allows people to think of a problem (dropping an egg without cracking it) from different perspectives. Encourage cross-functional teams to work together on the solution.

Number of players:

Well-suited for small groups. Try limiting the number of egg drops from five to seven.

How to play:

Divide the participants into teams and provide each team with materials such as straws, tape, rubber bands, and newspapers. Within a time limit, teams must use these materials to design and construct a protective device or container for the raw egg. 

After constructing their devices, each team should take turns dropping their egg containers, and the first team with the egg that remains intact wins. You can also offer an incentive for the best team to increase competition. 

Skills it develops: 

  • Collaboration: Participants discuss and share their thoughts, strategies, and concerns to create a successful design. Clear and open communication is crucial for coordinating efforts.
  • Problem-solving: The game presents a real-world engineering problem—designing a device to protect an egg from impact. Teams analyze the challenge, identify potential risks, and devise solutions to address them.
  • Creativity: Teams think creatively to come up with unique and innovative designs for their protective structures. 

Human knot 

Being energizing and active, the human knot works well to break up long meetings or as an icebreaker activity (we explore how this could look in the next section). 

Be mindful of your team’s abilities and avoid playing this sort of physical game if there are people with any kind of mobility limitations or disabilities. You might want to try other activities rather than asking them to “sit this one out”. 

Number of players:

Ideal for medium to large groups.

How to play:

In the Human Knot, a group of people form a circle and reach across to hold the hands of those standing opposite them. The task is to untangle the human knot without releasing anyone's hand, aiming to create a complete circle with linked hands intact.

You can break the team into smaller groups and reward the team who untangles the knot faster. Play this for around 30 minutes.

Skills it develops: 

  • Collaboration: Participants work closely together and rely on each other's movements to untangle the human knot. 
  • Active listening: To untangle the knot, participants actively listen to each other's instructions and respond accordingly.
  • Problem-solving: Participants analyze the arrangement of hands and bodies to determine the most effective sequence of movements for untangling the knot. Problem-solving skills come into play as they figure out how to maneuver without letting go.
  • Trust-building: The game often develops physical trust as participants hold hands and allow others to guide their movements as they maneuver through the knot

Perfect square

The Perfect Square is a challenging and memorable activity that’s great for building interdependence within a team. It also encourages teamwork and communication as people will need to complete a task together while being blindfolded. 

This game invites your team to create a perfect square using a rope but you could potentially use the idea to ask your team to form any other shape while being blindfolded. 

Number of players:

Suitable for medium to large groups. 

How to play:

Blindfold all participants and provide each team with a length of rope. Without the ability to see, team members must communicate and collaborate to arrange the rope on the ground to create a perfect square. 

Make sure you have all the materials needed to perform the game. If you’re short on budget, you can ask each team member to bring a scarf or a sweater that you can use for the blindfold.

Skills it develops

  • Team building: Success relies on the contributions of each team member. Participants learn to value each other's strengths and recognize the importance of cooperation.
  • Problem-solving: Participants analyze the shapes, spatial relationships, and angles to find the best configuration. This encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Trust building: Participants rely on each other's contributions to complete the task successfully. This builds trust as individuals support and encourage each other throughout the process.

How to make team-building exercises part of your company culture 

To maintain employee engagement and ensure that the skills learned in team-building games become habits, you need to integrate them into part of your regular workflows. Here are three easy ways to do so. 

1. Use meeting icebreaker games 

You don't have to play a full game every time—spend 10 minutes on an icebreaker in your team meetings to encourage team collaboration and create a positive atmosphere. These short and fun sessions can set a positive tone for the meeting and boost team collaboration. 

2. Hold regular team-building activities  

Incorporate team-building activities regularly, whether during team off-sites, workshops, or as part of quarterly events. Making these activities a part of the routine reinforces their importance and allows team members to continuously develop their skills and working relationships and make at least a few of them mandatory to ensure involvement. 

3. Create opportunities for spontaneous interactions 

To make team-building exercises an integral part of your company culture, create opportunities for spontaneous game interactions among team members. You can do this by setting up persistent virtual game rooms inside Switchboard. These stay open at all times to allow your team to jump in and connect.  

Create stronger processes with team-building games

Steve Jobs often advocated for breaking routines and exploring new avenues. As a result, he built one of the most revered tech companies in the world. But you don’t need to be a visionary to positively impact your organization’s performance.

Even simple team-building games break up the monotony of day-to-day work and encourage employees to collaborate in new ways. 

By incorporating them into your weekly meetings and monthly workshops, you’ll disrupt any stale team dynamics and break participants out of their habitual ways of interacting. It’s a fun way to discover breakthrough insights, improve problem-solving, and strengthen team dynamics.

To implement your team-building games effectively, however, you need a platform that can bring everyone together – no matter where and when they are working. 

Switchboard has an interactive collaborative environment and persistent rooms where your team can have multiplayer experiences. This allows you to create a constantly connected, engaged team that learns to work increasingly efficiently together.   

Want to have fun while building team efficiency? 
Switchboard's persistent rooms make everything from project meetings to team huddles multiplayer.
Learn more

Frequently asked questions about efficiency team-building games

What are some of the benefits of team building?

Team building benefits the whole team by improving communication skills, collaboration, trust, and working relationships. It enhances problem-solving skills, boosts morale, and increases productivity, leading to a cohesive and high-performing team. Team games also help get members of the group out of their comfort zone, and build a positive culture and work environment. 

What are team-building games?

Team-building games are interactive activities designed to encourage communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and team cohesion among participants. Fun team-building activities are often used in workshops, training sessions, or corporate events to enhance teamwork and build a positive and productive team culture.

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Want to have fun while building team efficiency?

Switchboard's persistent rooms make everything from project meetings to team huddles multiplayer.