A high-performing workplace is not that is just productive, it’s one that has a positive vibe, great culture (and is productive at the same time).

After turning our own team into a powerhouse of enthusiasm and high morale through the use of regular icebreaker activities, the Nodifi team shares some of our secrets to building workplace relationships.

Firstly, a little background

Background from Nodifi COO, Tim Wells, who is a passionate believer in building strong and productive team dynamics in a fun way.  Tim has seen the Nodifi team evolve from the ground up and has played a pivotal role in building a strong culture in the organisation.

The Nodifi team often participates in icebreaker (and ice-keeper-awayer) activities designed to warm the waters within departments and individual members.

“Each Friday, the whole team, including those working from home or interstate, join in a quick activity,” says Tim.

“The aim is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, mix with people from different departments – especially people who don’t usually interact and, ultimately, have a laugh.

“We’ve seen these initiatives offer huge benefits for the team, with next to no financial investment”.

Icebreaker benefits

  • Increased team collaboration
  • Decreased hesitation in approaching other staff (especially management)
  • A general high-energy within the team
  • Stronger relationships
  • Higher morale

Also, you might be pleasantly surprised by the number of staff who share the fun on their own social media channels, something which really reflects the enthusiasm of a team.

Our top five awesome icebreakers for building working relationships

Celebrity heads

A classic in the team building games space, celebrity heads need little introduction – but we’ll give you a brief rundown of the details.

A few staff (depending on the size of your organisation) position themselves with their backs to a wall or whiteboard or even wear a paper hat depending on facilities.

Written behind them, or on the paper hats, are celebrity names or even well-known objects. Players then ask yes/no questions in order to decipher who (or what) they have been labelled as.

Should one of the questions be answered in a ‘no’, the next player begins their questioning. ‘Yes’ answers mean you get to ask another question.

A great idea is to label players as other people in the office or even well-known clients, as well as celebrities.

Expect the team to get to know each other more, build confidence and of course, have a laugh together.

Draw that team member (Pictionary)

This one is a fun and creative team icebreaker activity that takes little planning. 

To play, choose two staff at random and ask them to draw a member of the team (using a whiteboard or large piece of paper attached to a wall). Make sure to write down the names of the people to be drawn as to ensure others in the team don’t get wind of who it is.

It’s the goal of the rest of the team to watch the drawing and try to guess who is being crafted.

People being drawn could be other team members, managers or other people well known to the team.

Expect the results of this activity to be a lot of laughs.

Paper plane contest

Who’s the best pilot in your team? This one may seem a bit silly, but it can really fly within a team (pun intended). Simply, give your team members a few minutes to construct a paper plane, and, one by one, launch them from a starting point to see whose can fly the longest distance.

Results are of course bragging rights along with laughs when managers are pitted against (and beaten by) their teams. 

Additional ideas also include creating a leaderboard with weekly challenges and prizes such as a free breakfast, temporary reserved car park or early home time.

The mole!

This one takes a bit of preparation but it’s well worth it. The mole involves one staff member doing secret-but-obvious things over the course of the week, then asking the team to guess who it was – with only one guess.

Secret but obvious things include (but are absolutely not limited to)…

  • Replacing someone’s coffee with water
  • Leaving random objects on someone’s workspace
  • Leaving someone a mysterious strange note
  • Unplugging someone’s mouse and/or keyboard

Of course, nothing dangerous, unsafe or abusive.

Splitting into small groups and working together to figure out who the mole is can be a great team building exercise.

If no one can guess, the mole finally reveals themselves showing how great their mole skills are.

Blackjack championship

If your team is into more traditional or well-known games, this one is great; depending on how many people you have in your team, organise a blackjack championship.

You might have two people playing with the rest of the team watching with the winner taking on the next person like a knockout or organise a ladder with games played once a week or so over several months to find a champion.

Add prizes to make it even more interesting and a ladder kept on a wall.

If blackjack isn’t your team’s thing, try good old rock, paper, scissors – there are many ways to create a fun championship that the whole team can look forward to.

Building workplace relationships is a win in everyone’s books

Investing time in icebreaker activities like the above can reap rewards from smaller information gaps between staff to a better performing team and a generally higher morale – things all businesses can benefit from.

Also, the investment is next to zero in terms of dollars.

Make getting the team on a high-performing trajectory one of your goals – it’ll be well worth the few minutes of fun each week!

Need more ideas? You’ll find a lot more icebreaker activities here.

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