t my previous job, we used to have a weekly All Hands all Wednesdays before lunch. They were mostly used for quick company-wide announcements, but every once in a while, along came a longer presentation that stretched into employees’ lunchtimes. What was initially seen as a useful timeslot to stay up to date on company matters slowly turned into a hassle people were unwilling to attend. Don’t get me wrong, All Hands presentations can be very effective events and we should never assume that people are no longer interested in what’s happening inside the company. But it should never feel like an imposition that takes over employees’ lunch times or break periods, which, for a while, was exactly what it felt like.
Until one day, we were caught off-guard by a game of office trivia that everyone could play on their phones by joining it on Kahoot. Even though they weren't intended as such, those few minutes of fun during the weekly All Hands turned into an impromptu team-building activity. People were happy to participate, competing for the title of most knowledgeable coworker and a free massage.
Kahoot quizzes don’t take up much time to set up and play, and are completely free of charge. They are a great option for a quick get together or for longer trivia evenings that are perfect as an after work hour activity.
Much like trivia games, there are many other activities that you can plan without having to pull out your wallet. Here is a round up of our favourites.
Movie nights are a great team building option that you can easily organize at the office. You just need to have enough room for people to be comfortably seated, a TV and an internet connection. You can even make it more engaging by having your team members submit their favourite movies and plan the activity based on their taste. Another fun option is to go on IMDb, pull out the Worst Rated Movies List, and hope for, well, the worst.
If your office has a setup that’s good for movie nights, chances are it will work just as well for playing video games. In this case, you’d need a game console, but that’s something an employee would probably be able to provide along with some games. It can be a casual gathering for people to bond while stealing cars or saving princesses, but you can also make it into a competition.
And while we’re talking games, board and card games are an equally fun and engaging option. Some might argue they’re better than video games because they allow for a bigger group of people to play at the same time. You can ask your team members to bring some board games from home, or even make a small investment in some to keep at the office for game nights or some unplanned lunch time fun. Some popular board games include Monopoly, Catan, or Dixit. As for cards, you can stick to classic games you can play with a normal deck or get an Uno or Cards Against Humanity deck. While the latter might not make for your usual card game, it’s guaranteed it will make everyone laugh.
Harry Potter is a subject that’s dear to my heart and I like to bring it into conversation as much as I can, like I did just now. Like me, there are most likely people in your company who are big book worms and get a kick out of updating their Goodreads profiles. Why not start a book club to please them? Everyone can take turns suggesting a book to read in their own time and then gather to discuss it. All books welcome except for Twilight, Twilight is banned for life.
If your team is more on the Sporty Spice side of things, why not take them for a run? It’s an activity that needs no planning besides setting up a time and sending a calendar invite. It’s also a great opportunity for people to hang out outside office doors. They say that couples who run together stay together, hopefully the same can be said about teams.
While you’re outside, you can treat your team to a picnic. There really isn’t anything else that brings people together like food. You can plan it all yourself or have each employee bring their specialty dish for everyone to try. It will also get them involved in the activity not only when it’s happening, but also while prepping for it. Don’t worry about the weather ruining your picnic plans, as this activity can easily be reorganized into a company potluck at the office.