Cut stress/raise morale: 9 one minute games for employees

by Patrick

Periodically playing games with your employees (no, we’re not talking mind games) is a great way to build camaraderie and provide a much-needed break from the stresses of a workday (or workweek), all while building team morale. For some easy and fun employee engagement ideas, see our post here or make up your own team-building game.

As good as these (and your) ideas are, sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to team-building and stress release. Never fear! Save the longer games for once a week (or every other week), and try these one-minute game ideas for a quick bit of fun that everyone is sure to enjoy.

Game #1: Pick up M&Ms with chopsticks
This is a great game to play as teams or individually. It's very different to normal work (unlike Game #2 so it should be very effective at cutting stress). You’ll need a lot of M&Ms, bowls, chopsticks if you play it as individuals but it’ well worth the outlay in materials (plus everyone gets to eat the M&Ms when the game is finished). Instruct participants to pick up and move as many M&Ms as possible from one bowl to another (the second bowl should be empty) in one minute using nothing but the provided chopsticks. The person with the most wins.

Pick up M&Ms with chopsticks - game

Game #2: One-minute typing test
This is a quick and easy way to play a game with your employees. Google “typing test” or “one minute typing test” and you’ll find numerous websites that calculate typing speed. Pick one and use it for this exercise. You can set up the website on one computer and have employees take turns or you can give everyone the website (if they have access to the internet) and all employees do it at the same time. If possible, find a website that factors in mistakes and backspaces for a more of a challenge – here is one .

Game #3: Blow up balloons
Just like it sounds: Teams attempt to blow up (and tie) as many balloons as possible. Make sure to have PLENTY of balloons on hand and get two different colors to make counting easier. Use this before a larger party to make decorating easier. Alternatively, you could then play the following game.

Game #4: One-minute treasure hunt
Label two sets of items with team names (team 1/team 2, red team/blue team, etc.). Hide each item throughout the office (you can hide one item for each team in the same place) – this is easier to do if you hide the items in a seldom-used location while your employees are working. Divide into two teams (names should reflect how you labeled the items). Give each team one minute to find as many items as possible that contain their team name.

The team that gets the most items wins. If both teams get all items, the team to get all items and return to start fastest wins. While technically this treasure hunt game takes more than one minute, the entire game start to finish will probably take five minutes or less.

One-minute office treasure hunt

Game #5: One-minute trivia game
Write ten to twenty trivia questions on a sheet of paper (use both sides) and make enough copies for each employee. Gather everyone together and give everyone one minute to answer as many questions as possible. The person to answer the most questions wins. Offer prizes for second and third as well.

Game #6: Keep 3 balloons aloft for one minute
Again, while not technically a game that can be played from start to finish in one minute, this game is a great way to get staff out of their seats and provide a short diversion during the workday. The game is exactly as it sounds: each person attempts to keep three balloons aloft for one minute. You could divide into two teams and, provided enough room, have one person from each team attempt this feat at the same time (you’d need six balloons in that case – perhaps 3 red and 3 blue). It’s harder than it sounds and you may want to see – while shooting for a minute – who can go the longest. Time each member of the team, add up the individual times, and the team that has the longest time wins. Permutations abound for this game so use your imagination.

 Buzzword game

Game #7: Buzzword This party game is a quick and fun way to organize a one or two-minute break in the workday. Of course, you’ll need the game Buzzword to make this work but that shouldn’t be too hard to find. Divide employees into two teams. Explain the rules which aren’t terribly difficult to understand and then give each team one minute to get guess as many phrases as possible. You may have to run more than one round to get a score where someone wins but this is still an exercise that is short and sweet…not to mention fun.

Game #8: Pop the balloons
Also just like it sounds (with a twist): Divide into two teams – or get each team to nominate one member – and instruct participants to pop as many balloons as possible in one minute WHILE WEARING OVEN MITTS OR BOXING GLOVES. Contestants cannot step on, sit on, bite, poke, or use any other implement but their hands to pop the balloons.

Game #9: Separate the beans
You will need plenty of desk space and a fair amount of beans for this game but it’s a quick and fun diversion. Purchase two bags of kidney beans and two bags of chickpeas (or any type of beans that differ in color or shape). Separate one bag of kidney beans and one bag of chickpeas into a bowl for each team (you’ll also need four empty bowls for the sorting). Divide into two teams and then instruct teams to separate the beans into type. The team that gets the most kidney beans and the most chickpeas in one minutes wins.

Employee engagement and team-building don’t have to be full (or half) day activities. These one-minute game ideas can be interspersed throughout the day for a welcome diversion from the stress and strain of a hectic work environment.

Source: Image 1; Images 2 Images 3

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