Most and least popular team building activities in the UK

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Photograph of a group of young colleagues doing team building at work with sticky notes on their heads

We analysed online searches to uncover the nation’s most and least favourite team building activities! 

Love them or hate them, team building activities are a crucial part of work life and a useful way to improve culture and happiness, but with 6 in 10 Brits admitting they find them a bit cringe, how can you ensure your next get-together is a hit instead of a miss?

Why team building is important

With so many people working from home or hybrid working, searches for team building have increased by 24% since last year as companies look for ways to start conversations and spur creativity while spending valuable time together. Team building can increase workplace confidence, happiness and productivity by strengthening bonds and friendships. It is also a great way to combat isolation while WFH.

Workplace friendships and connections have become a meaningful way to beat WFH isolation. People agree the best way to bond at work is through:

  • After work drinks – 46%
  • Connecting in office breakout areas – 30%
  • Team building weekends – 21%

Unfortunately, according to YouGov, 60% of people found their last workplace team building experience embarrassing, with most admitting they’d rather be working. Some of the worst experiences shared include ‘building a boat, which sank’, ‘feeding my boss chocolate while lying on the floor’ and ‘forming a conga line with everyone blindfolded’

Considering this, the choice of team building event can significantly impact its effectiveness, and there are ways to make it more appealing.

Positively, four in ten people say team building helps them work together more effectively. The trick is finding an activity the group is invested in. 

Best and worst team building activities

Online searches for different team building activities give us an idea of what’s popular. We researched more than 30 different activities, including murder mysteries, obstacle courses, karaoke, pub quizzes, paintball and escape rooms, to find out which had the most significant demand increase this year.

The most searched teambuilding activities in the country vary.  

With an almost 200% increase in interest, Human Monopoly is the most in-demand activity, followed by Yoga and happy hour socialising.

Some classic teambuilding activities have dipped in popularity, like murder mysteries and escape rooms, while activities like paddle boarding and bubble football are at the bottom of the list.

ActivityRise in interest since last year
Human Monopoly+182%
Happy Hour+49%
Cooking Class+23%
ActivityDecrease in interest since last year
Murder mystery-33%
Escape room-33%
Bubble football-19%

Preferred activities by city

We also looked at the most searched team building activities by city and created a map listing the top two across the country. Londoners are keen on a good old-fashioned drink at the pub, while employees in Birmingham are interested in something a bit more creative and structured, like an art class.

Teams in Glasgow enjoy a picnic when the sun’s out, while those in Bristol are keen on a group culinary experience, with searches for cooking classes increasing by 320%.

Below you can see each city and the activity with the highest growth in interest.

CityTeam building activityRise in interest since last year
LondonHappy hour128%
BirminghamArt class133%
LiverpoolHappy hour175%
BristolCooking class320%
ManchesterHuman Monopoly100%
SheffieldHuman Monopoly100%
LeedsGo Kart racing300%
EdinburghHuman Monopoly100%
LeicesterAxe throwing91%
BradfordHappy hour200%
CardiffHappy hour400
BelfastLife drawing200%
NottinghamSports day367%
Kingston upon HullIt’s a knockout125%
Newcastle upon TyneArt class400%
Stoke-on-TrentBubble football100%
SouthamptonBook club200%
DerbyLife drawing175%
PortsmouthCocktail making100%
BrightonScavenger hunt125%
PlymouthLife drawing100%

How to plan teambuilding activities your team will enjoy

Make connection part of your culture

Trust and communication start with culture. By encouraging open, transparent interactions between teams, relationships and rapport will strengthen, making the need to spend time together more appealing. Find out more about how to build a happy team.

Give everyone a voice

Create a safe and comfortable space by offering social and active events that suit a wide range of people. Not everyone drinks or can be active, just like not everyone enjoys being competitive or an extrovert. Avoid putting people in stressful situations by enabling everyone to vote or have a say on the activities offered.

Don’t force fun   

Workplace team building activities have a bad reputation for being mandatory, creating a negative atmosphere. Instead of an environment of forced fun, spend time working on your culture and relationships within the business, and empower people to get more involved. Socialising, connection and wanting to spend time together will start to happen naturally.

Looking for an office space that promotes collaboration and connection? Try a coworking space in your favourite location, anywhere in the world. Start your search here.   

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