Company or Corporate Team Building has earned a reputation of having a fun factor just shy of a root canal. And with good reason. Few of us can say in all honesty that hotdog eating contests and egg balancing games are worthwhile investments. After all, that money could be better spent on, say, salaries. Yet we’re here to challenge any preconceived notions you may have that team building has to be embarrassing, ridiculous and/or a waste of time. To the contrary, New York City is a playground for adults, one so rich in team building opportunities that you could be forgiven for not realizing that you’re on the clock when you’re participating.
From espionage to athletics, there are plenty of engaging team building activities within New York City for your corporate team. With all the fun bound to happen, it’ll be easy to wonder why you’re getting paid.
Consider this list as a go-to reference for team building activities that are sure to evoke high-fives instead of eye-rolls. When your team is ready for laughter, learning, and connecting, NYC has you covered.
Puzzle-Solving, Code-Cracking Team Building
Flex your cerebral muscles while having fun with team building challenges that require you to work with your teammates to solve puzzles and crack codes. These types of activities require groups to work together in engaging ways, all the while practicing the type of problem-solving necessary on the job. They also have the added benefit of utilizing different ways of thinking so that everyone winds up feeling successful.
Where can you get your puzzle-solving, code-cracking fun on in New York City?
Escape the Room You and your team are locked in a room for 60 minutes. Through a series of interactive puzzles and clues, you must try to escape. Rooms accommodate up to 10 people at a time. Note that if you don’t reserve the entire room, people you don’t know might be part of your game.
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 347-954-9160
Mission Escape Games Like other escape rooms, Mission Escape Games places you and your teammates in a room for an hour. You must inspect the room for clues, collaborate together to solve the puzzles and break out of the mission within the allotted time.
email@example.com or call 347-903-8860
The Great Gotham Challenge Not only will you learn all about your teammates in this race around Manhattan, but you’ll also learn about the city’s history. Participants seek out and decode a series of interactive clues in this large-scale competitive puzzle game.
Scavenger Hunt Team Building
Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts Think you know New York City already? Chances are, going on a scavenger hunt through the area will bring new surprises. Explore the city’s museums and historic neighborhoods with a scavenger hunt that pairs sleuthing with silliness. Additional twists are available, such as challenges to add culinary treats or humor. Watson Adventures handles groups anywhere in size from eight to 500 and can last from 90 minutes to two hours.
New York City Team Building With multiple scavenger hunts available, there is no shortage of clever ideas offered by New York City Team Building. Many of the hunts are based on a television show, such as Urban Fear Factor and The Amazing Chase, although there are other creative choices, including Play it Forward and Random Acts of Kindness.
Physical Team Building
Whirliball It’s hard to beat the site’s own description: ” what other sport so capably combines bumper cars, jai alai, basketball and drunkards?” Your team can enjoy riding adult-size bumper cars while tossing a ball back and forth and trying to make baskets. Sound fun? We think so!
Throwback Fitness Few work environments facilitate fitness; unless you are a construction worker or aerobics instructor, chances are high that you spend more time sitting than standing while on the job. Throwback Fitness throws a wrench in that standard routine by offering old school games that incorporate serious workouts and fun. Think tug-o-war and dodgeball to get an idea.
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-844-5364
Zog Sports Bring new insight into your team with collaborative sports that can be brought to a park, a gym, or your office. By combining sports with team building, you’ll have a chance to see colleagues in new ways.
email@example.com or call 646-467-5298
Charitable and Philanthropic
The Leader’s Institute Pairing corporate team building with charity work, The Leader’s Institute will have your group learning new skills, working together, and helping one of many local causes. Choose from a variety of activities, such as building bicycles for kids, designing a golf course with food for a local food bank, or build teddy bears for firefighters to give to children who have been traumatized.
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-872-7830
Charity Team Building Offering fully customizable projects for your team building adventure, Charity Team Building encourages corporate groups to work together in many different ways. Activities range from making care packages for deployed military members to building wheelchairs for a local or global organization.
Whoever said that school was boring hadn’t met these challenges yet. Each activity blends learning with hands-on activities so that everyone on your team can play — and learn.
Brooklyn Winery Depending on your group’s preferences, there are different options to choose from. Participate in wine blending, fuse blind wine tasting with trivia and label making contests, or become wine detectives where you learn to identify wines based solely on their sight, smell, and taste. Larger groups may enjoy a blind wine pairing game where everyone must seek out the right person in the crowd to complete their wine pairing.
The Paint Place Whether you want to go to their studio or meet at your own, The Paint Place features large group parties where an artist guides you to craft your own original piece of art. Every painter receives a 16″ x 20″ blank canvas, an apron, paints, and brushes, plus instruction.
email@example.com or call 212-799-0112
Paint & Sip Studio Sip on an adult beverage as you learn how to paint a whimsical picture with your colleagues. Whether you are a beginner or a painting aficionado, you’ll be able to channel your inner Picasso to the delight of those around you.
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 917-509-6613
My Cooking Party For corporate cooking classes and culinary competitions, My Cooking Party is the kitchen to visit. For groups interested in an Iron Chef-style competition, they can try Battle of the Bites. There, teams choose from drawers of mystery ingredients and then whip up the tastiest Hors D’oevres. Alternately, you can participate in Shop, Drop, & Roll, which is a cross between a game show and a scavenger hunt, or The Dinner Duel, wherein teams compete to create a feast without using any recipes.
email@example.com or call 212-686-2433
Common Pitfalls for Company Team Building
To successfully compete in today’s marketplace, business leaders must harness the strengths of every team member. They must build teams that are unflinching in their ability to achieve and sustain momentum. Notably, they must instill the belief that the team is unstoppable.
Unfortunately, all too often, leaders and managers believe that a simple round on the go karts will do the trick. This can lead to one of several pitfalls: disengagement, embarrassment, and/or no progress. Here are a few tips about how to avoid the common pitfalls that can stem from teambuilding activities so that your efforts are applauded rather than arraigned.
- Neglecting to include the senior management staff: One of the critical factors in determining team success is the team leadership skills of senior management. Well-versed in their own management or technical skills, many people at the executive level have — to put it nicely — become rusty at teambuilding. The Solution? Include everyone in the teambuilding activities.
- Making team building a one-time affair: It is through team collaboration that innovative ideas are formed. Leaders who are inclined to skip over teambuilding activities are less likely to push their team past barriers to team success. As such, management should find opportunities for collaboration whenever possible. This includes the big events — such as those listed in this article — and smaller, more focused activities, such as brainstorming and collaboration on projects.
- Keeping Disruptive Dan on the team: By its very name, teambuilding activities are intended to strengthen teams. If there is a person on the team who continually disrupts the flow of learning and collaboration taking place, they should be shown the exit. Keeping these people on the team leads to a lack of trust in management that it can take care of and lead the team.
- Permitting meeting madness: Just because it is a fun activity, should not mean people disregard all decorum. If managers allow employees to arrive late, spend time on their Blackberries, and let a few people hog all the airtime, it sends the message that such activities are a waste of time.