14 Winter Team Building Activities to Boost Employee Morale
Between the overwhelming number of holidays and the cooler temperatures, the winter season can be tough on employee morale. Here are 11 of the best team building activities to help your group climb out of the New-Year slump.
Updated on October 12, 2021
If you’ve noticed that employee morale is traditionally lower around the winter months, it may be time to help your group shake things up. And this has no doubt been amplified by the COVID-198 pandemic.
So, winter team building activities can offer employees the chance to get away from their workstations and re-energize during a time of year that causes a lot of people to feel burnt out.
And whether you work together in the office or remotely, there are a ton of great winter team building options available to help boost your workgroup’s morale.
- 14 Exciting Team Building Activities to Do During the Winter
- 1. Donate to Charity
- Charity Bike Buildathon
- School Supply Scramble
- Volunteer in Your Community
- Wheelchairs for Charity
- The Virtual Do-Good Games
- 2. Run a Fitness Class
- 3. Be on Your Own Game Show
- 4. Head to a Rec Center
- 5. Do an Escape Room
- 6. Hit the Slopes
- 7. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
- 8. Build Something
- 9. Sing Karaoke
- 10. Host a Trivia Event
- Team Pursuit
- Code Break
- Trivial Pursuit
- Virtual Happy Hour Trivia
- Virtual Trivia Time Machine
- Virtual Beach Staycation
- Virtual Trivia Championship
- Water Cooler Trivia
- 11. Get an Adrenaline Rush
- 12. Host a Happy Hour
- 13. Host a Lunch and Learn
- 14. Host a Fun Holiday Party
There are two major reasons why your team may be feeling mentally exhausted and unengaged at work around this time of year. They are:
- So. Many. Holidays. – From Thanksgiving to Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s, there are an overwhelming number of celebrations and events that take place leading up to and during the winter season. Simply put, it’s a busy, tiring time of year.
- Post-Vacation Blues – Outback recently shared that the holidays are usually followed by a period of mental fatigue, with 64% of people saying that they feel affected by holiday depression, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
With team building activities, you can help your employees take their minds off the daily grind, infuse some energy into their workday, and counteract the effects of a winter slump! Check out the top options for this time of year that our team recommends for corporate groups.
14 Exciting Team Building Activities to Do During the Winter
Our team has rounded up the most popular winter activities for business groups that are experiencing low employee morale. Check them out below!
1. Donate to Charity
Nothing makes people feel all warm and fuzzy quite like giving back to those in need. In fact, TIME reported that a study by Nature Communications suggests that simply making a promise to do generous things could be a way to make people feel happier.
Charitable group activities are no exception. They can offer employees a great opportunity to take a beat and re-evaluate what’s truly important to them.
There are lots of different ways that you and your team can choose to give back. Here are a few ideas.
In teams, build and decorate children’s bicycles before presenting them to your colleagues. After the activity, donate all of the bikes to a charity of your choice.
Complete challenges in teams to earn schools supplies, and use those items to assemble the ultimate backpack donations.
Volunteer in Your Community
From assembling care packages to helping out at a local shelter or food bank, there are lots of ways to give back with your group. Read 15 Creative Volunteer Ideas to Help Your Team Make a Difference for more inspiration.
Split up into groups to build, test, and donate fully functioning wheelchairs to individuals in need.
Team up with your colleagues for a Virtual Do-Good Games to do some good in the world and give back to those in need, all while having a blast. This is a morale-boosting virtual team building activity that transforms friendly competition into charitable donations.
2. Run a Fitness Class
According to WebMD, individuals who are inactive could up their energy levels by 20% and lower feelings of fatigue by a whopping 65% just by exercising consistently.
So, running a fitness class could be the easy answer to improving your team’s morale and overall energy! Start by sourcing volunteers from your office who are passionate about exercise and ask them to lead a lunch-time class for your colleagues.
To increase participation numbers, try polling your group with a tool like SurveyMonkey ahead of time to see what types of fitness are most popular among employees. From there, you can offer a rotating schedule of different options, such as:
3. Be on Your Own Game Show
There is quite possibly no better way to infuse pure energy into a group setting than by participating in a wacky version of your favorite game show!
Simply gather your team and let the laughter and fun begin with your choice of an activity. Here are a few of our favorites.
In this over-the-top competition, teams tackle photo and trivia challenges that cover everything from pop culture to politics.
In competing groups, take on 60-second challenges as you battle your colleagues to become the reigning champs.
Visit MSN Games to play a free online version of this popular show with your coworkers, and don’t forget to cheer on your team with an exclamation of: “Good answer!”
To make the event even more memorable and exciting, ask employees to dress up for the occasion just like on television game shows like The Price Is Right!
4. Head to a Rec Center
If your group would benefit from taking a little trip out of the office, why not make your way to your local recreation center? These community facilities usually offer a range of activities for groups, from drop-in classes, to pools, and ice rinks!
Here are a few different ideas on how you and your team can make the most of your nearby rec center.
Make a Splash
Meet at the pool for a general swim or book out the space for a team building activity like Cardboard Boat Building Challenge.
Get on the Ice
You and your group can go skating, organize a pick-up hockey game, or take part in a curling match.
Book a Court
Depending on what facilities your local rec center has available, you and your team can play basketball, tennis, or even squash!
5. Do an Escape Room
Due to growing popularity over the past few years, there’s likely an escape room venue or two close to your office space. But if you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your building, you can always try one of our Corporate Escape Rooms.
Our team brings this activity right to your office or meeting space and sets everything up in a location of your choice. You and your group can choose from one of two different escape room themes, including:
You’ll have to think on your feet if you want to uncover the hidden clues and catch the jewel thief before time runs out!
The Mummy’s Curse
See if your team has what it takes to uncover the secrets of Ancient Egypt, retrieve the talisman, and lift the mummy’s curse!
And if your group works remotely, you can check out our comprehensive list of the best free and paid virtual escape rooms for some amazing options your team will love.
6. Hit the Slopes
This activity obviously won’t work for all locations. But for those of you close to mountains, why not head uphill with your team to get some fresh air?
Many winter snow sports make for great outdoor group activities. You and your team could try:
- Skiing and snowboarding
- Cross-country skiing
For those of you located in a warmer climate, you can still make use of any nearby elevation by heading out for a group walk or hike through the wilderness.
7. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Ramp up the energy in your office with a fun and exciting scavenger hunt team building activity! Here are a few different ways you can offer one to your group.
If you’d prefer to head outdoors for your scavenger hunt, you can explore your city like never before with this app-based smartphone activity.
Embark on the ultimate scavenger hunt with your colleagues in City Chase! Explore your city like never before and compete to complete city-themed challenges around your neck of the woods.
Based on the popular reality TV show, this scavenger hunt is interactive and high-energy. Your team will need to work together in order to solve clues, complete challenges, and unlock destinations as they race from place to place in pursuit of the finish line.
If you’ve got a team that likes to spread joy in the community, then this is the right corporate scavenger hunt for you. Every challenge in this activity is focused on doing good for others and making people smile. While every team competes and collects points for completing challenges, the best part of this activity is that everyone truly wins in the end.
Create Your Own
Make a course by hiding items and clues around your office. Then split into teams, hand out your scavenger hunt list, and send employees on their way!
If you’d like to learn more about these fun and high-energy activities, you might like our article about the what, why, and how of team building scavenger hunts.
8. Build Something
Everyone knows the old saying about idle hands – so try engaging your team with an activity where the goal is to create something from scratch.
You can choose to build something just for fun, or you can task your team with putting together items that your office needs. Here are a few things that we’d recommend.
Collaborate with your colleague to design and build different segments of a bridge. At the end, see if the sections come together to create a free-standing structure!
Is your group able to put their heads together to create and set in motion a gigantic “chain-reaction” machine?
Turn a need for desks, chairs, or shelving units into a collaborative team building experience. Get everyone to work together or make it into a competition!
9. Sing Karaoke
Let out your inner diva with a good, old-fashion karaoke event! This activity can help employees let off some steam, while having a ton of fun.
Ask your team to form groups and sing together to make it a more collaborative experience. Or, better yet, partner people up yourself to arrange unexpected duets and encourage bonding between people who may not work together that often.
You can head to any karaoke venue in your city or try using an online app, such as KaraFun, if you’d prefer to keep the singing at your office.
10. Host a Trivia Event
Many local restaurants and bars offer weekly trivia nights. Hosting your own, however, gives you a lot more flexibility on the location, time, and date of your event. This means that you can do it at the office, instead of off-site, or over lunch, rather than during the evening.
Here are a couple of our favorite trivia-based activities that you could add to your event:
Break out into groups and play to your coworkers’ strengths as you take on four types of challenges, ranging from mental, physical, skill, and mystery.
In this activity, teams compete to see who can solve the most puzzles, riddles, and trivia questions before time runs out!
The classic trivia board game is a great option for groups who want to show off their individual knowledge.
Get together with your team and take a trip to “Hamish McDuff’s” virtual pub. This hilarious Scottish pub owner is the legendary host of a trivia game that is perfect for your team’s virtual happy hour fun!
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.
After more than a year of lockdowns, we’re all in desperate need of a vacation. Luckily, Captain Furling has room for you and your colleagues on his virtually chartered yacht. Come aboard and channel your “inner Cancun” for a tropical online team building adventure. Together, you and your travel companions will compete with their knowledge of travel destinations, vacation-themed movies, summer pop hits, and even a cabana-wear contest.
Does your team have what it takes to win the Virtual Trivia Championship? In this virtual trivia team building activity, your colleagues will break into teams and turn the competition level up to ten as you challenge your wits, test your knowledge, and work your way through a list of trivia questions ranging from cities to movies, songs, objects, and even a round of Jeopardy-style challenges.
If you’re trying to find fun and unique ways to keep your team engaged on an ongoing basis, Water Cooler Trivia is a great way to do it. Water Cooler Trivia integrates into your email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams channels and automatically sends trivia quizzes directly to your team members on a weekly basis. You can choose the trivia schedule and categories, and Water Cooler Trivia will write the questions, automate their distribution, and grade the results for you.
Looking for even more amazing virtual trivia activities? Check out our list of 13 incredible virtual trivia games for work teams.
11. Get an Adrenaline Rush
One way to jolt your team out of their winter slump is with an activity that can help them get a shot of adrenaline. According to Psychology Today, an adrenaline rush helps people feel alive and can be sourced by doing something scary or out of your comfort zone.
While we don’t encourage you to take your group on a dangerous outing, you can try ramping up the excitement factor with a thrilling activity, such as:
- Go kart racing
- Bungee jumping
- Laser tag
For more group activity ideas that you can do during the colder months, check out our list of the top indoor team building activities.
12. Host a Happy Hour
When the winter months are taking their toll on everyone, sometimes there’s nothing better than just getting your team together in a social setting for an unforgettable happy hour.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or ultra-involved: just grab some snacks, mix up some cocktails, and let everyone have fun and socialize together.
Looking for some ideas and inspiration for to make it even more fun? Check out our list of 33 unbeatable virtual happy hour games for workgroups.
13. Host a Lunch and Learn
Learning something new is a great way to stimulate the minds of your team members during the long winter months. So, consider hosting a lunch and learn where your team can have a bite to eat and acquire a new skill at the same time.
The best way to pick a lunch and learn is by focusing on an outcome you’d like to achieve, including:
- Picking up new professional soft skills
- Just having fun
- Learning helpful new life skills
- Building company expertise and knowledge
If you’d like some specific topics you can use for your next lunch and learn, we’ve created a comprehensive list of 24 amazing lunch and learn topic ideas your team will love.
14. Host a Fun Holiday Party
While the winter can sometimes get you down, there’s one element of the season that’s always joyful: celebrating the holidays. So, why not host an incredible holiday party for your colleagues?
If you work together in person, you have tons of great holiday party options, such as the following two.
Two Truths and a Lie: Holiday Gift Edition
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of the game Two Truths and a Lie. But if not, the premise is pretty simple: each person on your team will be tasked with coming up with three facts. Two of them will be true, and one will be a lie.
Then, the rest of your group will need to decide which ones are which – and you might be surprised by the answers! A surefire recipe for hilarity, you can put a holiday twist on the traditional Two Truths and a Lie game by making it focused on the weirdest, wackiest, funniest, and most outside-the-box holiday gifts you colleagues have ever received.
Host a Holiday Trivia Game
Another great way to level up your holiday party is with some holiday trivia. The key here is to make sure you cover off questions from a wide range of holiday traditions, and don’t be afraid to throw in some pop culture references and historical facts.
Feeling stumped on holiday trivia questions? Don’t worry. This list from UsefulTrivia.com has a ton.
And if your team works remotely, you ‘ve also got a ton of great options available. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below.
Virtual Ugly Sweater Party
Arguably among the most classic holiday traditions, ugly sweater parties give attendees a chance to have some fun, use their creativity, and enjoy a good laugh. Encourage your team to find—or make—their best possible ugly holiday sweater. You’d be surprised just how creative people get—we’ve even seen sweaters with lights and mistletoe on them!
Festive Talent Show
Want to get to know your teammates like never before? Then host a virtual festive talent show. Each person on your team will be tasked with picking a secret talent that pertains to the season and showing it off to the group. This could be anything from wrapping a gift really fast to memorizing every word to a certain holiday song.
If you’re unsure of how to plan an epic holiday party, we created an article jam packed with virtual holiday party ideas for work as well as some tips for how to make it happen. And if you and your colleagues are into giving gifts, you also won’t want to miss our list of 26 corporate holiday gift ideas for employees and clients.
The winter season can be a tough time for employee morale, but with the right team building activity, you can help your group find their groove again. Try donating to charity, group exercise classes, a game show activity, heading to a rec center, doing an escape room, hitting the slopes, going on a scavenger hunt, building something, singing karaoke, hosting a trivia night, or getting a hit of adrenaline to help shake things up at your office.
Learn More About Team Building Activities for Your Group
For more information about winter team building activities that can help boost employee morale this season, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.