The Ultimate List of Off-Site Team Building Activities for Workgroups
Employees tend to spend a good amount of their time in the office, and that’s why off-site team building activities can be so beneficial to their morale and wellbeing.
Updated: May 17, 2023
As the old saying goes, “variety is the spice of life,” and that’s as true for your work life as it is for your personal one. It also epitomizes why off-site team building activities are such a vital initiative for organizations.
See, for the vast majority of people, every workday looks pretty much the same: you head to the office, briefly chat with your colleagues, and then sit down and get to work.
And we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that routine. After all, the purpose of going to work is to do great work. It just doesn’t leave much room for building bonds between colleagues, and the monotony can sometimes be tolling on employee morale.
That’s why, every now and then, heading out of the office for an off-site event—and incorporating some team building into the process—can be a great way to keep employees engaged and connected.
So, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of off-site team building activities you and your colleagues will love.
- 7 Big Benefits of Off-Site Team Building Activities
- Post-Pandemic Reconnection
- Outside-the-Box Thinking
- Creating a Celebratory Atmosphere
- Reducing Distractions
- Supporting Internal Networking and Socialization
- Boosting Talent Appeal and Retention
- Generating Greater Engagement
- 18 Off-Site Team Building Activity Ideas Your Workgroup Will Love
- Make a Difference in the World
- Improv Classes
- Artistic Workshop
- Host a Dream Day
- Get to Know Each Other Better
- Take a Cooking Class
- Wine or Beer Tasting
- Cultural Exploration
- Focus on Wellness (for Home and Work)
- Comedy Club Night
- Historical or Scenic Tour
- Do a Scavenger Hunt
- Get Your Blood Pumping
- Do Something Cerebral
- Team Sports Tournament
- Trivia Party
- Build Something Together
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors
7 Big Benefits of Off-Site Team Building Activities
We’ve already talked a bit about the morale-boosting and relationship-building benefits of off-site team building activities, but there’s even more to the story.
There are a ton of other big off-site-team building benefits that create happier employees and stronger organizations.
After nearly three years of separation from one another due to the pandemic, getting employees back together for an in-person activity is going to be a great way to help rebuild connections and bonds between them.
In fact, in our Top Trends in Team Building and Training for 2023, Jules Joyce, President at Outback Team Building and Training, cites socialization between colleagues as one of the biggest and most important trends we might see taking place this year.
Because being in the office means you’re surrounded by the same familiar scenery as always. On the other hand, experts say that a change of scenery can spark greater creativity and improve your overall happiness and quality of life.
Creating a Celebratory Atmosphere
There’s a certain sense of celebration for employees when they get to spend a day away from the company or home office and have fun together in a new venue.
When you’re in the office, it can be hard to avoid thinking about work—especially when you’re within eyesight of your workstation. But getting away from the office to do an off-site team building activity also helps eliminate the typical distractions of your workplace so that your team can focus more intently on the event at hand.
Supporting Internal Networking and Socialization
When you get employees, teams, and departments into a new environment, it makes it easier for them to break out of silos and connect more closely in a way they might not have in the confines of the office.
Boosting Talent Appeal and Retention
Doing off-site team building activities doesn’t just offer benefits in terms of the immediate term. They can also have longer-term benefits to company culture and staffing.
Generating Greater Engagement
When you tally up the cumulative effects of the factors listed in this article, one big thing stands out: doing off-site team building activities ultimately contribute to greater employee engagement, in turn driving strong teams, happier and more productive employees, and ultimately stronger business performance.
18 Off-Site Team Building Activity Ideas Your Workgroup Will Love
By now, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of why off-site team building activities can be a great thing for your employees, departments, and your organization as a whole.
But what exactly does a great off-site team building activity look like? We’ve got some suggestions for you.
Make a Difference in the World
Getting out into your community and giving back to those in need has been proven to make people happier and more fulfilled. And this makes philanthropic team building a great off-site activity to help boost morale within your workgroup.
Beach or City Clean-Up
Doing good doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as heading out to clean up your city or a local park or beach. Gather your team, whether for an hour or an afternoon, and head out with trash bags and gloves to tidy up your hometown.
Charity Bike Buildathon
Split into teams to build, decorate, and put together an advertising campaign for children’s bicycles. After each group has presented their bike, you get to donate them all to a charity of your choice!
Random Acts of Kindness
Feel like getting out and spreading some kindness? We recommend it! Doing good in the world is good for you. In fact, it actually builds team morale. Random Acts of Kindness fuses the scavenger hunt concept with a philanthropic twist. This team building activity gets teams racing against one another to try and complete as many good deeds as possible before time runs out.
Using tools, parts, and hardware, your group will need to collaborate in order to create musical harmony. Together you’ll collect household items, rehearse, and put on your very own concert before donating everything to charity.
School Supply Scramble
Class is in session with this philanthropic activity where your team will be tested by a variety of education-themed teamwork challenges, share a special bonding experience, and support local children in need by competing to fill backpacks with school supplies and donating them to charity.
And if you’d like to learn about even more ways to give back, check out this list of creative volunteer ideas for work teams.
In her book, You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters, author Kate Murphy explains how improv actors have to actively listen to one another in order to put on a good performance. Since improv is unscripted, it’s imperative to listen carefully to avoid missing any details you might be able to riff off.
So, if you’re looking for an off-site team building activity that’s equal parts fun and challenging—one that helps people step out of their comfort zones and learn to better communicate and listen to one another—you can’t go wrong with finding a local improv class.
Engage in a creative activity like painting, pottery, or a team mural project. It allows team members to express themselves, collaborate, and appreciate each other’s talents.
Host a Dream Day
Sometimes, the places we call home are the places we most commonly take for granted. And some of the best things are often found right in our own proverbial backyards.
So, host a “dream day” with your team where you head out into your hometown to do as many of the things people love as possible.
The premise is simple: send around a survey (using a tool like SurveyMonkey is a great idea) asking your colleagues what their dream day would look like. Rank the responses by popularity, then head out into your city with the goal of doing as many of those things as possible.
Get to Know Each Other Better
Whether you’re making it a focal point of your off-site event or you’re just looking for a productive way to occupy time between off-site meetings, spending time getting to know your colleagues better is never a bad thing.
And the good news is that getting to know your colleagues can be as simple as asking each other a few team building icebreaker questions or playing a few get to know you activities together.
Take a Cooking Class
Learning new professional skills is always a beneficial endeavor. But sharpening your non-work-related skills in a fun and enjoyable environment can help you and your colleagues to learn something practical they can use, all while spending some relaxed time socializing.
Cooking is a skill that most people would love to perfect, so think about booking a group cooking class for your team.
It also doesn’t hurt that you get to wrap up your class with a delicious meal!
Wine or Beer Tasting
If your team is more thirsty than hungry, consider arranging a guided wine or beer-tasting session where the team can learn about different varieties and flavors. It encourages conversation and appreciation for craftsmanship and can be a fun social activity where your team can get together to spend quality time in a social setting.
Visit a museum, art gallery, or historical site as a team. Learning about different cultures, history, or art can spark interesting discussions and broaden perspectives.
Focus on Wellness (for Home and Work)
If there’s one thing the pandemic has shown us, it’s that prioritizing work-life balance, finding ways to look after yourself, and caring for your mental health is critically important to professional happiness.
In fact, it’s something that employees are beginning to expect of and demand from their employers.
That’s why focusing on wellness is a great bet as an off-site team building activity.
Think about using your off-site team building time to focus on skills that can make people happier and healthier. This could include anything from nutrition classes to mindfulness workshops. When people are happier and healthier in their personal lives, it’ll have a ripple effect into their work life and professional performance.
Breaking a sweat together can be a great off-site team building activity. Just be sure to cater it to your group’s self-expressed level of fitness and ensure that it’s optional rather than mandatory, in case anyone isn’t comfortable participating.
This could be anything from yoga classes and meditation to high-intensity interval training or founding a run or cycling club.
Comedy Club Night
Does your team love to share a good laugh? Then you can’t go wrong with attending a local comedy club or improv show as a team. Laughter is a great way to bond, and it can also inspire creativity and lighten the atmosphere.
Historical or Scenic Tour
Explore the history of your city or a nearby town through a guided historical tour. It encourages learning, team bonding, and a deeper appreciation for the local culture.
Or, you can play tourist in your own town with a hop-on-hop-off bus or boat ride to see your home town in a whole new way.
Do a Scavenger Hunt
It’s hard to go wrong pairing off-site team building with scavenger hunts.
Both are a ton of fun and can be done virtually anywhere. They’re also a great way to help your colleagues connect with one another and have a ton of fun in the process.
Wild Goose Chase
In this scavenger hunt activity, your team can get out of the office and explore your city in a whole new way. Together, your team will need to think outside the box, bond as a group, and venture outside into the community in order to complete a series of fun and unique photo and video challenges.
You’ll need to tackle a list of challenges, including:
- Snap a photo of your team standing next to a large public clock that reads EXACTLY 22 minutes past the hour
- Search for a business that is open 24 hours, seven days a week, and snap a photo of a team member with the sign showing the business’ hours
- Snap a photo of a teammate next to a vehicle that has an “antique” or “collectible” license plate
Whether you’ve got an hour or a half-day, this activity is a great option.
With this scavenger hunt activity for work, you won’t even need to create a list of items for your team to find. You simply need to set them loose and ask them to take a photo of a place, object, or person for each letter of the alphabet.
For instance, their B photo might be a bridge, and their T photo might be a train.
This scavenger hunt is fun because it’s extremely open-ended, and you can compare photos when your colleagues regroup at the end.
But it also gets interesting because some letters—like X and Z—are more challenging to work with than others.
The Amazing Chase
Inspired by the popular reality TV show The Amazing Race – on which teams race around the world, with each leg of the competition requiring the groups to solve puzzles, interact with locals, and complete challenges – this interactive scavenger hunt has teams following clues around their city and taking on physical and mental challenges to move on to the next destination.
With more teams in play, the stakes are even higher, and the competition is even more fierce.
And if you’d like even more options, check out our full list of scavenger hunt team building activities.
Get Your Blood Pumping
For groups that love getting adventurous, you can’t go wrong with an off-site team building activity that gets your adrenaline flowing and your blood pumping.
If you’ve never been axe-throwing, you need to give it a try. You and your colleagues can channel your inner lumberjacks as you get competitive and share in some laughs, throwing large axes at massive targets to see who can gain the most points in a set number of rounds.
Do you feel the need? The need for speed? Go-kart racing can be a ton of fun, especially if your team enjoys competing with one another in a fun and lighthearted way.
Let’s be honest. There’s something fun and nostalgic about channeling your inner child, and jumping on a trampoline is a fun childhood memory for many people.
But now, you don’t need to just reminisce on those days. You can enjoy them all over again as an adult by heading out to a trampoline park with your workgroup for an off-site team building activity.
We admit that this one might be a little bit intense, but if you and your team are up for some high-energy competition that comes with a sense of risk and a touch of adrenaline, going paintball is a great call.
We’d just recommend wearing a few extra layers to reduce the sting!
Do Something Cerebral
We’ve talked a lot about high-energy off-site team building activities in the past few sections, but on the flip side of that coin, you’ll find a ton of fun and challenging mental activities.
If your team is a brainy bunch, you might want to explore a few cerebral off-site team building ideas.
Clue Murder Mystery
You’ve probably never heard of a man named Neil Davidson. But your group will need to come together to solve the mystery of his murder by analyzing clues, resolving challenges, and figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit a deadly crime.
This activity will challenge you and your group to approach problems analytically, read between the lines, and use critical thinking in order to identify a suspect and deliver justice.
Jigsaw Puzzle Race
Puzzles are fun, but they’re not always easy—and they definitely aren’t always something that can be done quickly. That’s why a jigsaw puzzle race is such a fun and interesting off-site team building activity.
The premise is simple: break your team out into smaller groups and give each of them a puzzle of the same size—100 pieces is reasonable—and then allot a predetermined amount of time.
The team who’s able to get it assembled most quickly—or that has the most pieces in place—when time runs out is the winner!
With Code Break, you and your team can learn to be adaptive and dynamic in your thinking in order to tackle any new challenges that come your way. In this activity, you’ll have to adapt your problem-solving skills as you race against the clock to tackle a variety of mixed brainteaser challenges ranging from Sudoku to puzzles, a game of Cranium, riddles, and even trivia.
When it comes to building bonds, solving problems, and putting your mental fortitude to the test, nothing beats escape rooms. They test your team’s ability to communicate and think outside the box as they strive toward a common goal.
At Outback Team Building and Training, we offer two incredible corporate escape rooms for work teams. We’ll even come to your office and transform your conference rooms or offices into escape room experiences.
Hollywoord Murder Mystery
The case is fresh, but here’s what we know so far: we’ve got an up-and-coming actress who’s been found dead in her hotel room following last night’s awards show.
We have several suspects, but we haven’t been able to put the crime on any of them for sure yet. Now, it’s up to you and your team of detectives to crack the case. Together, you’ll review case files and evidence including police reports, coroners’ reports, photo evidence, tabloids, interrogations, and phone calls as you determine the motive, method, and murderer and bring justice for the victim.
You’ll need to put your problem-solving skills to the test as you share theories, collaborate, and think outside the box with your fellow investigators.
Team Sports Tournament
Arrange a friendly sports tournament with games like soccer, basketball, volleyball, or even mini-golf. It encourages teamwork, healthy competition, and physical activity.
Know what’s fun about trivia, especially in a team setting? It requires each team member to use their unique skills and knowledge in a collaborative way in order to answer as many questions as possible.
So, if your goal is to get your team working together and communicating effectively, try hosting a trivia party for your next off-site team building activity.
Trivia Time Machine
Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through time, from pre-pandemic 21st century through the decades all the way to the 60’s.
This exciting, fast-paced trivia game, packed with nostalgia and good vibes, is guaranteed to produce big laughs, friendly competition, and maybe even some chair-dancing.
Game Show Extravaganza
Have you ever watched a game show on TV and wished you could play yourself? Well, now you can! With Game Show Extravaganza, you and your team will break into groups and tackle photo and trivia challenges that cover a range of topics, including pop culture and politics.
If your team is eager to socialize, have some fun as a group, and channel their competitive spirit with an off-site team building activity, we’ve got just the thing for you! With Jeoparty Social, you and your colleagues will step into your very own virtual Jeopardy-style game show—equipped with a buzzer button, a professional actor as your host, and an immersive game show platform! Best of all, this game has been infused with an ultra-social twist: players will take part in a unique social mixer challenge between each round.
Happy Hour Trivia
Hamish’s legendary happy hour trivia features two rounds of trivia questions, featuring four themed categories of your choice. With 20 category options to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect themes for your team’s happy hour trivia.
With pub soundscapes, visual surprises, and warm-hearted humor, Hamish McDuff makes your guests feel like they just had a memorable happy hour with friends in a real pub, while at work! Sorry, HR!
This pub trivia game experience is guaranteed to produce plenty of laughs and lift team “spirits.” It might even include a few special surprises.
Ever wish your office was located on a tropical beach? With Beach Staycation, you can transform your office into a tropical beach destination where you’ll engage in a series of social and trivia-style team building activities.
If you’re a DIY type of off-site team building activity planner, you can host your own trivia party with your own list of questions.
They could include:
Question: What’s the name of the skyscraper in Die Hard?
Answer: Nakatomi Plaza
Question: What flavor of Pop Tarts does Buddy the Elf use in his spaghetti in Elf?
Question: What shocking Wes Craven horror movie carried the marketing tagline, “To avoid fainting, keep repeating, ‘It’s only a movie…’”?
Answer: The Last House on the Left
Question: Who is the famous author of the Harry Potter book series?
Answer: J.K. Rowling
Question: What infamous 1980 box-office bomb ruined the career of The Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino?
Answer: Heaven’s Gate
If you’d like more inspiration on trivia questions, check out our list of trivia questions and answers for workgroups. It offers more than 250 questions covering everything from entertainment to sports, geography, politics, history, food, nature, and much more.
Build Something Together
There are few things more rewarding than building something by hand. And yet, for many professionals, their daily work doesn’t involve any sort of hands-on craftsmanship.
So, for your next off-site team building activity, mix things up and find ways to work collaboratively and build something together.
Domino Effect Challenge
In this hands-on, high-energy team building activity, your group will split into teams that will need to complete their own respective section of a chain reaction machine. But then, they will also need to come together as a full group to collaboratively assemble their sections into a fully functioning device.
It’s a little messy and a lot of fun to do pottery classes as an off-site team building activity. Not only do you get to make something by hand, but you get to use your imagination to craft and decorate something you can keep and use for years to come.
Did someone say hand-made coffee mug for the office?
Cardboard Boat Building Challenge
Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided – cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability! The benefit of a big body of water is that it offers ample space for
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
When the weather permits, there’s no better location for off-site team building activities than the great outdoors. After all, we generally spend so much of our workday indoors, it’s an incredible treat to get outside and get some fresh air for a change.
Ever wondered how your team would fare if they got stranded on a deserted island? Well, now you can find out! This hosted activity will have your large group split into “tribes” to tackle fun physical and mental challenges in a competition inspired by the “Survivor” TV show.
Kayaking, Canoeing, or Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Take your team to a lake or the ocean to do some kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding. Together, you can paddle around and explore while chatting and getting to know each other better.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you could even consider white-water rafting.
Picnic Party Games
We love a good picnic, chock-full of food, drinks, and activities. So, you can’t go wrong hosting one as an off-site team building activity and supercharging it with Picnic Party games.
This activity has teams complete as many goofy photo and video challenges as possible before time runs out.
Some examples of challenges you can do in this activity include:
- Catapult Cuisine: Use a utensil to launch a bite-sized food item into another person’s mouth from 10 feet away.
- Tree Hugger: Snap a photo of someone hugging a tree trunk like a koala bear. Legs and arms must be completely off the ground!
- Spoon Relay: Participate in a relay race while balancing a small rock on a spoon.
These games can be done all at once or spread out throughout the day.
Every now and again, there’s a ton of value in taking a day away from the office to do some off-site team building activities. It’s a great way to help your employees reconnect, both with one another and with your organization, as well as to reinforce their motivation and morale.
Does your organization do any off-site team building activities for its employees? If so, what kinds of activities do you do? Drop us a comment and let us know!
Learn about off-site team building activities for your workgroup.
If you’ve got questions about off-site team building activities for you and your colleagues, reach out to an Employee Engagement Consultant.