January 25th, 11:51 am
Every human being wants to belong to something important. This is not an exception to the workplace. Employees want to feel a shared sense of connection, care, and trust. They want to be part of a community.
Today, more and more employees feel the need to create more meaningful connections and belong to a supportive work environment. Strong communities at the workplace provide a social connection that encourages interaction, reduces loneliness, and becomes the building block for positive cultures. This results in increased employee loyalty and low turnover.
With that in mind, community building is no longer a “nice to have”, rather it’s a vital element for any organization looking to stay ahead of the curve.
But what is community building in the workplace?
Community building at work refers to any activity or practice that fosters a connection between team members. It promotes camaraderie and fellowship between employees. As such, it is vital in building connection, forging group identity, and giving participants a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. It also creates space for sharing, collective learning and growth, and trust-building.
A workplace community can be in a physical or virtual space (or both). Whether people are close together or far apart, they can still enjoy the beauty of connecting and doing life together.
This article will cover:
Food is a perfect way of bringing people together and encouraging conversation.
Holding group lunches every month makes the gathering feel more like a community activity than a one-time event. The meet-ups allow for deeper connection when they are regular, unlike the one-off lunch meetings that only allow small talk.
The members can work out a sequence such as a different restaurant each time or try a different cuisine every time.
Monthly lunches can be held virtually too on a zoom call, having each member prepare a meal, then gathering together to eat and chat. You can give reimbursements to cover the cost of these meals.
Ready to host a monthly lunch for your team? Check out exciting Lunch and Learn Topics.
This is a classic icebreaker where each person says two truths and a lie. The essence is to find out which one is a lie. It’s a classic get-to-know-you game. To play this game, gather the participants in a circle, each one tells two true statements and one that is false. The other players vote on which one is true and which one is false. The player then reveals the truth at the end of the round. The game can be both virtual and physical. No additional materials are needed, and it’s a great way to get to know the other person. Any indoor setting will work.
Have players sit in a circle and choose one to stand in the middle. The person in the middle reveals something about themselves. If any players believe this statement they have to get up and find a different seat. The person in the middle also tries to get a seat at the same time. Whoever is left standing becomes the next person to stand in the middle and say something about themselves.
This is a quick name game. Have everyone choose an animal or an adjective starting with the same letter as their first name, such as Tiny Tom, and have everyone refer to each other by that nickname. You can also have everyone explain why they chose that name and have the members recite the names of everyone who spoke before them.
Sharing photo albums is one of the simplest community building exercises. Simply add group members to a collaborative photo album, then encourage members to share photos. The photos can include those of family members too. You can give the albums a theme or make them more general and occasionally ask questions such as ‘what are you having for breakfast?’ When participants finish, have each group present the collage to the group and explain the significance of the images. You can then display the collages in a communal room for members to view and admire them. This activity is great for virtual community building when the members are far apart.
Volunteering gives a sense of doing something good to the world. It does a great job bonding members and connecting them to a community. Volunteering tasks include: doing a clean-up, raising funds for a common course, and reading to children.
Ongoing projects are better as the group can notice the change they bring to the wider community. Plus, it provides a lot of opportunities to do good.
Explore popular Volunteering events.
Doing and overcoming life challenges together is a way to achieve a shared goal. Some examples include weight loss, exercising, reading, or learning a language. Team members first decide on an objective and then set a timeline for the challenge. Of importance is to come up with a way to monitor progress. Periodic check-ins are vital to update and cheer each other up. Celebrate the wins at the end of each activity, and even if a member does not complete the challenge, celebrate their progress or strides. This will encourage improvement.
The Chain is one of the most fun community building games. The game aims at revealing similarities between members. To play the game, participants stand in a large circle. The leader stands in the middle and makes a personal statement. Any participants who share this truth rush to the center of the circle. The first person to get to the speaker links arms with the leader and must continue the game. The exercise continues until all the members are part of The Chain.
The game promotes unity and uncovers similarities between members. It helps them to realize they are part of the community.
Prompt of the week involves asking a series of thought-inspiring questions for team members to answer publicly. Every week post a prompt question and ask members to reply via email, forum, or in-person discussion. Team members can answer directly to the question or other members’ responses.
The exercise helps members build conversations when there is no official business and learn more about each other outside work.
Here members decorate the space together. Simply ask the team members to come with a special decoration accessory for the space. The decorations include posters, plants, or comfy-throw blankets. Every member adds personal style to the space to make it more welcoming. If decorating a room is not an option, you can make a team bulletin board instead. You can also make a digital bulletin board for virtual decoration.
Check some decoration Arts and Crafts projects you can undertake as a team.
Have everyone stand in a group together. When the leader says ‘mingle’, everyone walks around and between other members. The facilitator then calls out a number, say 6, and the players must, as quickly as possible, link up with the stated number of persons. All members who don't meet this target are called out. The game goes on until only two people are left--these are the winners. A variation could be having the players keep eye contact as they mingle, and each saying their names before moving to the next person.
Game nights are some of the most fun community building activities. They allow the members to gather, compete, and spend time together. Playing the game can help break the ice even among unfamiliar individuals and provide a fun foundation for the relationship. Hosting a game night simply involves inviting attendees, gathering supplies, and providing snacks and drinks. You can play the same games together, or you can offer a variety of games and let the players choose on their own.
Check out fun Virtual Games and Shows for your game night.
Build routines into your daily schedule that promote social-emotional learning, such as activities for Motivation Monday, Wellness Wednesday, and Fun Friday. Share wellness tips and quotes, and plan to do something kind together. This enhances connection, collective learning, and growth.
Trying a new experience can make anyone feel vulnerable. But stepping out of your comfort zone together can enhance bonding. First, divide the group into pairs or small groups. The groups discuss among themselves the things they have never tried. The group then completes the activity together, after which the members discuss and reflect on their experiences. Participants can switch partners and repeat the exercise or can remain with the same group and try new activities. The longer the program continues, the more unusual and daring the experiences become.
This is one of the easiest community building activities for adults. First, ask the group members to provide a list of personal facts. Next, choose a fact for every member, then hand out the list of facts to participants. Challenge the participants to match the description to the group member. The exercise can go on for a few minutes to several days depending on the number of participants and their schedules. To win, participants are encouraged to talk to each other to learn new things about fellow members.
Want for a fast community building activity? Question of the Day is an ideal candidate. It encourages participants to be open and share ideas. The exercise involves asking a question and giving the participants time to respond. They can answer in a live meeting virtually or through email throughout the day. You can also encourage participants to have real-time discussions using the question-of-the-day to start conversations.
Post Secret is a powerful bonding exercise that enables members to know each other’s secrets without knowing whose secrets they are. It involves the anonymous sharing of secrets. The facilitator provides a box for submissions and also encourages the use of a non-work email created for that purpose.
The sharing is optional, but the secrets don't need to be serious, scandalous, and profound. They should ideally be work-appropriate. For example, the statement 'I enjoy a hamburger.
Discussions about secrets should always be respectful.
Labels is a community building exercise where participants use name stickers to share important personal identifiers. For example, ‘I am a runner’, or ’I speak French’. Players move around the space, read each other’s labels, and start conversations with players having similar or interesting labels.
One Sentence Life Story is one of the most straightforward exercises in community building and can work even for virtual groups.
Team members sum up their lives to date in one single sentence. Often, these sentences look more like social media taglines, and you can use them as sources of inspiration. The exercise enables the team members to get to know each other faster.
Cocktail Shake-up is rising in popularity among the hybrid activities for adults. Here, each team member receive cocktail making ingredients in preparation for the cocktail making event. During the event, a virtual bartender shows the members how to make different cock tails while leading the team through an appropriate drinking game.
Get started with Cocktail Making team building classes.
There you have it; 20 community building activities you can adopt for you and your community. The results are deeper connection, camaraderie, and fellowship among the members of your community. You can never go wrong on either. Try them and see the success you will achieve.
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We're Joan & Jaume, co-founders of Onsite.fun. Two brothers that joined forces to make distributed teams more united than in-office. Onsite.fun is your one-stop shop to manage and organize team-building events company wide. We find the most remarkable activities online and wrap them on a suite of tools that make them easy and convinient to book for distributed teams.
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