The best in-person team-building activities for small teams

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that human beings thrive on connection – which is one of the reasons it’s such a good idea to get together with your employees for some in-person team-building activities once in a while. Even if yours is only a small team. Perhaps even especially if yours is a small team, actually.

We already know there’s a wealth of benefits that come from team-building activities; in fact, research has shown that employee engagement results in better employee collaboration, communication, morale, motivation, and camaraderie. However, it goes even further than that, according to psychologist Susan Pinker.

Speaking with Medical News Today, Pinker explains that meeting up in person – whether that be with friends, family or, as in this case, colleagues – will trigger parts of our nervous system that release a “cocktail” of neurotransmitters tasked with regulating our response to stress and anxiety.

In other words, when we communicate with people face-to-face, the dopamine spike it causes could help to make us more resilient to stress factors in the long run.

“Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and, like a vaccine, they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future,” she says.

“[Something as simple as] shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust, and it lowers your cortisol levels, so it lowers your stress.”

With that in mind, then, here's our pick of the best in-person team-building activities for small teams. 

Live escape room

For those who haven’t tried one before, an escape room is exactly what it sounds like; essentially, it’s a game which sees a group of players locked into a room together. A timer is set (usually for 60 minutes). Then, once that clock starts counting down, it’s up to our daring adventures to work together as a team to uncover a series of clues, puzzles, and tasks.

The goal is simple: ESCAPE! And g trust us when we say you and your small team have a lot of fun trying to do so.

Food tour

Food has a lovely habit of bringing people together, making this idea perfect for small groups in need of some team-building fun.

Planning one by yourself can be tricky, but there are a lot of professionally organised unique city trips for small teams to tackle. The plan is simple: throughout the day, you’ll be led by a guide across the city, meeting incredible local artisans, tasting scrumptious products, and bonding over delicious treats.

Bon appétit!

Tree climbing

When you were a child, I bet you climbed more than your fair share of trees – and I bet you loved the feeling of accomplishment (not to mention the rush of adrenaline) you felt as you did so, too.

With that in mind, then, why not relive those memories with your own small group and have a go at our exciting tree climbing experience?

You and your colleagues will be kitted out with safety harnesses and run through the basics of what you need to know. Then, you and your colleagues are on your own to swing, fly, and climb through the trees – whichever you feel most comfortable with.

It will require a lot to trust in one another and a good sense of humour (not to mention a healthy approach to heights). Perfect for team-building, right?

Graffiti workshop

This 90-120 minute team-building workshop is a surefire crowd pleaser, and is guaranteed to get your small teams chatting and making plans together. Even better? It’s been shown that finding ways to be creative together as a team isn’t just a great way to break the ice; it can also be energizing, fun, and help unlock new ideas. 

Graffiti workshops provide all participants with access to all the necessary materials they need to get stuck into some serious street art — and that’s not all. In fact, everyone taking part in this in-person team-building activity will be offered support and guidance as they each create their own graffiti on site.

You never know; one of you just might be the next Banksy!

Stand-up paddle boarding

If you’ve driven by any body of water lately, you’ll no doubt have seen people attempting to master the art of stand-up paddle boarding.

At a glance, it looks incredibly tricky. But with a little help and guidance from the folks guiding the stand-up paddle boarding workshop, you will be traversing the lakes and oceans in no time (which sounds like a pretty great skill to us, to be honest).

Remember: adrenaline may not directly boost teamwork, but participating in exciting activities together definitely will. Make this a must for your next in-person team-building activity, stat!