QuizBreaker's logo QuizBreaker

13 5-Minute Team Building Activities for Coworkers (2024)

Updated October 23, 2023 · 18 min read

In this guide, we'll reveal the best 5-minute team building activities that you can try out with your virtual teams to build trust, creative thinking, problem solving, and team camaraderie.


Key Takeaways (TL;DR)

  • Not all teams have hours to spend on team-building activities, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't bother. We share some 5-minute team building activities you can can insert in your busy work schedules.
  • Most of the ideas shared also require little to no preparation and very little investment. Check them out and follow the instructions provided.
  • We also share why each activity is a great option and what benefits they can provide to your team.

When looking for a team-building exercise, there is a lot of focus on ones that take hours to complete. However, not all team-building activities have to be these long-drawn-out affairs that take up a large toxic waste amount of time.

This list is for the times when you’re just looking to give everyone a quick break from work and want to shake up the monotony a little. Using team building activities during these times will leave co-workers feeling energized; which research has found to lead to higher organizational performance.

Activity Participants Duration Difficulty
Icebreaker Quizzes 5 - 500 people 5 minutes Easy
Multiplayer Trivia 3 - 1,000 people 5 minutes or more Easy
Workstyle Personality Sharing Unlimited Flexible Easy
Office Pen Pals 6 - 120 people 5 minutes Easy
Word Association 5 - 20 people 5 - 15 minutes Easy
Say Name Backward 4 - 15 people 5 - 10 minutes Easy
Card Triangles 6 - 16 people 5 minutes Medium
Copy Cat 4 - 8 people 5 - 10 minutes Easy
Listen Up 4 - 14 people 4 - 8 minutes Easy
Me, Myself, and I 4 - 14 people 5 - 10 minutes Easy

Whether it be large groups or small groups, these fun activities will help in-office and remote work teams band together and unite as one entire team. We wanted to branch out from the generic suggestions, such as scavenger hunts and jigsaw puzzle-building games, to help create a more unique learning environment so that your remote team gets to know one another better. They are perfect for any group size!


Looking for other quick activities to do with your virtual team? Check out our master list of virtual team building activities and five minute games (plus minus a few minutes) for remote teams.


1. Icebreaker Quizzes

quizbreaker gameplay

  • Objective: Breaking the ice and learning new things about your team members.

  • Participants: 5 to 500 people

  • Duration: 5 to 10 minutes per quiz round

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

Instructions

We had to put QuizBreaker at the top of the list! QuizBreaker is a super easy and fun way to boost your team's morale. It is the perfect activity for those looking for a game that takes 30 minutes or less. In fact, the quiz rounds should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes.

How It Works

  • You create an account and invite your whole team to answer icebreaker questions. The platform has over 100 curated fun icebreaker questions included but you can also add in your own custom ones.

  • Once your team starts answering ice breaker questions automated quizzes can be sent out via email where players have to guess each other's answers. For example; "Was it Greg or Grace who said that their favorite TV series of all time is The Office?"

  • Points, badges & levels are unlocked through each consecutive round of the game. And you can schedule the quiz to be sent out on your chosen frequency; daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

The leaderboard is great for the team's looking to add friendly competition while engaging in a weekly fun activity.

Aside from the icebreaker games, QuizBreaker also has other fun icebreaker games, team-building activities, and features like:

  • A multiplayer trivia game with over 100,000 trivia questions;

  • Online escape rooms;

  • A personality test and workstyle profile builder for your team; and

  • Team pulse surveys.

Click here to try out QuizBreaker with your team.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

Quizbreaker allows quick and engaging interaction between team members. They also get to learn about each other through fun quizzes. The platform seamlessly integrates into your team's workflow with minimal setup and can be conducted virtually, which is perfect for brief team engagement.

2. Multiplayer Trivia

trivianerd

    • Objective: Competitive Team Fun Event
    • Participants: 3 - 1000+
    • Duration: 5 to 90 minutes
    • Difficulty: Easy

With this game, everyone has one common goal, to get as many answers to a set of questions right. With each quiz question, each player sees who can get the answer fastest too. Trivia games are a great team-building exercise and a fun way to learn new things.

The best part is there are many tools available for virtual setups. So even if you have remote employes, you can get everyone together on a call and challenge each other to a fun game of trivia with a trivia game tool.

You can either have a quick game or even run a few questions and take your sweet time!

Instructions

For this activity, you'll want to use a tool like TriviaNerd which specializes in running virtual live trivia games for teams online.

They've got over 100,000 trivia questions all organised into hundreds of trivia topics ready to run at the click of a button.

Or you can use their tool to create your own custom trivia game with your own custom trivia questions.

Their tool has great some great gamficiation elements and works great on all devices. We're big fans!

Take a look at Trivia Nerd.

Recommended Reading: The 10 Best Virtual Trivia Games

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

Trivia games are fast-paced and competitive. This activity suits various group sizes and encourages learning in an exciting format. It's effective for teams as it requires quick thinking and boosts knowledge across various topics.

3. WorkStyle Personality Sharing

Workstyle

  • Objective: To foster engagement and connection among team members through personality

  • Participants: Unlimited

  • Duration: Flexible

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Workstyle profiles

Workstyle is a groundbreaking tool that aims to bridge gaps in team understanding. This tool dives deep, leveraging eight scientifically validated personality tests, including the Big 5, DISC, and Jungian typologies, to name a few.

Beyond mere personality metrics, WorkStyle offers insights into six distinct working style preferences, ensuring that every team member's unique approach to tasks is recognized.

There are alaso 100 ice breaker questions and 12 self-descriptor scale questions to facilitate open dialogue and deeper connections. In essence, WorkStyle provides a holistic view of a team's collective psyche, fostering collaboration and mutual understanding.

Check out Workstyle

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

We love this activity because it's an excellent way to deepen understanding of team members’ personalities and working styles in a short period. With more understanding comes better collaboration and communication.

4. Office Pen Pals

office pen pals

  • Objective: To promote team bonding and communication skills

  • Participants: 6 to 120 people

  • Duration: 5 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

We like this activity because it is simple and requires minimal involvement from you.

Furthermore, it has been shown countless times that the simple act of handwriting provides a number of benefits to our brain, from improving our memory, sparking creativity, and even fostering a more positive mindset.

Instructions

Another one is too simple to have numerical instructions.

Bring back the lost art of writing by assigning everyone in the office a pen pal buddy.

These ‘pen pals’ can regularly write to each other to talk about work and express any worries. This activity is perfect for global virtual teams to also learn about each other's cultures.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

This activity can encourage communication and relationship building within teams through written form. It takes a nostalgic twist on team interaction, simple and effective for enhancing bonding.

5. Word Association

word-association

  • Objective: To enhance communication skills

  • Participants: 5 to 20 people

  • Duration: 5 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

Whether you’re trying to get everyone into the right mindset before team meetings or giving them a mental break by having them think of something random, the one-word word association game is a great problem solving activity for teams. It is as helpful as it is versatile.

Instructions

All you need to do is give a simple prompt and ask everyone to share one word that they strongly associate with it and why.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

Word Association tends to spark creative thinking and quick responses. It helps team members to synchronize their thoughts and improve communication skills in a light and engaging manner. We recommend playing this game before brain-storming sessions.

6. Say Name Backward

say name backwards

  • Objective: To promote fun team bonding

  • Participants: 4 to 15 people

  • Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

It really doesn’t get any more quick and easy than this particular team building game.

This activity is particularly useful if you have a new team that is meeting for the first time and don’t really know each other yet.

Besides injecting a little humor into your standard introduction, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to remember someone else’s name if you heard it backward first.

Instructions

  1. Get all your new hires to sit back in a circle.

  2. Simply ask everyone to introduce themselves by saying their name backwards. No one can ask questions to get clues.

  3. Group members then have to guess what each other’s names actually are. For large droves of recruits, break the whole batch down into small teams.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

We find this game extremely helpful when we need a fun, light-hearted game that breaks the ice among new team members. It also adds a memorable twist to learning names and makes initial interactions amusing and relaxed.

7. Card Triangles

card triangles

  • Objective: Participants learn to see others’ perspectives before they can influence and persuade them in a negotiation activity

  • Participants: 6 to 16 people

  • Duration: 5 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: A small deck of playing cards, envelopes

We recommend using this when individuals are focusing too much on their own needs and need to start working together as part of a team.

Or, this exercise is also great when teams need to develop their sales and negotiation skills, as, obviously, this leads to far better outcomes. It is easy to start this activity right before virtual meetings.

Instructions

  1. Cut each card in half diagonally, then in half diagonally again, so each card is now in four triangle quarters.

  2. Mix all the cards well and place an equal number of pieces in the same number of envelopes as you have teams.

  3. Divide participants into teams of three or four.

  4. Give each team an envelope (that contains the card triangles).

  5. The teams have 2 minutes to examine and sort their pieces and plan their strategy for bartering (the exchanging of goods).

  6. Teams must participate by bartering for the pieces their team needs (can barter individually or as a team).

  7. After 3 minutes, count the team’s completed cards and announce the winning team.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

This game enhances negotiation and cooperation skills as team members barter to complete puzzles. It's practical and hands-on, and involves strategic thinking within a tight timeframe.

8. Copy Cat

copy cat

  • Objective: To get team members to learn the importance of listening in an activity where they have to make an exact copy of a sculpture.

  • Participants: 4 to 8 people

  • Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Six to seven common office items for each participant, a visual barrier to place between each pair of participant (e.g., a large binder)

We love this because it focuses on teamwork and cooperation, which has been shown time and time again to improve organizational culture, goal attainment, and job satisfaction.

We also love this activity because it encourages team members to be good listeners, which recent research finding that good listeners in teams leads to more team improvement - so make sure everyone in your team always has their ears open!

Instructions

  1. Pair up your participants.

  2. Distribute a set of identical office items to each partner.

  3. Each pair should then set up a visual barrier so they cannot see their partner's items.

  4. Instruct one partner of each pair to build some kind of structure, using only the items provided - they have 1 minute to do so.

  5. The other partner should try to copy the structure - they have two minutes.

  6. Both partners may freely talk, but they must not ask participants they're paired with any questions.

  7. After the time is up, remove the barriers and view the results. Give a prize to the team whose structures look the most similar.

  8. To make the game a little longer, you can reverse roles.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

We highly believe that this is one of the best 5-minute games that promotes listening and replication skills. That can be highly important for detail-oriented tasks in work environments. It’s interactive and requires keen observation and communication to succeed.

9. Listen Up

listen up

  • Objective: To practice participants listening skills in an activity that encourages them to share their views on controversial topics

  • Participants: 4 to 14 people

  • Duration: 4 to 8 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: An identical set of 10 to 15 index cards for each team

We love this activity because, as mentioned above, good listeners promote improvements in teams.

We also love this activity because it promotes and focuses on producing open-minded team members. Studies have shown, over and over again, that open-mindedness in a team reaps many positive outcomes, such as improved team performance and increased knowledge sharing.

Instructions

  1. Write on each index card a different controversial topic.

  2. Have the participants pair up and give each pair a set of index cards.

  3. One partner draws a card and speaks for 3 minutes nonstop about their views on the topic 1. during this time, the other partner must not say anything.

  4. After 3 minutes, the partner has 1 minute to recap what they heard. They should not rebut, debate, or agree - just summarise.

  5. To make the game longer, you can always have partners switch roles and repeat with a new topic.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

Listen Up enhances listening skills by having team members discuss and then recall details on various topics. We love that it promotes active listening and understanding in a personal and impactful way.

10. Me, Myself and I

me, myself and i

  • Objective: To encourage participants to realize that their communication is often self-centered in an activity that forces participants to communicate about things other than themselves

  • Participants: 4 to 14 people

  • Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

The last activity on our list but still one of our favorites… We love this activity because it enhances communication and cooperation within teams.

It also encourages team members to think less about themselves and more about others.

Instructions

  1. Pair up your participants.

  2. One partner must speak for 3 minutes non-stop - they must continue talking without any pauses. They can speak about any topic, but they may never use the word “I.”

  3. The listening partner of the group must not speak at all.

  4. Get the listening partner to summarise what was said briefly.

  5. To make the game longer, you can then reverse roles and repeat.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

This activity challenges participants to communicate effectively without being self-centered. It can also raise awareness of others and improving team dialogue dynamics.

11. This or That

this or that

  • Objective: Team Bonding & Get To Know One Another

  • Participants: 4 to 15 people

  • Duration: 5 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

We love this or that because it gets people talking about themselves, which even if we can’t always admit it, we all secretly love to do.

This activity aims to allow everyone to learn more about their co-workers and their preferences for things.

Instructions

To be honest with you, this game's rules are really quite simple and don’t warrant a numbered list of instructions.

The most straightforward way to play this game is to go through a few rounds where participants have to choose what they would prefer between two given options or even let each member take turns but create a time limit.

You can make it even more engaging by playing variations of this game, like pairing people up and having one member try to guess what the other’s preference would be before they answer. Or you can even make it even more fun and give the guesser two truths and one lie to see if they can distinguish between the three.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

This or That offers a quick and engaging way for team members to make choices between two options, revealing preferences and personalities. It's an effective icebreaker that stimulates conversation with very little preparation.

12. Bucket List

bucket list

  • Objective: Get everyone to share what is on their bucket list

  • Participants: 5 to 15 people

  • Duration: 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

Despite sometimes feeling shy, to begin with, we can all admit that we love talking about ourselves.

A simple way to get new recruits to talk about themselves is with this classic team-building activity.

This activity can also give you an incredible insight into your virtual team's motivation and driving factors, both at work and outside of work.

Instructions

Again, the instructions are super simple.

Get each team member to express what five things are on their bucket list. Depending on their answer, this also gives you ample opportunity to provide value to them beyond your professional relationship.

For example, if you find out that one person puts an items on their bucket list about traveling, then you can send them some information about a country they’re interested in visiting.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

Activities like Bucket List are great because they encourage team members to share their personal goals and dreams. This is an effective way to spur deeper understanding and connection. While brief, sharing aspirations can be quite impactful when you aim to promote empathy and bonding within the team.

13. Show and Tell

  • Objective: To get team members to know one another well and to focus on confidence-building

  • Participants: 5 to 100

  • Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

show and tell

Yes, you read that right; we’re taking this back to high school.

While this might be a little cheesy and awkward at the start, this is an extraordinary team building activity that helps the presenter build their own confidence - we love this activity because research has found that increased confidence (self-efficacy) predicts individual performance and satisfaction within teams.

We all know that highly satisfied employees work better together and produce better organizational outcomes... so use this activity to get everyone's confidence boosted!

Instructions

  1. Set aside a time, once a week, to hold a regular show and tell session.

  2. Ask two to three people to bring something in from home and tell everyone the story behind it.

  3. You can make this more interesting by giving your show and tell a theme like “Something that motivates you” or “What best represents your leadership style?”.

What Makes This a Great 5-minute Activity

Show and Tell allows individuals to share something meaningful with the team, whether it's a personal item or a hobby. This activity enhances personal connections and gives insights into what each team member values, all within a short and manageable timeframe.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of team-building activities?

There are many benefits to team-building activities, and it does not matter how long they take. It increases your team's productivity and motivation. By completing these collaborative activities, it gives your employees a boost of confidence while creating strong, engaging bonds.

What is the purpose of team-building activities?

These activities are meant to be stress relievers while creating a collaborative bond. These team-building games are designed to help your team feel more comfortable working with each other and build a sense of community.

When done right, even a quick team-building activity can improve team morale, problem-solving skills, and adherence to company culture over time. It's also a great way for new team members to break the ice and get to know the rest of the team.

How do I select an appropriate team-building activity for my group?

Any of these activities are perfect for remote diverse teams, but we suggest picking the activity based on what you are trying to achieve as a group. For example, if you are trying to practice listening skills, Listen Up is perfect for you!

Conclusion

And there you have it. Those are our favorite 5-minute team-building activities for maximum fun and employee engagement. We hope you've liked our list and hope this list helps you build a great team!

Heather Harper

Article by

Heather Harper

Heather Harper has a Masters in Occupational Psychological from the University of Manchester. She currently works as an editorial writer specialising in organizational psychology - helping teams work better together.

Engage your team like never before
Take our free 21 day trial for a spin.

Try QuizBreaker For Free
  • Get set up in 3 minutes
  • Free Onboarding Support
  • 21 Day Free Trial
  • Cancel Anytime

Questions? Contact us.

© 2024 SaasMates Pte. Ltd. 24 Raffles Place, #10-05 Clifford Centre, Singapore 048621. Terms & Privacy.