Free team building exercises for staff

Written by aaron kopf
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Free team building exercises for staff
Try these free team building activities with your staff. (teamwork image by Stephen VanHorn from

Team building exercises can work wonders for your staff. These cooperative activities foster conversation, teamwork and connection between participants. They also serve to break the monotony of daily work and add some variety to the mix. While some team building exercises require props, the following exercises are free to try.

Human Knot

Split your staff into two teams and have each team stand in a circle. Instruct the circles to squeeze together shoulder-to-shoulder. Have everyone extend their hands toward the centre of the circle and grab two random hands. Each circle is now a human knot.

Explain the rules: both teams will race to "untie" themselves, but are not allowed to unclasp hands. A team is finished when everyone is standing in a circle again holding hands. Team members might need to step over each other or turn themselves around to achieve the objective. On occasion, it will be impossible for a team to untie itself without unclasping hands at least once. If this is the case, allow each team one opportunity to unclasp with the stipulation that both sets of hands must be reunited after being repositioned.

This game encourages communication, close proximity to others and results in plenty of laughs. Mix up teams and repeat the activity to increase the duration.

Amoeba Race

This is another game that elicits laughter and connection. Select one staff member to be the nucleus of the amoeba and several others to be the protoplasm. The nucleus is carried on the shoulders of two of the protoplasm, while two others "spot" him to prevent an injury in the event of a fall. Finally, arrange the remaining staff members in a linked circle around the protoplasm and nucleus, thereby acting as a cell wall.

Instruct the cell wall and protoplasm to close their eyes (with the exception of the spotters). The nucleus will order the group to move through some sort of obstacle course, which might be an outdoor park, a room with a high ceiling or a gymnasium. Designate benches, poles, cubicles or copy machines as the obstacles.

Time the group to see how quickly they make their way through the obstacle course. Allow them to try again to improve their time. Alternatively, split the group into two amoebas and have both teams race through the course. Ensure that safety is the most important goal rather than winning.

Two Truths and a Lie

Seat your staff in a large circle. Instruct each member to think of two interesting truths about themselves, as well as one outrageous, yet believable, lie. Truths might include confessions of colorblindness, outlandish childhood stories or embarrassing moments from the past. Lies might include a strange number of toes, a hidden talent that doesn't really exist or fictional celebrity encounters.

Have each staff member recite both truths and the lie in no particular order to the group. The rest of the group will try to guess which statements are true and which is a fib. This game usually opens the door for some interesting stories and self-disclosure, making for a closer team. Continue around the circle until each staff member has taken a turn.

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