Let’s talk team building. I know that it’s a term that’s often thrown around when team morale is low, and you need to spike everyone’s energy. But what if we reframed the way we looked at it? Instead of waiting until it is necessary, use these activities to get ahead of team burnout and low morale. We wanted to put together the ultimate guide to New York team building activities.
Importance of Team Building
Before you check out these amazing activities, it’s important to understand why team building is so vital to your team’s development. It definitely has a bad reputation – most people groan as soon as they hear those two words. But there are real, tangible benefits and if done right, your team will be excited for activities in the years to come. So, we’ve outlined 5 important reasons you need to get your team out of the office and into an activity.
- FUN: Having fun as a team is an easy way to build relationships. It creates an environment that allows you to let loose, create memories, and find similarities in a non-forced way! Also, imagine all the inside jokes you can have when you have all that fun!
- COMMUNICATION: Communication is key when you’re working together and team building activities help regulate it. While completing the tasks, you’ll find ways to communicate that work best for you and your team. You’ll also learn others receive information and feedback.
- PRODUCTIVITY: Team building improves productivity in two ways. First, when employees start losing motivation, their productivity levels go down. Fun, exciting team activities can break that pattern and bring a jolt of excitement back in. Second, these activities can teach team members how to work best with each other in turn, making their work in the office more efficient.
- CREATIVITY: This might be my favorite reason – since I’m a sucker for any boost of creativity. When the team is placed in a new setting, with a completely new set of problems, they are forced to get creative with solutions. New settings allow fresh new energy to come in, encouraging different, innovative ideas from your team.
- CONFLICT RESOLUTION: This is a huge benefit, specifically to the Games + Challenges-type activities. Teams will ultimately learn how to work with different strengths, opinions, and skillsets and discover the best way to move forward. Remember, conflict is not always a bad thing. It’s a necessary part of growth and performance.
And now for the main attraction. We’ve grouped the activities into three categories:
- Food + Drink New York Team Building
- Arts + Entertainment New York Team Building
- Games + Challenges New York Team Building
Check them out and let us know which one you go with!
Food + Drink New York Team Building
TOUR THE EAST VILLAGE
Join us on our NYC East Village Food Tour as we explore one of New York City’s hottest restaurant and craft cocktail scenes – known for its role as the birthplace of punk and artist hangouts. Hear the stories of restaurant owners and chefs as you enjoy our 4-course progressive meal. Taste incredible ethnic cuisines from immigrants who have made the East Village one of the most diverse eating grounds!
TURN INTO A BARTENDER OR SOUS-CHEF
Looking for a new way to get hands on without taking a long boring cooking class? Be a participator instead of a spectator by taking your hands on culinary activities to the next level! With our multi-location activities, you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at both savory and sweet hands-on activities. Want to have your hand at bartending? We have an event for that. See yourself as more of a chef? Take part in our sous-chef event. The choice is yours!
GO FOR LUXURY
If you’re more in the market for something upscale and luxurious, let me introduce you to the Michelin Star Tour. In one night, you’ll receive the VIP treatment and incredible hospitality as you visit a curated selection New York City’s top restaurants including Michelin-starred restaurants. A luxury car will pick you up and take you on an exclusive progressive culinary experience, where your menu will be curated for you by New York City’s top chefs. You’ll visit 3 restaurants over the course of the evening from appetizer to entree to dessert, with surprises and delights along the way. Cheers!
TRY YOUR HAND AT MAKING GUAC
It’s called The Great Guac Off – and for good reason! Yes, you will be making the greatest guac of your life and hopefully get the gloating privileges that go along with it – but that’s not all! You will be split into mini teams and participate in warm up games and icebreakers, avocado trivia, challenges and more. All this tells me is that you’ll need to do some “research” to prepare for this big event – i.e., eat lots of guacamole so you’re the real professional! Show everyone who the guac boss is!
MAKE YOUR OWN PIZZA PIE
There are not many things that are more New York than a good ‘ole slice of pizza. Your team will have a blast taking a class at Pizza School NYC! You’ll all enjoy some yummy ‘za before even making your own and I can almost guarantee they’ll be begging you to go back again. It’s a great way to build a rapport with your team while distracting them with good eats. You can even make it a fun competition and crown the winner of the best pizza!
Try something sweet with Chocolate Making
Everyone loves a bit of chocolate – and if you don’t, then maybe you just need to make your own! Try taking on a chocolate-making class at Voilà Chocolate. Each event will be in a private room and include a dedicated chocolatier to lead the session while catering and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are all available!
Sip on some vino
All aboard The Little Wine Bus! Plan a sweet corporate team building activity by letting The Little Wine Bus do the work for you. You and your team can pick and stomp the grapes while munching on fully catered meals. You can also include wine courses, demonstrations, trivia and bingo. All you need to do is hop aboard!
Arts + Entertainment New York Team Building
LAUGH YOUR WAY THROUGH IMPROV
Improv has a ton of great benefits when it comes to the corporate world. The whole idea behind improv is to work together to create a fun and engaging story. It also helps employees think of their feet, come up with more creative solutions, and ease their fear of public speaking. So why not do Improv as a corporate team building exercise? Take a class with The Barrow Group to help your team build motivation and confidence.
CREATE AN ART PIECE
Try something different and create your own art piece using only post-it notes. During Post It Art, teams in sizes of 8-12 will work together to create a large art piece by only using those trusty post-it notes we all have at our desks. Post It Art is an excellent way to get creative and think critically on how you want the piece to come together. It’s also such an unusual way to create art that everyone goes into it on an even playing field!
GET ZEN WITH SOME ART THERAPY
Introduce your team through a therapeutic art form with a Japanese Marbling Art Workshop. Better called Sumingashi, it is an ancient Japanese art form that captures the movement of water through the use of absorbent paper and ink. It’s incredibly calming and meditative and is a unique way to connect with your team by immersing yourselves in a practice known to regulate stress.
BRING OUT YOUR INNER PICASSO
What better way to connect with your colleagues in a creative space than one where you get to leave with a souvenir? With Paint Nite, you can choose from a vast collection of paintings as well as have a host that is perfect for your group and event. The best part is that you can customize this event to be exactly what you want it to be, including swag bags, celebrity engagements and more!
SING YOUR HEART OUT TO BSB OR N’SYNC
This is not your average karaoke party where you’re all stuck in a dark room and taking turns in the spotlight. Expressway Music has lots of experience with the sound so they will be sure to make you sound like Celine Dion – as best as possible. There’s nothing worse than hearing the scratchy sounds of a poor sound system as someone is trying to have their moment. This is an excellent way to get everyone out of their shells, have some fun, and create unique memories in the process.
Dive into the world of Virtual Reality
Have you ever thrown on virtual reality glasses and immersed yourself in another world? Well, I’m here to tell you that you MUST try it! It’s such a fun and playful way to see something outside your current reality. At VR World, you can customize your team building event to include catering and full liquor packages. Bring out your inner child with virtual reality and feed your imagination!
Relax with a cruise around NYC
Sometimes the best thing you can do for team building is to get everyone to relax. And there is little that is more relaxing than a cruise. With Circle Line, you can choose what kind of tour you’d like, including customizing menu options and drinks so you can give your team the full experience. I always find being on the water an extremely calming and rejuvenating experience and that might be exactly what your team needs to build community.
Games + Challenges New York Team Building
ESCAPE THE ROOM TOGETHER
Escape rooms bring together all the benefits of team building. While in the room together, you are all forced to communicate, solve problems, and build trust in each other’s abilities. With Escape Room Team Building, you have your choice of theme. You can work towards finding the gold, breaking out of prison, or recovering a priceless painting, among others!
TAKE A SCAVENGER HUNT AROUND THE CITY
Go back and do something that the child version of you would love – a scavenger hunt! It’s a great way to see the city in a new light. With Secret City Scavenger Hunts, you can choose your location – from Central Park to the East and West Village or even make your way through the American Museum of Natural History. This is a great way to work together with your team and win those gloating privileges!
GO FOR THE GOLD
The Chelsea Piers is a great spot to take your team for a variety of team building sports and games. Take the “Mini-Olympics,” for example, where teams rotate through different activities while the staff facilitate the games. Some of the games on the rotation include sand volleyball, dodgeball, relay race and tug-o-war. Team sports are an incredible way to build comradery through friendly competition.
HIT THE BULLSEYE
If you have never been axe-throwing, this is your chance! It’s a really fun, challenging event that can bring your team together as you cheer each other on to hit the bullseye. At Kick Axe Throwing, an axe throwing professional will take your team members through a quick tutorial of how to do it then you’ll get to compete in fun games! Not to worry though, the axe professional will always be there to help you out when you need it!
SEA NEW YORK IN A NEW WAY
See what I did there? The Jet Ski Tours are a unique way to bring your team together for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll see Manhattan, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and other significant landmarks from a new perspective on that jet ski. You won’t be alone – there will be a professional with you to guide you through the process and make sure everyone is safe. Go outside your comfort zone and book your event with Sea the City!
Give back to the community
Work with your team to build things for children in foster care. At Together We Rise, you have a variety of team building events to choose from. You can build bikes together, skateboards, teen duffle bags, and so much more. This is an excellent way to bond with your team by working together to make a difference in a child’s life.
Have some Laugh-Out-loud fun at Dave & Buster’s
I know Dave & Buster’s may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘corporate NYC team building,’ but that’s exactly why you should consider it! It’s an exciting deviation from your traditional team-building activity. Not only will you have some fun playing games but you can add food and drink combinations to it so your team can refuel to get right back out there!
No matter what event you choose, make sure your team’s enjoyment is at the forefront. Team building activities are meant motivate your team to work together, communicate, and build trust and any these New York team building activities will help build you a stronger team.