5-Minute Team Building Exercises

From large corporations with hundreds of employees, to smaller companies with just a few, team building is becoming a popular method for boosting team morale and enhancing team performance. According to the University of Iowa, “Interest in team-building has grown from being looked upon as a 'nice-to-have' quality of a work group where employees get along with their coworkers, to an essential ingredient of highly productive organisations.” The objective of five-minute team-building exercises is for employees to synchronistically complete tasks efficiently in a short period of time.

The Human Knot

The objective of the human knot engages team members by testing their comfort with each other. This exercise also tests their willingness to complete a task that involves each team member's input and cooperation. This exercise is best done with groups of seven or more. In this exercise, team members stand in a circle with their eyes closed and walk forward. Each member’s arms are extended, and each grabs hands with the first person she comes to. After each team member has a hand, everyone opens their eyes. The team must untangle themselves from the “knot” without letting go of each other’s hands. Add an extra element of difficulty by having one team compete against another. The first team to untangle wins.

Higher and Higher

The objective of higher and higher is for teams to use their partnership and communication skills. Each team will have five minutes to erect the tallest tower out of the supplies they are given. Groups of three or more members participate in this exercise. Each team is given building materials, such as tape, paper cups and cardboard. The highest structure wins the challenge.


The objective of numbers is for teams to master group thinking. Five or more players formulate an outward-facing circle. One member will initiate the exercise by saying the number one. Another will say the number two, and the team will proceed to count until they reach the number 35. Only one player is allowed to say a number at one time. If two players simultaneously say a number, the count is restarted.

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About the Author

Kim Walton has been writing for business clients since 1999. Specializing in business topics, her articles also appear on websites including eHow. Walton owns several successful small businesses and serves as an educator and council member with The Gerson Lehrman Group. Walton attended the University of Arkansas and Chicago College of Commerce.