50 Game Ideas to Engage employees at the workplace

image of colourful pencils - employee engagement

A happy workplace is directly proportional to the happy results in the workplace. There has been enough research to show that an engaged employee will produce better results and is a factor in motivating employees. Employees usually make faces when they are ‘forced’ to participate in any activities organized by the HR, however, if you understand your employee and customize activities according to their likes and dislikes, chances are not only will they begin enjoying their time and the workplace but also build connections with their co-workers and eventually yield better results.

Before we list out the top 50 game ideas to improve the productivity of employees, we must address the why? Why is there a need to come up with a list of ways to keep your employees happy? Run-off-the-mill ideas won’t simply work in the 21st century, especially in 2020. We are in the midst of a pandemic and no one was spared really. Hence it becomes all the more important in today’s time to motivate your employees for more innovations and an all-inclusive work culture that is empathetic and collaborative in essence. Cases of mental health issues have seen a sudden spike this year, primarily because of dramatic lifestyle changes.

As humans, we realized that a sense of belonging and community is essential to the growth of an individual. There are various ways to motivate lazy employees with rewards, the rewards however can be tangible and intangible.

In a work environment, the best way to motivate your employees is by developing a healthy and interactive work culture and group activities such as games have proved to do so. Major leading players such as Google reflect the company’s overarching philosophy, which is nothing less than “to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world,” according to a Google spokesman, Jordan Newman. The happy hormones keep your brains engaged and interactive and many companies have been trying to push the boundaries of how to motivate your employees at the workplace.

Hence, there are many factors that contribute to employees’ wellness and games are a sure-shot way to build a bond between your employees, an excellent way to beat the daily work stress, and to keep one’s brain active and agile. Which in return motivates your co-workers to give brighter and helpful concepts. We list below 50 of the most engaging ideas to motivate your employees which are easy to do and are proven factors that will help contribute to the happiness of employees.  Let the games begin!

  1. Quizzes

This is not as cliche as it sounds if you can push the envelope. Quizzes can be conducted in person or can also be conducted online. Not every activity requires people to gather in one place at all times. We have the technology to our advantage and we must learn how to use it to our best interest. Perhaps you could conduct the quizzes on a google form and announce the winners in a small but sweet ceremony at the end of the week.

Pro Tip – Keeps the brain active and informed.
Number of players required – 4 to as many

  1. Charades

A classic game of charades is timeless. Everyone is familiar with this game as it is easy to play and engaging too. You can keep different themes for charades. The choices are limitless, ranging from movies but also something related to your business as well. For instance, if you are into marketing, keep a marketing-related charades theme, it’s informative as well as entertaining.  Refrain from making it seem like a school test, keep it simple, light, and fun.

Pro Tip – Will help your employees be ahead of their competition. Motivates them with innovative ideas.

Number of players – The more the merrier, however, you can start from 2 groups of 2 for a fun night of charades.

  1. Awards Night

You don’t need a reason to show off your best self every now and then! Awards Nights is an office version of let’s say Oscars, wherein you have categories, you have nominees, and presenters. This one is like organizing an event, which in itself can be an adrenaline-rushing activity, and if it includes some classy selfies at the end of the day then why not!

You can go creative on the categories such as Best dressed or Most charismatic etc. People like to feel good about themselves and this will really get the good hormones pumping.

Pro Tip – If you have a small team, try and have categories for all. If it’s a big team, think of ways of including everyone whilst keeping it amusing. By showing appreciation to the employees even with small ideas in order to motivate employees with brighter ideas for the future.

  1. Three truths and a lie

This game is to be played at an individual level in the sense that one person will come and speak of three truths and a lie about themselves and the team on spot must make the right guess. Be prepared for hearty shockers in this one. It’s a great activity to bond and get to know each other further.

Pro tip – You can make the game extra fun by adding extravagant and outrageous truths and lies.

  1. Twister

This one is more of physical activity than a mind-bender. You may split the team into small groups of 4-6 and assess which team lasts longer. Mind you, this is not an easy game as it requires you to do some form of stretching or physical activity, however that is what makes it fun! It will literally push you to your limits and require you to loosen up and get some blood pumping.

Pro Tip – Inform your employees in advance so that they can wear comfortable clothes as this will require you to stretch your limits, literally!

Number of players – A 4 player team of two would be perfect but you can keep adding more teams to the game!

  1. Good bag skits

This one is a recipe for drama, but the good kind.

Theatre has always proven to be an immersive way to associate with one and another. This set of games promises to do the same. You must divide groups into two teams and every team will receive a random box of assortments. Based on the items they receive, they must string a narrative together, brainstorm for an hour, and perform. The best part of it is, that it doesn’t have to be a serious Shakespearean drama, the more random it is, the more fun it’ll be!  You can set points for innovation, creativity, and fun! You never know, you might discover some great talent there.

Pro Tip – Give them a common theme and ask them to string a story around the objects they received. Brainstorming with other co-workers will motivate employees for better creative ideas.

A number of players – Divide your entire workforce into two groups and patiently wait for the magic to unfold.

  1. Photoshoot contest

Let’s be honest here, we all love posting our OOTD photos on social media every day. Then why not make a fun activity out of it, we’ve anyway become photographers ever since mobile phones integrated high technology cameras in them. Social media allows us to show off our photography skills and share them with the world. This game not only allows you to get on your creative side but is a great tool for User-generated Content too! The best photo will win based on the most likes you get, as simple as that!

Pro Tip – It’s a great marketing tool, really! However, understand that not everyone is comfortable with social media, so perhaps you can try and see how it works for you.

A number of players – Every employee is a potential participant!

  1. Guess who?

Write some descriptions such as a punctual, creative, good cook, etc, and ask people to guess who could that person be? You have to write the descriptions and make participants attach them to their backs so that the information remains hidden from them. The participants must guess who that person could be based on the clues given to them. Employees will get to know new things about each other and that enables trust which is extremely important in any organization.

Pro Tip- Helps in deepening bonds and accelerates better communication.

Number of Players – you can have your own permutations and combinations depending on your team strength.

  1. TriviaOffice 

Office trivia is an intelligent way to get to know who knows how much about the inner working of the office. Get as detailed as possible in your trivia research. This will allow you to engage your employee with your company on another level. The more informed they are about the company the better it will be for everyone!

Pro Tip – This is like a mini orientation workshop for your employees. It’s essential for your employees to truly understand the company’s vision and align themselves accordingly.

Number of players- As many as you want

 

  1. Statue

Set a statue master of the week and give the person full liberty to call ‘Statue’ in the middle of the day! No matter what you are doing, you must stop and freeze! The perfect moment to call ‘statue’ would be the moment you see someone yawn! And remember to take pictures of how absurd you were looking in that exact moment of the freeze.

Pro Tip- Put it up on social media after all content is queen. It’s a great way to connect with your employees digitally too. Work Culture is on top of everyone’s list of concerns these days!

Number of Players – Engage with everyone, let it be one BIG group activity.

 

  1. Whos for dinner?

If you were to host dinner and could invite any 3 people under the sun, who would it be? The answers can range from Gandhi to Honey Singh. Encourage people to be open and imaginative with their choices. Once they decide the characters they must answer why they chose those people. This will open a dialogue and employees will certainly get more insight into who they work with.

Pro Tip- Excellent game for shared and collaborative thinking.

Number of players – Have small groups of 4 to keep it engaging and interactive

 

  1. Karaoke night

We are all great singers till we are not! Karaoke night can be a promising activity if you can get those bathroom singers to come out of their cocoon. Music is the best way to engage any kind of audience and will certainly be a  memorable experience for everyone!

Pro Tip – Superb activity to form long-lasting bonds!

Number of players – You can divide into several small teams of 4 and let the best singer win!

  1. Video Game Tournament

There are several games available online and as numbers suggest many people are playing those games too, so why not have a games night at work! Split the team into groups and let the best player win.

Pro Tip – Keep communication channels open so that everyone is able to participate.

Number of players – You may have a mini-tournament that leads to two players playing for the win!

  1. Office Olympics

Office Olympics can be a series of small games combined which could stretch over a long period. You could end this one with something more challenging like a marathon. You can have a Summer and Winter Olympics and choose games accordingly.

Pro Tip- Sustainable way to keep employees engaged. His will motivate employees to have a higher sense of work ethics.

Number of players – Can range from 2 to as many!

  1. Flash mob surprise

This is more in the lines of a performance rather than a competitive game. Get hold of a bunch of employees who like dancing and ask them to choreograph a dance but discreetly. Set a date and let the fun begin. The supposed element will certainly add drama and will really get engagement rolling.

Pro Tip- Can involve and motivate lazy employees to interact with other co-workers.

  1. Secret Santa

Everyone enjoys receiving presents and feeling special. The secret of it is what adds to fuel to the fun. You may put all the participants’ names in a bowl and ask them to pick. Whoever’s name you get, you have to send them secret gifts. It’s wonderful when the giver of the gift puts in an effort to buy something of your liking.

Pro Tip- You end up sharing an intimate moment with your co-workers. It’s certainly festive and easy to do.

  1. Baby picture guessing game(Guess Who?)

You must gather baby photographs of your participants and then ask teams to guess who is who! It is an endearing and intimate game that wouldn’t require too much effort but is guaranteed to leave an impact.

Pro Tip – you will gain a personal connection amongst your co-workers.

Number of Employees – This one is for all!

  1. Pictionary

Get them whiteboards out for things other than board meetings!

This can be a really exciting exercise if you increase the level of difficulty. You may set the theme of this game to the niche you work in, it can be advertising, engineering, or AI. Again what’s better than edutainment.

Number of players – Set small teams of 4.

  1. Jenga Tournament

The ups and downs in Jenga are so thrilling! You can divide teams into smaller groups and see who can mount the highest Jenga in 30 minutes. The tallest Jenga wins!

Pro Tip- This is time-specific so keep it tight and the mood light.

Number of players – Keep the number of players to one as this one requires a lot of concentration.

  1. Board Games

All board games are fun to play. There are several boards in the market that you can choose from. While Chess tournaments have a serious tone to them, Catan can help your team build their strategy skills.

  1. Uno

A classic game of UNO is no brainer and loved by all. This doesn’t even require a dedicated time and place, you can just pick cards and start playing in between small office breaks.

Pro Tip – Not every game requires supervision, let your employees have guilt-free fun, it’s a healthy way to build trust.

Number of players – starting from two to any number, really.  Uno is a game for all.

  1. Chit chat

The idea is for everyone to be able to share freely and communicate with each other whilst having a good time. What’s a better way to connect with one another than sharing sweet memories from the past.

You may put trigger words in a bowl, such as food, first jobs, travel just about anything but topics common enough to be able to share. This will certainly help build a feeling of belonging. Sometimes we get so stuck in the rut that we forget to look up and smile.

Pro Tip – Ask the participants to keep adding a new trigger once they are done sharing their story, will keep the game fresh and alive.

Number of players – This is an intimate game to be played in small groups.

  1. Play for charity

This is a chance for you to stand out as a socially responsible organization as well as contribute to society. This one is fun plus responsibility. You can select an organization every month and split into smaller teams and ask them to collect, clothes, books, money, and eventually whoever adds up to more wins!

Pro Tip – Choose organizations that are in your line of work so that employees can build connections with and outside of work.

Number of players – You may choose teams of 6-8 people.

  1. Potluck

As they say, those who feast together, stay together. That’s how civilization has survived up till now. All you have to do is pick a date and inform your employees well beforehand so that planning can be done accordingly.

Pro Tip – No tips here, eat your way to glory!

Number of players – Everyone must participate, the more food the better!

  1. Dart Competition

You can install a dartboard on a wall and employees can come and play a few rounds of games amongst themselves during work breaks. However, you can have weekly dart competitions too! The team with more points wins!

Pro Tip – Inexpensive to install with high impact.

Number of players – You can have a match between two teams and the top two compete for the trophy!

  1. Movie night with a movie quiz

Let’s get the popcorn popping with this one! Allow your employees to chose a movie and organize a movie night, perhaps every month. You can end it by hosting an interesting quiz regarding the movie or any topics that relate to the movie. Does Not have to be a mind-boggling quiz, just enough to get the grey cells buzzing.

Pro Tip- Can have themes like International Photography Day, World Freedom Day etc!

Number of players – Everyone can enjoy a popping evening of a Movie Trivia

Pro Tip –  Make it time-bound to make it more interesting.

Number of players – Divide the team into a group of 4-6.

  1. Typing speed race

To play a fair game, you can put chits in a box and pick out names to represent teams. Whoever gets their names picked must compete against the other team in an intense typing speed race.

Pro Tip- It’s a great skill-building exercise and will keep employees at the top of their typing game.

The number of employees – Works best with individuals.

  1. Show and Tell

This is a perfect game to play virtually. The idea is to pick something within one arm’s reach and narrate a story about it. Everyone gets 1 minute to talk about their most personal belongings and intimate stories around it.

Pro Tip – Will enable your team to bond even if working remotely.

Number of players- Each and every participant can play

  1. Writing Prompts

Writing is one of the best assets an employee can have. From draft concise emails to creating impactful presentations, writing is the best tool for communication. You can provide writing prompts and employees can post their 3 liner answers on the General Slack Channel. The most outrageously creative answer with the most amount of likes wins the game at the end of the time.

Pro Tip – Perfect for remote working and keeping everyone active and engaged.

  1. Donut pairing

If you use Slack for operations, that game might be of use to you! Donut is an extension that you can add to your slack. The app allows co-workers to pair up, especially those who don’t know each other well.

Pro Tip – As we enter the age of remote working, this one is worth a try!

Number of players – the app will automatically pair up people

  1. Make a meme contest

We can enjoy our daily dose of memes but what if the challenge was upon you. Everyone has a free hand in this one in the sense they can choose an image and create a meme and post it in slack. The meme to get the most amount of like wins!

Pro Tip – You can give themes to make the games easier.

Number of players – Everyone can participate

  1. The human knot

Everyone must stand in a circle and hold hands with people opposite you. The idea is to tangle and then be the first team to untangle.

Pro Tip- You can create two large teams for extra fun.

Number of players – Honestly, the more the better.

  1. Birthday line up

Participants are to stand in ascending or descending order of their birthdates, however, the trick is to do it without talking and using sign language only. The first to stand in line and according to the dates correctly wins!

Pro Tip – The focus remains on problem solving and communication.

Number of players – You can have large team play against each other.

  1. Shark Tank

We all know the popular show Shark Tank, where the celebrities shred your ideas like a fierce shark. You can have a shark Tank version of it at your workplace! It not only creates a healthy competition but also prepares your employees for that sales pitch later.

Pro Tip – Try not to get too carried away and keep things in good spirit.

Number of players – You can split into teams for 4 and all one person can represent the idea to the judges.

  1. Heads Up

Heads up is a game designed by the celebrity Ellen Degeneres, it’s a free downloadable app on iPhone and Android. All you have to do is put the phone to your forehead and name or place or thing will appear and you have to guess it from your team’s actions.

Pro – Tip – The more outrageous it is, the more fun it’ll be.

Number of players – You can divide the team into teams of 4 and start guessing.

  1. Human Snakes

You can split teams into two, the more the merrier. Ask each team to stand in a line blindfolded except the last person in the line. You need to then ask them to navigate through a difficult space and reach till the finish line. The trick is that everyone is blindfolded except the last person and the only way to communicate is to tap on the shoulder.

Pro Tip – It requires communication and understanding, will definitely build a relationship of trust amongst your employees.

Number of people – Spilt the whole team into two

  1. Bridge Building

You’ll definitely be burning bridges with this one. Give your employees random assortments and ask them to build a bridge that won’t fall. The teams will be required to use patience and perseverance to make this one last.

Pro Tip – Make sure every team gets the same resources to fair play.

Number of players – teams of 4 should work for this game.

  1. Artist in the dark

The game tests one’s communication and artistic skills(Just joking). The game requires players to pair up and sit back to back. One person will receive an image which they must describe to their partner, who then needs to draw it out. Usually, the drawings look nothing like the picture and that’s why it’s thrilling to play this game, either your employees will be working on their communication skills while playing this game.

Pro Tip – Let the pictures be as ludicrous as possible.

Number of players – You can have as many pairs as you want

  1. Say Chess

This doesn’t necessarily have to be an event, this can be a recurring game between intervals wherein two people sit opposite of each other and play a thrilling match of Chess. Of course one can always organize chess tournaments, however its a 2 people game only.

Pro Tip- Encourage your employees to participate in these smaller activities as Chess has proved to be a great exercise for the brain. One can always learn from a good game of chess. It keeps your brain sharp and thinks a step ahead.

Number of players – Two players only

  1. Laughing circle

This was no brainer. You can involve the entire workforce, ask them to stand in a circle and then ask everyone next to say “Hee”, “Haww” and “Hoo”, whoever laughs is asked to leave. Play till you have the last person standing

Pro Tip – Make sure the game has momentum otherwise it can feel like a drag quite contrary to the objective of the game.

Number of players – Include everyone in the office for some heat filled laughter, after all, laughter is the best medicine.

  1. Remote MTV Cribs

This game has become quite popular this year thanks to remote working. Every person has to give a mini-tour of their workspace, sneak peek into their remote work life. It’s interesting and personal, and will definitely help teammates bond in difficult times.

Pro Tip – Give people time to prepare, the idea is to have fun and not embarrass people.

Number of players – Everyone can get a chance to show off their cool working pad.

  1. Bucket List Challenge

Challenge a new employee every day to share their bucket list and then ask them to present. It will give teammates insight into each other’s lives and will foster an environment of harmony amongst each other.

Pro Tip – Ask employees to not limit themselves and use their wildest imagination.

  1. Talent show

Everyone has hidden talents, and who knows if discovered it might actually come handy to your organization. Encourage employees to showcase their talents in a talent show. Make it’s extravagant and genuinely compliment people for their talents.

People feel good when they feel accepted and acknowledged. It fosters a sense of community and belonging, essential to the success of any organization.

Pro Tip – Be kind to each other

Number of players – Anyone who volunteers is a potential player.

  1. That’s my Line

Write some famous aspiring quotes from history and put them in a bowl. Ask the facilitator to pick up the notes and say the line out loud. The team to guess it correctly wins points.

Pro Tip – Select quotes by famous people in your industry, it not only helps increase the IQ levels of your employees but also leaves them feeling good about their knowledge.

Number of players – You can split the team into a smaller group.

  1. Office Bingo

Everyone is familiar with Bingo and office Bingo night can be a super fun game to play with your teammates. It can be frivolous and light-hearted. There are several templates that one can download from the internet.

Pro Tip- You can also create your own Office Bingo.

Number of players – Can be played individually or in teams too.

  1. Whose Job is it anyway?

Everyone is asked to write two-three facts about their jobs, which can be anything foolish like “My job is to surf the internet” guess my job. Everyone then puts all the chits in a bowl and everyone begins to pick them out. Upon reading the chits everyone has to guess who that employee is, whoever has the right answer wins!

Pro Tip – It’s an excellent way to get into the minds of your employees and assess their relationships with their jobs. It also gives other departments quirky insights into what their colleagues actually do.

Number of Players – Everyone can participate in this one.

  1. Musical Chair

This is an excellent way to bond because we’ve all at some point played musical chairs in our life. You can experiment with music which essentially fuels the game.

Pro Tip –  Not everything has to be competitive, just let your hair down and simply play this one out.

Number of players – Get everyone in the office to play this one.

  1. The Scavenger Hunt

You may split the group into two or more. Make a list of things they must accomplish within a time-frame, the first teams to finish the list wins. You can include clues or riddles to lead them to the next stage. This game has a mysterious streak to it and good understanding amongst team members is required to win this one.

Pro Tip- You can lead to their most bizarre places, like the staircase or elevator etc.

Number of players – You can split a team into two more depending on your employee strength.

  1. UP

Everyone must form into a circle and start saying the number out loud, beginning from 1- 7, however, the 7th person will not say it out loud but put their hands in the air instead. The last person standing wins.

Pro Tip – Ask the participants to go fast as speed will challenge their brain to stay on track.

Number of players – No need to divide into groups, making everyone stand in one circle is good enough.

  1. Puzzle it up

A game of quintessential Puzzles is always a charmer. Get a middle-range difficult level and the first team to finish wins!

Pro Tip –  Make it time-bound to make it more interesting.

Number of players – Divide the team into a group of 4-6

puzzle

 

There are various benefits to team-building exercises as part of your work culture. The benefits include:-

  1. Better team collaboration
  2. Smoother communication.
  3. Happy and satisfied workers.
  4. Build a healthy and sustainable team culture.
  5. Over-all better results.
  6. Motivate lazy employees for better work ethics and dedication.

We have provided you with factors that motivate employees at the workplace as well as ways to motivate them. Some are easy to do, others might require preparation in advance. However, the best way forward would be to assign different people every month to organize these events. You can create a games schedule depending on the number of employees, workload, etc. It is important that employees feel happy to engage in such activities rather than feeling like it’s forced upon them. Employment engagement activities are essential to maintain a healthy work culture.

It is absolutely essential to keep communication channels open at all times. Employees must feel comfortable voicing their opinions. In fact, an excellent idea to keep your employees motivated at all times would be to engage them in decision making especially when it comes to building a healthy work culture. Ask them what would they enjoy doing, which games they preferred playing, how often would they like to engage in such a manner. The idea is to motivate your employees with fun-filled games besides the other rewards that they might receive. Games are non-tangible yet sure shot ways to keep them motivated and inspired, which in turn would yield better results for the organization too! It’s a win-win situation for all.

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