10 Pro Tips to Plan a Last-Minute Team Building Activity
Planning a last-minute team building activity can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 10 pro tips to help you get it right.
Updated: November 30, 2022
If you’ve been tasked with planning an event for your work team, the odds are your stress levels are already peaking. And if you’ve been asked to plan a last-minute team building event, we wouldn’t be surprised if you were in a state of panic.
After all, planning events is no easy job, even on the best of days. There are a ton of things to organize and details to keep on top of–all while worrying whether everybody will have a good time.
But don’t stress. If you’ve found yourself in the precarious position of having to plan an activity for your team on short notice, we’ve got you covered.
Just take a deep breath and follow these 10 pro tips.
- Step 1: Decide On the Right Format for Your Team
- Step 2: Choose Your Event Date Accordingly
- Step 3: Firm Up Your Budget Parameters
- Step 4: Find Your Venue In Advance
- How to Find an In-Person Venue for Your Team Building Activity
- How to Pick a Venue for Virtual Team Building
- Step 5: Think Through the Flow of Your Event
- Step 6: Decide On Your Goals
- Step 7: Pick the Right Team Building Activity for Your Group
- The Best Last-Minute Virtual Team Building Activities
- The Best Last-Minute In-Person Team Building Activities
- Team Pursuit
- Clue Murder Mystery
- Wild Goose Chase
- Step 8: Send Out Invitations and Date-Holders
- Step 9: Do a Last-Minute Team Building Event Check
- Step 10: Follow Up and Evaluate
Step 1: Decide On the Right Format for Your Team
First thing’s first: does your team work together in person, do they operate on a hybrid model, or are they fully remote?
The answer to this question will dictate the rest of your planning process. But the good news is that, no matter what, there’s a team building activity format that will work for your group.
If your team is hybrid or fully remote, a virtual team building activity is going to be your best bet. It will allow any in-person teammates to participate together from a single location while still giving remote employees the opportunity to join in from wherever they may be.
On the other hand, if your team works together in the office, you do both a virtually-hosted option as well as an in-person team building activity.
Step 2: Choose Your Event Date Accordingly
Next, you’ll need to decide on a date for your event, and this will ultimately depend on the format of your team building activity.
Outback can facilitate in-person team building activities with as little as three weeks of notice. For virtual activities, this timeline is reduced even further–they can be put together in as little as 72 hours.
Once you have a date in mind, you can work backward from there to figure out how much time you have at your disposal for all of your other event planning steps.
Step 3: Firm Up Your Budget Parameters
Your event budget is generally one of the biggest variables when it comes to planning your team building activity. But luckily, it’s generally not prohibitive.
To help you firm up your numbers, here’s a quick cheat sheet you can refer to for team building activity pricing:
- In-Person Team Building Prices: Hosted, in-person activities start at around $40 per person. Depending on the activity you choose, you may also need to set aside some cash for other expenses, like hardware or donations.
- Remote-Hosted Team Building Prices: For hybrid or remote teams, team building activities with a virtual host start as low as $12 per person. With these activities, you’ll have a dedicated Outback event host who will run your activity for you. All you need to do is join via video conferencing software.
- Self-Hosted: You also have the option to host your own activity. With this option, Outback provides you with instructions and telephone support so that you know exactly what you need to do and can run your own team building activity. This option starts at $9 per person.
If you’re looking for the most cost-effective solution for your event, check out our budget team building activities.
Beyond the cost of your team building activity, you may want to set aside budget for things like your venue (for in-person activities), snacks and refreshments, or anything else that might make your activity even better.
If you’re planning a last-minute corporate team building activity and you don’t have much time to start a budget from scratch, you can find a budget template in our free resource, The Ultimate Guide to Team Building.
Step 4: Find Your Venue In Advance
Depending on the format of your team building activity, picking a venue can either be incredibly easy or frustratingly hard.
So, it’s important to get on top of this as soon as you possibly can.
How to Find an In-Person Venue for Your Team Building Activity
One big potential challenge is that you may bump into availability issues when you’re looking for venues at the last minute, which may, in turn, put some constraints on the rest of your event. For instance, you may find that the only available venues are bigger than what really need, meaning you have to shell out more money to secure them.
If you’re looking for a great venue and you don’t have a ton of time for thorough research, check out a service like Cvent to help you find and book a venue based on your schedule and budget parameters.
How to Pick a Venue for Virtual Team Building
On the flip side of the coin, finding a venue for a virtual team building activity is pretty simple. You can opt for an off-site venue if you want. Or, you can just use your conference room at the office. Your remote employees can just join in from wherever they are.
One pro tip, though: make sure everyone’s equipped with the video conferencing software you’ll be using well in advance so that there are no hurdles to overcome on event day.
Step 5: Think Through the Flow of Your Event
When you think about planning a team building activity, your biggest focus is, of course, the activity itself. But there’s more to the story than that.
That’s why you need to think through the flow of your event.
Will there be any opening remarks from senior leadership? Will there be any fun social time afterward? How will the team building activity unfold?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but it’s important to make sure you’ve thought it all through.
Step 6: Decide On Your Goals
Give some consideration to what you’d like your group to get out of your team building activity. In many cases, it’s strictly to have fun and socialized together. But you can also set goals such as:
- Developing collaboration skills
- Improving team communication
- Breaking down silos
- Giving back to the community as a team
- Focusing on active listening
The opportunities are endless–but your goal will help you decide which team building activity is right for you.
And if you’re not sure how to choose, don’t worry. Our Employee Engagement Consultants will make sure you’re doing the perfect team building activity.
Step 7: Pick the Right Team Building Activity for Your Group
Once you’ve got all of the last six boxes checked, it’s time to decide on a team building activity. For short-turnaround events, we’d recommend you check out the following.
The Best Last-Minute Virtual Team Building Activities
Here are three of the fastest virtual team building activities to plan together.
Gather your colleagues and take part in your very own virtual Family Feud-style gameshow that fuses high-energy competition with engaging social mixer activities.
An up-and-coming actress has been found dead in her hotel room the morning after an awards show. Now, you and your remote team need to channel your inner detectives as you review the evidence, assess potential suspects, and determine the method, motive, and murderer in the crime.
In this virtual escape room experience, your team will be transported into a pyramid cursed by a restless mummy. You’ll have to work together to uncover clues and solve complex challenges to lift the ancient curse.
Work collaboratively with your teammates as you put your collective trivia knowledge to the test in this high-energy, and immersive virtual Jeopardy-style competition infused with a fun social twist.
Team up with your colleagues to do some good in the world and give back to those in need, while having a blast. The Do-Good Games is a morale-boosting virtual team building activity that transforms friendly competition into charitable donations.
The Best Last-Minute In-Person Team Building Activities
When you need to plan an in-person team building activity in a pinch, these three are the absolute fastest you’ll find.
In Team Pursuit, your team will need to get their energy levels up in order to tackle a series of mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges, earning points for each successfully completed challenge.
With Clue Murder Mystery, your team will need to solve the murder of a man named Neil Davidson by figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime. This is the perfect virtual game for folks who love problem-solving team building activities.
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.
Step 8: Send Out Invitations and Date-Holders
Once all the details are locked down, make sure you send out an email invitation to everyone as far in advance as possible. This should include all of the key details for event day.
It’s also a good idea to send out calendar invitations to save the date.
Step 9: Do a Last-Minute Team Building Event Check
Before your team building activity kicks off, do a quick run-through of all of the details to make sure you haven’t missed anything and that you’re fully prepared.
Step 10: Follow Up and Evaluate
The end of your team building activity shouldn’t be the last you think about it. Instead, follow up with your colleagues to get their feedback about the event. Then you can use these insights to plan your next one!
Planning a last-minute team building activity can definitely feel stressful, but luckily, it doesn’t have to be. It just requires you to plan carefully and move quickly.
Learn More About Picking the Perfect Last-Minute Team Building Activity
For more information about how you can plan a great corporate team building activity on a tight timeline, just reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.