20 Jul

Planning Summer Team Building Activities for the Workplace


Are you looking to keep your team connected this summer? Summer team building activities are a valuable investment for any organization and with the arrival of warmer weather, the summer season presents the perfect opportunity to engage in activities that bring team members closer together! Your employees will reap numerous benefits, from improved communication and collaboration to increased motivation and productivity. The specific objectives of summer team building games will vary depending on each organization’s goals and needs, but some common objectives include:

  • Building trust and rapport among team members
  • Improving communication and collaboration skills
  • Enhancing problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • Encouraging creativity, innovation, and thinking outside the box
  • Fostering a sense of camaraderie, unity, and team spirit
  • Boosting morale, motivation, and engagement
  • Reducing workplace stress and promoting work-life balance

Why you should plan a summer team building activity

After being cooped up during the winter months, colleagues will jump at summer team building activities that get them together outside of the workplace and strengthen their bonds in a more relaxed and enjoyable setting. For the best results, choose activities that encourage your team members to engage in collaborative tasks, problem-solving challenges, and friendly competition. The summer season is perfect as it offers a vibrant and energetic backdrop. That energy fosters a positive and uplifting team-building atmosphere, which always enhances trust and improves communication skills among participants. By engaging in shared experiences and overcoming obstacles together, colleagues develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other’s strengths. Additionally, summer team building activities provide a much-needed break from the day-to-day, boosting morale and revitalizing the team’s energy. Team members will relax, recharge, and build personal connections, leading to a more cohesive and productive work environment.

Summer Team Building Ideas

Are you looking for summer corporate event ideas? There are countless options to choose from! Consider a virtual escape room or company trivia to promote some friendly competition and camaraderie. Or go for creative activities like cooking classes or art workshops. The possibilities are endless!

morning coffee with the team


Morning Coffee

Morning coffee is great on your summer team building ideas list. It involves gathering the team together before the workday to have a cup of coffee or drink of choice and engage in open and casual conversations. This simple yet effective activity allows team members to connect on a personal level and build relationships without the pressures of the workplace. It’s the perfect way to promote a positive and inclusive work culture, as it allows everyone to contribute and be heard, regardless of their position or seniority. By creating a relaxed and informal atmosphere, morning coffee allows colleagues to share thoughts, ideas, and experiences outside of the usual work-related discussions.

This activity can take place either in the office or virtually. You can even take morning coffee to the next level by including a coffee tasting in your virtual meeting! No matter what, morning coffee will help set a positive tone for the day.

Company Trivia

Company trivia is engaging and entertaining and should be on every virtual summer team building activities list. Planning a team trivia night is always popular among in-person and remote teams. This activity brings team members together and encourages some friendly competition.

If your team is gathering in person, determine the best location for the event and gather the necessary trivia questions. It is best to create a well-balanced bank of questions, considering different difficulty levels and categories. You will also want to clearly define the rules of the game, including how answers should be submitted, how points will be awarded, and any additional rules or guidelines to ensure fairness. Finally, decide whether your colleagues will play as individuals or in teams. You will need a host to facilitate the trivia event, which can be accomplished by designating someone from the group or by hiring a professional trivia host to visit your office or venue. They will be responsible for asking questions, keeping the game flowing smoothly, and engaging participants.

A great way to get everyone excited is to choose a wide range of categories that will appeal to a variety of interests. It also helps to include rounds for upcoming holidays or observances. For example, in our virtual trivia at Escapely, we encourage teams to choose six diverse categories from history to movies to food and drink. We also encourage teams to take advantage of our DEI content, which has been thoroughly tested and vetted within each community before we offer it to clients.

To make your trivia event even more memorable, offer prizes or rewards for the winning teams! This adds a competitive element and motivates participants to give their best effort. It also always encourages a higher turnout. Prizes can range from small tokens of appreciation to more significant rewards like company swag or gift cards.

Murder Mystery

Hosting a murder mystery party as a team building activity may sound a bit dark, but it can actually be an incredibly exciting and immersive experience for your team. If done right, it will be an interactive and engaging event that allows team members to work together to solve a fictional crime while enjoying a fun-filled experience.

To organize summer team building activities like murder mysteries, start by selecting a theme that suits the interests and preferences of your team. It could be a classic detective story set in the 1920s, a thrilling spy mystery, or a spooky Halloween-themed murder. The chosen theme sets the stage for the event and adds an element of intrigue and excitement. We always suggest encourage team members to dress up in costumes that align with the theme! It adds to the fun and helps participants fully immerse themselves in the experience. Some participants will have costumes readily available, but you should consider providing some costume suggestions to help those who don’t frequent theme parties.

There are two types of murder mystery team building events. In one, participants get to play a character in the crime, each with a specific backstory, motive, and clues relevant to the mystery. For this style of murder mystery, you will need to distribute the character information to team members in advance so they can familiarize themselves with their roles and develop their character’s personality. During the event, participants will interact with each other, share information, and gather clues to try and solve the murder. Sometimes, the murderer doesn’t even know they are the person accused of the crime until the very end! To make this version successful, you will need to encourage open communication across team members as they piece together the puzzle. Consider incorporating interactive elements like clue cards, evidence collection, or timed challenges to enhance the experience and keep everyone engaged. This would not be a fit for shy personalities or teammates who do not know each other well yet.

We tend to get better feedback on our virtual murder mystery in which participants don’t need to memorize parts or play characters. For one, there is no advance preparation, which makes it easier on participants. Second, the participants get to play investigator and interrogate the suspects, played by a cast of live actors – in the age of true crime podcasts, we have found that everyone has an inner investigator waiting to come out! This style is a better fit for teams who have new members, are still getting to know one another, or simply don’t want to have to do “homework.”

Some of the benefits of having a murder mystery party as one of your summer team building ideas are that it encourages teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Participants must work together, analyze evidence, and connect the dots to solve the mystery successfully.

Work team happy hour


Happy Hour

Hosting a happy hour is another staple on the list of summer team building activities. It is a wonderful way to create a relaxed and social atmosphere where team members can come together, unwind, and catch up outside of work hours. 

When planning a team happy hour, choosing a suitable venue or setting is important. You can opt for a local bar or restaurant, book a private room, or even host the event in a designated space within the office. Alternatively, consider organizing a virtual happy hour over Zoom for remote or distributed teams.

No matter where you host it, you should consider incorporating interactive elements to make your happy hour more engaging and inclusive. You can organize icebreaker activities or conversation starters that encourage participation and facilitate connections among team members. These activities range from trivia games to sharing interesting personal stories or collaborative challenges. It can even be as simple as everyone answering the same question!

Another way to make the happy hour enjoyable is to offer a variety of food and drink options to ensure there is something for everyone. Be sure to ask in advance so that you can accommodate dietary and drink preferences and restrictions. This will ensure inclusivity and make the event accessible to all team members.

Hosting a happy hour also promotes a sense of work-life balance and employee well-being. It signals that the organization values team members’ personal time and encourages relaxation and socializing. Best of all, while happy hour pairs with everything, it pairs especially well with summer and can take place monthly. They are perfect for your June team building activities, July team building activities, and August!

Virtual Escape Room

There is no more engaging or effective team building activity to bring remote teams together in a virtual environment than a virtual escape room. These games promote teamwork because at their core they are a team game, and every player has a role. Team members must communicate, share information, and leverage each other’s strengths to succeed. If you want your team to sharpen their effective communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, this is a summer team building activity you must add to the rotation.

Because virtual escape games are immersive and interactive, these team building events require engagement and active participation, allowing teams to bond and collaborate in a fun and challenging setting. Additionally, the virtual nature allows remote teams to connect and build relationships regardless of their location. By working towards a common goal, teams develop trust, cooperation, and a sense of camaraderie. Teams also love the friendly competition and must work together – especially if they want to win!

Our best advice is to seek a virtual escape room that provides a fully guided experience. You don’t want participants to feel confused, overwhelmed, or unable to continue and a moderator will ensure each time has a chance to team build! Our best feedback comes from our fully hosted virtual escape game. Dedicated moderators work one-on-one with each team to guide them through the game. However, even if the budget does not allow for a guided experience, your team will reap the benefits of communication, collaboration, and problem solving.

Outdoors Sports Tournament

When deciding on your summer activities for the workplace, consider organizing an outdoor sports tournament. It’s an excellent way to promote teamwork, camaraderie, and healthy competition among team members, and you don’t need college athletes on your team to make it fun! Teams can come together in an active setting by engaging in sports like volleyball, basketball, or soccer. 

Start by selecting a location with ample space for the chosen sport. Local parks, sports fields, or recreational areas might all be able to accommodate the needs of the tournament. Be sure to choose sports for your summer team building activities that are accessible and enjoyable for all participants. Popular team sports like volleyball, basketball, or soccer often work well as they allow for both individual skills and team coordination to come into play. Also, most people have some familiarity with the rules. You can allow team members to form their own teams or assign teams based on a mix of departments or roles to promote cross-collaboration. Encourage each team to come up with a creative team name, and if you really want to go the extra mile, design team uniforms or jerseys! This adds a fun and competitive element to the event and helps foster team spirit and unity.  

Prior to the tournament, establish clear rules and guidelines to ensure fair play and safety. Communicate the rules to all participants in advance and consider having an impartial referee or facilitator oversee the matches and enforce the rules. This helps create a level playing field and ensures a smooth and organized tournament without conflict. You will also want to create a bracket to help keep things organized. This will let the teams know when they are playing and allow them to track the overall standings.  

At the end of the tournament, acknowledge and celebrate the teams’ efforts and achievements. Recognize everything from individual performances to team spirit to sportsmanship. You can even award trophies, medals, or certificates to winning teams or individuals to commemorate their participation and success.

The benefits of an outdoor sports tournament as one of your summer team building events are endless. Participating in sports fosters teamwork, communication, and strategic thinking. It also encourages individuals to step outside their comfort zones, develop leadership skills, and learn to work effectively under pressure. Through shared experiences, both on and off the field, team members can strengthen their bonds and develop a greater appreciation for each other’s strengths and abilities.

movie night


Virtual Summer Movie Night

A virtual summer movie night is great to have on your list of virtual summer team building activities. We suggest choosing a movie that aligns with the team’s interests to organize this event. All you need to do is coordinate a time for everyone to start the movie simultaneously using a video conferencing platform like Microsoft Teams or Zoom, with screen-sharing capabilities. After the movie, divide participants into smaller breakout rooms to facilitate in-depth discussions about the film. Encourage team members to share their thoughts, favorite scenes, and key takeaways. This activity allows for informal and engaging conversations and encourages active listening enabling team members to connect on a more personal level and discover common interests beyond work.

Team Barbecue

If you’re planning any August team building activities for the end of summer, hosting a team barbecue combines food, outdoor fun, and a casual social atmosphere. You can organize a barbecue at a local park or beach to provide a relaxed setting where team members can gather, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company as summer comes to an end.

To begin, choose a location that suits your needs. Take into account things like picnic areas, grilling facilities, and ample space for activities. Communicate the details to the team and encourage them to bring their favorite dishes to share, including barbecue specialties, sides, salads, desserts, and beverages. This potluck-style approach not only ensures a diverse and delicious spread but also promotes inclusivity and showcases the team’s culinary talents and cultural diversity.

In addition to the food, plan some summer team building activities and games to encourage interaction and bonding. Considering adding games like volleyball, cornhole, or frisbee get everyone moving and involved. But no matter what, a team barbecue will provide opportunities for team members to collaborate, communicate, and enjoy some tasty food!

Virtual Mixology Class

A virtual mixology class is an engaging and interactive team building activity that allows team members to learn the art of crafting summer cocktails or mocktails from their homes. Most people associate happy hours and fun cocktails with summer, but this activity takes happy hour to the next level by allowing teams to explore their creativity, learn new skills, and bond.

You can choose to lead the class yourself or choose an experienced mixologist to lead the session – just make sure you choose someone with the necessary expertise to guide participants through the process of making these delicious and refreshing summer drinks! If possible, we also suggest sending participants a kit of everything they will need.

During the class, the mixologist chosen should demonstrate the step-by-step process of making your chosen cocktails or mocktails while explaining the techniques, ingredients, and proportions. Participants can follow along, ask questions, and receive real-time guidance. This interactive format encourages engagement and allows team members to connect with each other and the instructor.

After the mixology class, encourage team members to gather virtually for a social session where they can enjoy their concoctions and engage in casual conversations. This relaxed atmosphere allows for further bonding and connection, as team members can share their thoughts on the class, exchange drink recipes, or simply catch up with each other.

Virtual Team Building Activity for Remote Teams

Virtual summer team building activities offer several advantages for fostering team bonding over the summer, especially for remote teams. First, virtual summer team building activities allow team members from different locations to participate without the limitations of physical distance. Remote teams can come together regardless of their geographical spread, making it easier to include everyone.

Second, virtual summer team building activities provide flexibility and convenience. Team members can join from the comfort of their own homes or any location, eliminating the need for travel or logistical arrangements. This flexibility is particularly beneficial when individuals may have personal commitments or vacation plans during the summer. Virtual team building activities allow team members to participate at their convenience, ensuring maximum engagement and attendance.

Numerous online platforms and tools are available that cater specifically to virtual team building, offering various interactive games, trivia sessions, virtual escape rooms, or even virtual cooking classes. You will want to choose a video conferencing platform like Zoom with which team members can see and interact with each other, fostering a sense of connection. We prefer Zoom for all of the games we run because of the features like breakout rooms, which allow for smaller group discussions. We also use the annotation features in many of our games to make it more interactive for participants.

Another advantage to virtual summer team building is cost-effectiveness. Organizing virtual activities typically requires fewer resources compared to in-person events. There are no expenses related to venue rentals, travel, or catering, making it a more budget-friendly option for organizations – especially for remote teams spread across different locations.

Virtual events offer flexibility, inclusivity, and a wide range of options while eliminating geographical barriers. Virtual activities provide a convenient, cost-effective, and engaging way to foster team bonding, allowing remote teams to come together, strengthen relationships, and create a sense of unity regardless of location.

Benefits of a virtual summer team building activity

Summer team building activities that are virtual offer several benefits that contribute to a successful work environment. Because virtual events allow for interaction with more teammates than an in-person event, they enhance team communication, fostering better collaboration and understanding among members. Second, they boost overall productivity, as improved relationships and trust leave team members more invested in the company. Lastly, these types of activities help leaders stand out by showcasing their ability to foster a positive and cohesive team spirit.

Improves team communication

The best team building games are interactive and require participants to communicate. Take a virtual escape room, for example. It enhances communication skills by requiring team members to collaborate, share information, and solve problems collectively. Team members must convey their observations, ask questions, and interact with each other to progress in the game. Engaging in a virtual escape room activity can significantly benefit a team because participants will need to coordinate their efforts to solve puzzles and escape within a given time frame. Virtual escape games also promote active listening – participants must carefully listen to each other’s ideas and work together to find solutions. Lastly, the activity provides a safe and fun environment for team members to practice expressing their thoughts and opinions, enhancing their overall communication skills.

Improves overall productivity

Engaging in fun summer team building activities that do not involve work-related discussions provides employees with a much-needed break from their daily routines. This break allows them to relax, recharge, and temporarily shift their focus away from work-related things. In turn, this actually makes employees more productive when they are working! By participating in fun activities, employees can reduce stress and gain a fresh perspective. When they return to the workplace, they bring renewed energy, increased motivation, and a clearer mindset. This boost in mood and productivity positively impacts their performance, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, ultimately leading to improved outcomes and a more positive work environment.

Makes leadership stand out

It is often said that a good leader is one who works to develop the leadership abilities of everyone on their team. By this same reasoning, a good team building activity will develop and identify leadership abilities amongst the participants. Again, we will use a virtual escape room as an example because it is so good at providing valuable insights into the true leaders within a team. Effective leaders naturally emerge during a virtual escape room by taking charge, providing direction, and delegating tasks. Leaders are the ones who communicate clearly, ensuring everyone is engaged, informed, and working towards a common goal. They foster collaboration by encouraging active participation, listening to others’ ideas, and incorporating diverse perspectives into decision-making. Leaders inspire and rally team members, exhibit problem-solving skills, and help identify innovative solutions. They are resourceful, creative, and able to navigate complex situations effectively.

Observing how individuals behave and interact during a virtual escape room makes it evident who possesses the leadership qualities necessary to guide and inspire a team. Recognizing these true leaders can facilitate their organizational development, allowing them to take on leadership roles and contribute to the team’s success beyond the virtual escape room environment.

Planning a virtual team building event

Planning a virtual team-building event requires careful consideration and effective coordination to create an engaging and memorable experience for remote team members. The first step is to designate an event organizer who will be responsible for planning and executing the event. 

The event organizer can proceed to select appropriate summer team building activities and platforms that promote interaction and collaboration. They will also be responsible for developing a detailed schedule, considering time zones and availability. The event organizer should ensure seamless logistics by coordinating virtual meeting links, providing clear instructions, and addressing any technical requirements. In most cases, they should collaborate with external facilitators who specialize in virtual team building. On the event day, the event organizer will manage the virtual event, facilitate the activities, and ensure participants have a positive and inclusive experience.

Bring fun to the workplace with summer team building games

Adding summer activities to the workplace can inject a dose of fun into the day and foster a positive work environment. Team building games provide opportunities for team members to connect, collaborate, and build stronger relationships while enjoying the spirit of the season.

Summer team building games provide an opportunity to unwind, recharge, and foster a sense of camaraderie among team members. So, let the sunshine in, organize a team building game, and watch as the positive energy radiates throughout the workplace, leading to a happier and more productive team!

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