There is more to a team than the endless projects it completes together. Often, real team bonding happens in other moments and events where people can get to know one another. Research shows that 78% of people are looking for a more supportive work culture, as found by The Future of Time Report from Adobe. This means that team-building activities are a significant part of the work environment — and they don’t even have to be complicated.
5-minute team-building activities are gaining momentum in the workplace because they help coworkers collaborate and bond efficiently. They don’t demand a lot of resources or planning, either, making them perfect for a remote or in-person team diversion. Quick but impactful, these bite-sized activities help nurture a more engaged workforce and promote workplace wellness.
Use these 5-minute team-building activities to promote wellness and productivity in any team.
Icebreakers and Connection Activities
Sometimes, it takes people some time to warm up or feel comfortable with a group. Icebreakers can be incredibly helpful when trying to create connections and getting to know someone.
Activity 1: Crowd-Sourced Icebreakers
Encourage team members to submit fun and thought-provoking icebreaker questions anonymously. Then, during meetings or breaks, pick a question at random and let everyone share their answers. It's a simple yet effective way to spark conversations and get to know each other better.
Activity 2: Spread Some Gratitude
Allocate a few minutes in your team meetings for a "gratitude round." Each member shares something they're grateful for, whether work-related or personal. This activity not only fosters positivity but also strengthens the sense of appreciation within the team. You can also use a platform to share gratitude for the team itself, where team members recognize others with little bonuses or social praise.
Activity 3: Instant Meme
Humor is a great way to loosen up and form connections. Start by having each team member create a meme related to a recent work event or topic. Share the memes and have a good laugh while uncovering your team's creative and humorous sides. You may be surprised at the running jokes that start with a silly meme!
Activity 4: Scavenger Hunt
Having everyone stand up and get moving is a great way to break the ice. Have employees work on teams to find items from a list. You could host a virtual scavenger hunt by having individuals find and show common household items before their competitors.
Activity 5: Show and Tell (Pet Edition)
One thing that is sure to get people excited and interactive is sharing about pets. Whether you’ve got remote workers who can give their beloved pet a little screen time or in-person participants who want to share photos or stories, pets can bring a warm and light-hearted atmosphere to the team. It also offers a little “slice of life” perspective for each individual, helping humanize and connect the entire team.
Quick Games and Challenges
Energize your team with quick games that infuse excitement and competition into your workplace. These fast-paced activities provide a refreshing break while strengthening team bonds with a playful contest.
Activity 6: Two Truths and a Lie
A classic icebreaker with a twist. In "Two Truths and a Lie," team members take turns sharing three statements about themselves, two of which are true, and one that is false. Others must guess which statement is the lie. This game encourages team members to open up, share personal anecdotes, and strengthen connections by revealing surprising facts about themselves.
Activity 7: 5-Minute Mafia Game
Here’s a condensed adaptation of the popular party game, Mafia. In just five minutes, participants take on roles as mafia members or townsfolk, trying to identify the imposters. It enhances deductive reasoning, communication, and teamwork within a short timeframe.
Activity 8: Team Trivia
Test your team's collective knowledge with a rapid-fire trivia session. Create questions related to various topics, and give each team a mere five minutes to come up with answers. This activity promotes healthy competition, enhances knowledge sharing, and stimulates critical thinking.
Activity 9: Who am I?
In "Who am I?", participants write the names of famous personalities, characters, or colleagues on sticky notes and attach them to their foreheads. Through yes-or-no questions, they try to guess the identity on their note. This game cultivates communication skills, encourages creative thinking, and brings some laughter to the team.
Virtual Team-Building Activities
As remote work continues to flourish, the significance of virtual team-building activities has grown exponentially. A huge 41% of workers find it hard to fit into the company's culture when working remotely, according to The State of Remote Work Report from Owl Labs . This makes these consumable 5-minute team-building activities (virtual) more indispensable than ever.
Activity 10: Send a Cocktail Kit
Remote teams can have a happy hour too! Boost team morale by sending out cocktail kits to remote team members before a virtual happy hour. Each kit contains ingredients for a specific cocktail, and during the call, everyone follows a mixology tutorial to craft their drinks. It's a delightful way to bond over shared experiences and unwind together, no matter the physical distance.
Activity 11: Take a Personality Test
Spend time with your team taking a personality test like the 16 Personalities test. You might find that some of your team members have more personality traits in common with one another than you thought. This is a great option for team members to bond with one another and start up some conversations. It will also help you learn what communication styles work best for each team member.
Activity 12: Story Time
In this activity, team members write a short story based on a given theme or prompt in two minutes. The remaining three minutes are used for everyone to read their story aloud to the rest of the team. This can bring out individual creativity, communication, and active listening, making virtual meetings more engaging and interactive.
Activity 13: 50 States Challenge
Find a state quiz like this one online and send the link to your team members. See who paid the most attention in fifth-grade geography and can find the correct answers the quickest! For an extra challenge, try splitting up your team into smaller teams that have to work together. This encourages communication and compromise in a low-stakes environment. For extra fun, you can pit your west coast team members against the east coast and see who comes out on top.
Activity 14: Online Office Decorating
Spice up remote workspaces by hosting an online office decorating contest. Team members personalize their virtual backgrounds or home offices, showcasing everyone’s fun side and personality. It adds a touch of fun to remote work, allowing colleagues to appreciate each other's unique styles. As an added benefit, this activity encourages employees to get out of their shell at very low stakes.
Activity 15: Virtual Dance Party
If you want to engage your remote workers, get them moving! End virtual meetings or workdays on a high note with a virtual dance party. Crank up the music, let loose, and dance together from the comfort of your homes. Dancing is an immediate serotonin boost, which is the “happy chemical” in our brains. Getting everyone to participate is a fantastic way to relieve stress and let down the corporate walls for a minute to strengthen team dynamics.
Indoor Team Building Activities
5-minute team-building activities for the workplace indoors are great for teams that want to get moving and utilize office space. Whether it's problem-solving puzzles, creative challenges, or group workshops, these activities offer a unique opportunity for teams to come together, build trust, and improve their working relationships.
Activity 16: Office Stretches
Especially for people who sit at a desk all day, stretching is a game-changer— you can combat the strains of sedentary office life with group office stretches. Team members participate in quick and simple stretches that alleviate tension, improve circulation, and promote overall wellbeing, fostering a healthier and more relaxed work environment.
Activity 17: What Changed? (Mystery Game)
In the office, people often look at the same space that undergoes little to no change—this activity helps you switch things up a bit in the form of a game. In "What Changed?," teams inspect a room filled with objects, and then one team secretly makes subtle alterations. The opposing team must identify the changes within a set time. This game sharpens observation skills, enhances teamwork, and injects a dose of mystery into the workplace.
Activity 18: Compliment Circle
Hearing that you do a good job and add unique value to your team is not just an uplifting activity, but one that creates a positive and welcoming environment. You can create a culture of appreciation around the office by taking time for peer recognition. Team members take turns offering genuine compliments or acknowledgments to their colleagues. It boosts morale, encourages healthy workplace interactions, and reinforces a sense of value within the team.
Activity 19: It’s Your Day Celebrations
Another way to utilize your indoor space is to update the office with little celebrations throughout the year, such as team members' birthdays or work anniversaries. Some people call this "It's Your Day Celebrations" and have the team decorate the office space and dedicate some time to honor the individual. It shows appreciation and creates memorable moments for every member of the team.
Activity 20: Two Sides of a Coin
Not every activity needs to be a game—in "Two Sides of a Coin," team members partner up and take turns discussing various workplace scenarios from both positive and negative perspectives. This exercise cultivates empathy and encourages a holistic understanding of different viewpoints within the team. Not only can this draw team members closer, but it can also impact the work that everyone does and cultivate greater consideration for others.
Quick and Fun Team Building Exercises
Teams that relax and have some fun together are even more engaged and productive. Research shows that 90% of highly engaged employees say they work on a fun team, which is much more than the 37% from the actively disengaged employees, according to Bonusly. Here are some simple games and activities that can break down barriers, build trust, and ultimately add a little fun to the team dynamic.
Activity 21: Alphabet List Game
The Alphabet List Game tasks teams with creating a list of items or words that start with each letter of the alphabet. Designed to be a fast-paced challenge, the Alphabet Game requires both creativity and teamwork as participants brainstorm and compile their list within a time limit.
Activity 22: Paper Airplane Olympics
Your workplace is more than an office — it’s also an arena for the Paper Airplane Olympics. Teams design, craft, and test paper airplanes in just five minutes. They then compete for distance, accuracy, or style. This hands-on exercise sparks friendly competition and stimulates innovation. You can spice things up even more with small rewards for the top winners!
Activity 23: Draw a Logo from Memory
In "Draw a Logo from Memory," team members attempt to recreate their company's logo from memory within a time limit. It promotes attention to detail, but more importantly, it often results in amusing interpretations that create a relaxed and creative atmosphere.
Activity 24: Broken Telephone Challenge
You can’t go wrong with a game of Broken Telephone, a classic game that often has hilarious outcomes. Teams form a line, and the first person whispers a message to the next, who passes it on until the last person shares the message aloud. The more the original message devolves, the more entertaining! As an added bonus, this game is a good reminder of the importance of clarity and active listening when communicating.
Activity 25: Back-to-Back Drawing
Back-to-Back Drawing adds a little extra challenge and humor to a simple drawing session. Pairs of team members sit back-to-back. One person describes a simple image, while the other attempts to draw it based on the description. This activity emphasizes the importance of clear instructions and can also be rather amusing when the original image doesn’t quite match the result.
Build Strong and Healthy Teams
These 5-minute team-building activities help you create a healthier, more engaged workforce. Organizations that invest in their employees' wellbeing can also reap the rewards of increased productivity and job satisfaction.
As your organization prioritizes wellness in the workplace, Gympass offers a range of resources designed for wellness programs — perfect for building a culture of employee wellbeing.
Prioritize your team’s health and happiness. The first step is talking to a wellbeing specialist.
- Adobe Document Cloud. (2022). The Future of Time. Retrieved October 17, 2023, from https://www.adobe.com/documentcloud/business/reports/sdk/future-of-time-report-2022.html
- Waldoch, C (January 5, 2023). The Importance of Having Fun at Work + 3 Key Tips. Bonusly. Retrieved October 17, 2023, from https://bonusly.com/post/importance-of-having-fun-at-work#:~:text=According%20to%20Bonusly
- Owl Labs. (2022). State of Remote Work 2022. Owllabs. Retrieved October 17, 2023, from https://owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2022
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.