9 Benefits of Team Fun for Workplace Mental Health and Culture

9 Benefits of Team Fun for Workplace Mental Health and Culture featured image
Team fun might seem counterintuitive to productivity but in fact, it has the opposite effect. It offers a ton of big benefits to team morale, culture, and mental health.

Team fun can seem unproductive. It’s tempting to think that time could be spent getting one final thing done before the workday ends or logging off early for the day. It may even seem silly to have fun as a team. You are part of the company to work, after all.

But having fun as a team can actually help employees work more efficiently and effectively. It’s an investment that you put into your team, just like PTO or other company benefits.

9 Benefits of Team Fun and Team Building Activities at Work

a group of employees at a desk laughing and doing a team fun activity

Team fun is one of the most far-reaching and beneficial initiatives you can hold for your company.

It offers a ton of benefits that support the health of your employees and your organization as a whole.

1. Creates community and boosts social wellbeing

Community is key to the well-being of people and the company they work for.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, connecting with communities helps employees in three key ways:

  1. Creating a sense of belonging
  2. Providing a support system
  3. Giving a new purpose

In a world where about a quarter of American employees work from home, many employees have to go out of their way in their personal time to find communities to plug into. This is getting increasingly difficult as our world becomes more digital and employees work longer hours.

Companies can be communities. In fact, they should be, in order to be the most effective.

Take, for example, an employee joining a remote team. The employee struggles to understand the company culture and connect to others on the team. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to do so, and the employee may not even know which questions to ask to help them get up to speed faster. They may begin to feel isolated.

Creating opportunities for team fun can help mitigate this. Team fun helps employees get to know one another personally, which is essential for community building at work.

If you’re feeling unsure about where to start, virtual team building activities are a great option.

Virtual Clue Murder Mystery

virtual clue murder mystery is a perfect team bonding activity idea for workgroups

Using video conferencing software alongside Outback’s proprietary app, your group will split into teams, examine clues, review case files, and channel their inner detectives as they race against the clock to solve the mystery of who had the means, motive, and opportunity to murder Neil Davidson.  

Virtual Trivia Time Machine

virtual trivia time machine is a high tech team building activity that can help remote employees to get onboarded

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 virtual trivia game, packed with nostalgia and good vibes, is guaranteed to produce big laughs, friendly competition, and maybe even some chair-dancing.

Your virtual game show host will warm up guests with a couple of “table hopper rounds” (breakout room mixers) and split you out into teams. Within minutes, your home office will be transformed into a game show stage with your very own game show buzzers!

Virtual Jeoparty Social

virtual jeoparty social is a great activity for team fun

If your remote team is eager to socialize, have some fun as a group, and channel their competitive spirit, we’ve got just the thing for you! With Virtual 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.

And for even more ideas, check out this list of more than 30 virtual team building activity ideas to engage remote employees.

2. Strengthens employee-manager relationships

Employees spend more time with their manager than most other people in their lives. Considering that 89% of people say that their professional relationships impact their quality of life, it’s especially crucial for managers and employees to have positive relationships.

When employees get to know managers a bit more personally, it can help employees feel more comfortable and develop that crucial relationship. Once employees start feeling comfortable around their boss, their entire attitude around work can change. They’ll begin to:

For more on manager and employee relationships and fun team activities, check out this article focused on ten leadership tips to help managers strength employee relations.

3. Helps build morale and engagement

a happy and engaged employee sitting at her desk with her computer and smiling

Team fun helps employees reconnect with their coworkers, gain friendships, and gain a newfound enthusiasm for supporting your company. The more friends employees have at work, the more they love their companies.

Plus, team building activities allow employees to learn more about each other and how they manage problem-solving and other challenges. This helps build trust, allowing employees to feel more comfortable at work and understand the company culture faster.

Team building activities can also help employees better understand themselves and how they work with others.

Here are 27 fun getting to know you activities for work teams for a little more inspiration.

4. Provides opportunities for gratitude and employee appreciation

Fun team activities provide managers and company leaders with a chance to express their appreciation.

Gratitude has been found to correlate with:

  • Greater happiness and more positive emotions
  • Help employees appreciate good experiences and each other
  • Improve mental health
  • Help employees deal with conflict and adversity
  • Help build stronger relationships

5. Improves employee mental health

The previous four points all help make fun team activities at work great for employee mental health.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Employees that are struggling with their mental health can benefit from positive activities that foster connections with others. Team fun can help employees grow closer to their teammates, which helps expand their support network.

Plus, employee mental health will also improve when employees feel appreciated by their coworkers, comfortable with their managers, and feel that they are part of a community.

Team fun can touch on a few of the areas of employee wellbeing.

6. Enhances communication and teamwork skills

Team fun puts employees into low-stress and low-risk situations where they can explore problem-solving as a unit. This allows employees to be more mindful of their coworkers, their behavior, and how they can better communicate with them.

There are some great team building activities that support these outcomes.

Wild Goose Chase

a group of colleagues playing wild goose chase as a team fun activity

In this scavenger hunt team building 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 7 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
  • Head to a nearby playground and take a photo of your entire team balanced on a seesaw. Here’s the catch: everyone’s feet must be off the ground while balanced!
  • Find a hopscotch course or use a piece of chalk to create your own on a sidewalk. Record a 5-second video of a teammate hopping and completing it

Stage a martial arts battle with another team in a nearby park. Record a 5-second video of both teams facing each other (with plenty of space between you) and doing the famous crane kick

The team with the most points when time runs out will be named the winners!

This activity is available in the following formats:

  • Hosted: Completely turnkey, you’ll have a live host who coordinates all logistics and runs the event from start to finish.
  • Remote-Hosted: When you don’t need an in-person host at the event, you can have a virtual host who will kick off your event, make sure everything is running smoothly, be available for troubleshooting and questions, and then wrap things up for you.
  • Self-Hosted: Rather than having a host, our team will give you detailed instructions on everything you need to successfully set up and run the event as well as access to Outback’s proprietary app.

So, you can do your team building activity in the format that works best for you. You can also check out a ton of other scavenger hunt team building activities.

Cardboard Boat Building Challenge

six colleagues doing a cardboard boat building challenge team building activity 1

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!

Domino Effect Challenge

domino effect challenging is a brain busting off team fun activity idea

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.

Looking for even more ideas? Check out this list of team building problem solving activities for work.

7. Develops leadership skills

Team fun gives employees that may not lead otherwise have opportunities to practice their leadership skills. Games can make it easier for employees to exit their comfort zone and try their hand at leading or other skill sets.

Even those that aren’t leaders can benefit from learning about leadership. Great teams are filled with leaders who aren’t afraid to make decisions and take action.

8. Reduces company silos

two employees from different departments sharing a meeting with their computers at a desk

Cross-department team games create an opportunity for departments that don’t normally work together to get to know each other. This opens the lines of communication between work teams.

9. Builds company culture and boosts productivity

Who doesn’t want to work for a company that has fun together? Companies that prioritize team fun often see higher retention rates and better hiring rates. The benefits of fun team building activities far outweigh the costs of holding them. Even just one team fun activity can help employees work better together and move company culture in a positive direction.

If you’re looking to bring more team fun into your organization, check out these other virtual team building events.

As much as team fun and productivity sound misaligned, the truth is that they rely on one another. So, get your team together for some fun and engaging fun time and watch how their engagement, satisfaction, and performance increase.

Want to Learn More About Team Fun Activities to Boost Employee Morale and Support Mental Wellbeing?

For more information about how team building activities and team fun, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.

Author Bio:

Haeli Harris – Lead Clinician, Nivati

Haeli Harris, LMFT is the Lead Clinician at Nivati, where she helps employees and company leaders take care of themselves. She has been practicing as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2014. Haeli has experience working as a therapist in private practice settings, residential facilities, outpatient treatment care, schools, and telehealth. Haeli is also a yoga instructor and dancer. Check out her LinkedIn profile. 


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