Ten Best Exercises to Build Teamwork & Increase Worker’s Productivity and Communication
Even the most successful companies with highly trained professionals working for them find the need to reinforce their workforce by having them take part in team building exercises. Any business large or small can strengthen their workforce’s motivation, morale, personal communication, productivity and communication skills, without having to spend huge amounts of money on costly seminars. Weekly team meetings or company outings gives businesses the perfect opportunity to exercise their workers’ team building skills, which take almost no time at all to execute. The following ten low costs simple exercises can help business build stronger teams, which would increase a workforce’s productivity.
Coin Logo (10-15 Min exercise)
This exercise allows group members to bond and allows them to get a bit more personal. All members participating in this communication exercise become self-aware and begin to understand their colleauges’ awareness as well.
Objective: Each participant prepares a logo using coins and other materials.
Prepare: Ask all the participants to remove the contents from their pockets wallets and purses and place the objects in front of them. Workers with few or no coins can borrow ones from others. The leader should break large groups into teams.
Action: The coordinator keeps time and asks each participant or group to design a personal logo that shows who they are, using only the items in front of them. Pens, notebooks and other materials can also be used along with the coins in the logo’s creation. The participants have only one minute to do this task. After the leader calls time, each member explains their logo to the group. Each participant should briefly state the meaning of their logo and what it represents.
Variations: Do the exercise in groups. Have each group choose a leader and at the end of the exercise the leader discusses the group’s logo and its meaning.
Picture Pieces Game (30 Min exercise)
This exercise demands participants to work as a team and teaches them how to solve productivity problems together. Each person is important in the overall result, and the results reflect the team’s overall work.
Objective: Create a picture five times larger than its original size using just a piece of a puzzle.
Prepare: Leader cuts a well-known cartoon or picture with a lot of detail into equal squares for each participant. Pass writing materials, paper, and utensils to everyone in the group.
Action: ive each participant one piece of the puzzle (cut picture) and have them create a copy that is 5-times larger than the one they have. Each participant will not know how their contribution will affect the overall result until they put the pieces together. Once the groups make their enlargements, have everyone put the pieces together and try to figure out the identity of the original picture.
The Take Away Game (5-10 min exercise)
This exercise requires teams to plan and control the outcome of a fairly simple productivity game. Participants play the game and in each turn, understand its principles, and form more efficient ways to play to win.
Objective: The last team or participant to remove the last of 15 coins from the table wins.
Prepare: Gather 15 coins, including pennies and place them on a table. Create teams with two participants in each group
Action: Toss a coin to see which team goes first. The winner tosses a coin again, and if they answer heads or tails correctly, they get to remove 2 coins from the table of 15. The toss is then passed to the next team. The team that removes the last coin wins.
Variations: Increase the number of coins or allow teams that guess wrong to put back coins they have removed from the table.
The Paper Tower (5 min exercise)
This exercise reinforces participants’ planning, timing and reaction tools and asks them to think about their overall performance and how it could be improved.
Objective: To create a stable structure using only the materials at hand.
Prepare: Obtain a single sheet paper for each participant.
Action: Distribute one single sheet of paper for each person and ask them to build a tall structure using just the paper. Inform them that they only have 5 minutes to do the exercise. When the leader calls time, have the participants discuss: the details of each structure and how they planned it, who ran out of time and how improvements could be made the next time around.
Eye Contact (5 min exercise)
This simple exercise builds trust among coworkers through eye contact. It helps people overcome shyness and increases respect among workers.
Objective: Maintain eye contact with someone for more than 60 seconds without looking away or fidgeting.
Prepare: Group the participants into pairs and have them face each other.
Action: Ask participants to remove any eyeglasses and to stare directly in the eyes of the other in front of them. Even though they may laugh at first or feel uncomfortable, ask them not to look away or fidget while doing the exercise. As the group becomes comfortable with the task, increase the time a bit.
Willow in the Wind (20 min exercise)
This is another fun-trust building game that works well when workers pair up with someone they know. Participants build trust as they move from being trusted to a trustee.
Objective: Participants who are not in the center of the group must support another worker and not allow them to fall or touch the ground.
Prepare: Place workers in groups of 4 or five. Discuss with the non-willows how to support and to pass around safely each willow, by instructing each non-willow to place one foot in front of the other, to stretch out their arms and to lock their elbows.
Action: Each group chooses a willow, who will stand in an upright position in the center of the group with their eyes closed and feet together. They then do some trust leans and as they lean against others, Non-willows pass around the willow. Afterwards, other co-workers in the group take turns being the center willow.
Paper and Straws Game (15 min exercise)
This game builds workers’ planning and productivity skills as they work together in a small group to solve an easy problem. The workers also learn to communicate with one another as the game progresses.
Objective: Push balls into high-scoring sections without removing the ones already in the section.
Prepare: Gather up some drinking straws and paper. Draw a big circle on a large paper and after draw smaller circles within the larger circle. Assign each circle a score with the smallest circle in the middle having the highest score. Tape the big paper with the circles to a lengthy desk. Group workers around the table and give each participant a straw.
Action: The leader wads up small balls of paper and throws then into the circle. Players must blow into their straws to high scoring section without removing balls that are already there. Players should form an attack plan by moving around the table and have two people blow at the same time to make the highest possible score.
Create an Original Problem Solving Activity (One-hour exercise)
This is a group problem solving exercise that builds worker productivity, creativity and trust. Workers will also need to communicate and manage their time as this hour-long game winds down.
Objective: Have the entire group come up with a new problem solving exercise invented entirely by them. The participants must invent an original and never played before exercise.
Prepare: Divide participants into groups of 4 to 5 people.
Action: The leader explains to the group that he scheduled one hour to do a problem solving exercise, but unfortunately, he does not know of one. The leader instructs each group to invent a new exercise themselves. As the hour winds down each group needs to present their exercise to their co-workers who will vote on which one is most original.
The Egg Drop (2 hour exercise)
This is a potentially messy communication and productivity team-building game. It rewards workers in the end for doing excellent work.
Objective: Participants build an egg platform that will support an egg from breaking in an eight-foot drop.
Prepare: Gather a bunch of material and some tools for building a platform. Pillows, hammers, screws, whatever is accessible will work. Also, have an eight foot ladder available. Separate the group into two large teams.
Action: Each group builds a structure that will support an egg dropped from eight feet from breaking. After the construction, each team will present their package in 30 seconds, explaining the structure’s originality and how it works. Finally, a designated group member climbs the eight-foot ladder, drops the egg, and sees if it works.
Sneak a Peek Game (10 min exercise)
This is a simple problem solving game and helps to build both analytical skills and communication skills among workers. Team members also learn how to trust their own instincts as the game progresses.
Objective: Teams must build the same structure as the leader by using only their memory.
Prepare: Find some children’s building blocks and divide the workers into teams of four participants.
Action: The leader builds a unique structure with some of the blocks far away from the group. The leader allows one participant from each group to take a look at his structure for 10 seconds to memorize it. They then return to their group, and the team has twenty-five seconds to try to recreate the leader’s design from the memory of their colleague. If the group has not effectively recreated the leader’s design after one minute, a different member from the group can take a ten-second look at the instructor’s design. This process repeats until one team successfully recreates the leader’s sculpture.
Comparing these simple exercises to the advantages each game produces, gives business easy options should they choose to integrate some of these tasks into their weekly meetings. These team-building exercises can only strengthen the workforce, adding more efficient production within the group, which increases the overall success of the business.
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