- Professional Services
- Creative & Design
- See all teams
- Project Management
- Workflow Management
- Task Management
- Resource Management
- See all use cases
Apps & Integrations
- Microsoft Teams
- See all integrations
- Book a Demo
- Take a Product Tour
- Start With Templates
- Customer Stories
- ROI Calculator
- Find a Reseller
- Mobile & Desktop Apps
- Kanban Boards
- Project Resource Planning
- Gantt Charts
- Custom Item Types
- Dynamic Request Forms
- See all features
Learn and connect
- Resource Hub
- Educational Guides
Become Wrike Pro
- Submit A Ticket
- Help Center
- Premium Support
- Community Topics
- Training Courses
- Facilitated Services
Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master
By Brianna Hansen , May 27, 2022 - 10 min read
Some people see problems as roadblocks, others see them as opportunities! Problem-solving activities are a great way to get to know how members of your team work, both individually and together. It’s important to teach your team strategies to help them quickly overcome obstacles in the way of achieving project goals.
In this article, you’ll explore 15 problem-solving activities designed to enhance collaboration and creativity. Additionally, if you want to discuss the insights and outcomes with your team after the activities, you can use Wrike’s actionable meeting notes template. This template allows you to record meeting discussions, assign action items, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
The importance of problem-solving skills in today’s workplace
According to a 2019 report by McKinsey , soft skills are increasingly important in today's world — and problem-solving is the top area in which skills are lacking. A company or team’s success weighs heavily on the willingness of managers to help employees improve their problem-solving abilities. Team building activities targeting focus areas like communication and collaboration, adaptability, or strengthening decision-making techniques help.
All problem-solving processes start with identifying the problem. Next, the team must assess potential courses of action and choose the best way to tackle the problem. This requires a deep understanding of your team and its core strengths. A problem-solving exercise or game helps identify those strengths and builds problem-solving skills and strategies while having fun with your team.
Problem-solving games aren't for just any team. Participants must have an open mind and accept all ideas and solutions . They must also have an Agile mindset and embrace different structures, planning, and processes. Problems usually arise when we least expect them, so there's no better way to prepare than to encourage agility and flexibility.
Another aspect to keep in mind when engaging in problem-solving games and activities: There are no winners or losers. Sure, some games might end with a single winner, but the true goal of these exercises is to learn how to work together as a team to develop an Agile mindset. The winning team of each game should share their strategies and thought processes at the end of the exercise to help everyone learn.
Here’s a list of fun problem-solving activity examples to try with your team. From blindfolds to raw eggs, these problem-solving, team-building activities will have your team solving problems faster than Scooby and the gang.
Classic team-building, problem-solving activities
1. a shrinking vessel.
Helps with: Adaptability
Why adaptability is important for problem-solving: Adaptability is highly associated with cognitive diversity, which helps teams solve problems faster , according to the Harvard Business Review. Innovation and disruption are happening faster than ever before . People, teams, and organizations that can adapt will come out on top.
What you’ll need:
- A rope or string
1. Using the rope, make a shape on the floor everyone can fit into.
2. Slowly shrink the space over 10-15 minutes.
3. Work together to figure out how to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries.
2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
Helps with: Collaboration
Why collaboration is important for problem-solving: “Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually,” writes Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline . We can solve problems better as a team than we can alone, which means developing your team’s collaboration skills will lead to better problem-solving outcomes.
What you’ll need (per team):
- 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
- 1 roll of masking tape
- 1 yard of string
- 1 marshmallow
1. The goal of this exercise is to see which team can use the materials provided to build the tallest tower within an allotted time period. The tower must be able to stand on its own.
2. To make this exercise more challenging, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower. This team problem-solving exercise helps people think on their toes while building camaraderie and leadership.
3. Egg Drop
Helps with: Collaboration, decision-making
Why decision-making is important for problem-solving: Making decisions isn’t easy , but indecision leads to team paralysis, stagnant thinking, and unsolved problems. Decision-making activities help your team practice making quick, effective choices. Train your team’s decision-making muscles and they will become more adept at problem-solving.
- A carton of eggs
- Basic construction materials such as newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc., tarp, or drop cloth
- A parking lot, or some other place you don’t mind getting messy!
1. Each team gets an egg and must select from the construction materials.
2. Give everyone 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier for the egg and protect it from breaking.
3. Drop each egg carrier off a ledge (i.e. over a balcony) and see whose carrier protects the egg from breaking.
4. If multiple eggs survive, keep increasing the height until only one egg is left.
Helps with: Communication, decision-making
Why communication is important for problem-solving: More employees work remotely than ever before. Good communication skills are vital to solving problems across virtual teams . Working on communication skills while your team is together will help them solve problems more effectively when they’re apart.
Here's the setting: Your team has been stranded in the office. The doors are locked, and knocking down the doors or breaking the windows is not an option. Give your team 30 minutes to decide on ten items in the office they need for survival and rank them in order of importance. The goal of the game is to have everyone agree on the ten items and their rankings in 30 minutes.
Creative problem-solving activities
Helps with: Communication
What you'll need:
1. Divide everyone into small teams of two or more.
2. Select an overseer who isn't on a team to build a random structure using Lego building blocks within ten minutes.
3. The other teams must replicate the structure exactly (including size and color) within 15 minutes. However, only one member from each group may look at the original structure. They must figure out how to communicate the size, color, and shape of the original structure to their team.
4. If this is too easy, add a rule that the member who can see the original structure can't touch the new structure.
- A lockable room
- 5-10 puzzles or clues (depending on how much time you want to spend on the game)
1. The goal of this exercise is to solve the clues, find the key, and escape a locked room within the time allotted.
2. Hide the key and a list of clues around the room.
3. Gather the team into the empty room and "lock" the door.
4. Give them 30 minutes to an hour to find the key using the clues hidden around the room.
Helps with: Decision-making, adaptability
- A blindfold
- 1 packet of construction materials (such as card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team
- An electric fan
Instructions: Your employees are Arctic explorers adventuring across an icy tundra! Separate them into teams of four or five and have them select a leader to guide their exploration. Each team must build a shelter from the materials provided before the storm hits in 30 minutes. However, both the team leader’s hands have frostbite, so they can’t physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. When the 30 minutes is up, turn on the fan and see which shelter can withstand the high winds of the storm.
- An empty room or hallway
- A collection of common office items
1. Place the items (boxes, chairs, water bottles, bags, etc.) around the room so there's no clear path from one end of the room to the other.
2. Divide your team into pairs and blindfold one person on the team.
3. The other must verbally guide that person from one end of the room to the other, avoiding the "mines."
4. The partner who is not blindfolded can't touch the other.
5. If you want to make the activity more challenging, have all the pairs go simultaneously so teams must find ways to strategically communicate with each other.
9. Blind Formations
1. Have the group put on blindfolds and form a large circle.
2. Tie two ends of a rope together and lay it in a circle in the middle of the group, close enough so each person can reach down and touch it.
3. Instruct the group to communicate to create a shape with the rope — a square, triangle, rectangle, etc.
4. If you have a very large group, divide them into teams and provide a rope for each team. Let them compete to see who forms a particular shape quickest.
Quick and easy problem-solving activities
10. line up blind.
1. Blindfold everyone and whisper a number to each person, beginning with one.
2. Tell them to line up in numerical order without talking.
3. Instead of giving them a number, you could also have them line up numerically by height, age, birthday, etc.
11. Reverse Pyramid
Helps with: Adaptability, collaboration
1. Have everyone stand in a pyramid shape, horizontally.
2. Ask them to flip the base and the apex of the pyramid moving only three people.
3. This quick exercise works best when smaller groups compete to see who can reverse the pyramid the fastest.
12. Move It!
- Chalk, rope, tape, or paper (something to mark a space)
1. Divide your group into two teams and line them up front to back, facing each other.
2. Using the chalk, tape, rope, or paper (depending on the playing surface), mark a square space for each person to stand on. Leave one extra empty space between the two facing rows.
3. The goal is for the two facing lines of players to switch places.
4. Place these restrictions on movement:
- Only one person may move at a time.
- A person may not move around anyone facing the same direction.
- No one may not move backward.
- A person may not move around more than one person on the other team at a time.
13. Human Knot
1. Have everyone stand in a circle, and ask each person to hold hands with two people who aren’t directly next to them.
2. When everyone is tangled together, ask them to untangle the knot and form a perfect circle — without letting go of anyone's hand.
Our last two problem-solving activities work best when dealing with an actual problem:
14. Dumbest Idea First
Helps with: Instant problem-solving
1. "Dumb" ideas are sometimes the best ideas. Ask everyone to think of the absolute dumbest possible solution to the problem at hand.
2. After you have a long list, look through it and see which ones might not be as dumb as you think.
3. Brainstorm your solutions in Wrike. It's free and everyone can start collaborating instantly!
15. What Would X Do
1. Have everyone pretend they're someone famous.
2. Each person must approach the problem as if they were their chosen famous person. What options would they consider? How would they handle it?
3. This allows everyone to consider solutions they might not have thought of originally.
Looking for more team-building and virtual meeting games? Check out these virtual icebreaker games or our Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities that Don't Suck.
Additional resources on problem-solving activities
- Problem-Solving Model : Looking for a model to provide a problem-solving structure? This detailed guide gives you the tools to quickly solve any problem.
- The Simplex Process: Popularized by Min Basadur's book, The Power of Innovation , the Simplex Process provides training and techniques for each problem-solving stage. It helps frame problem-solving as a continuous cycle, rather than a “one and done” process.
- Fun Problem-Solving Activities and Games : Looking for more ideas? Check out this list of interesting and creative problem-solving activities for adults and kids!
- The Secret to Better Problem-Solving: This article provides tips, use cases, and fresh examples to help you become a whiz at solving the toughest problems.
How to organize problem-solving activities with Wrike
If you want to make problem-solving activities more effective, consider using team collaboration software such as Wrike.
Wrike’s pre-built actionable meeting notes template helps you keep track of meeting discussions, assign action items, and keep everyone in the loop. It’s an effective tool to streamline your problem-solving sessions and turn insights into real projects.
6 different team effectiveness models to understand your team better.
Understanding these 6 team effectiveness models can help you figure out which model to
5 Unexpected Ways To Improve Team Collaboration
The general trend these days is toward open office plans, where cubicle walls and office
Making Mistakes at Work: What to Do if You're in the Wrong
All of us have felt the fear of admitting when we’ve made a mistake at work. We may be
Get weekly updates in your inbox!
You are now subscribed to wrike news and updates.
Let us know what marketing emails you are interested in by updating your email preferences here .
Sorry, this content is unavailable due to your privacy settings. To view this content, click the “Cookie Preferences” button and accept Advertising Cookies there.
FIND A MEDIATOR QUICK LISTS
- Mediators Listed by State/City
- Mediators Listed by Practice Area
- Mediator Services
- Mediate University
- Statewide Banner
- Online Meeting Room
- About Mediation
- Public Policy
Seven Steps for Effective Problem Solving in the Workplace
Problem-solving and decision-making. Ask anyone in the workplace if these activities are part of their day and they answer ‘Yes!’ But how many of us have had training in problem-solving? We know it’s a critical element of our work, but do we know how to do it effectively?
People tend to do three things when faced with a problem: they get afraid or uncomfortable and wish it would go away; they feel that they have to come up with an answer and it has to be the right answer; and they look for someone to blame. Being faced with a problem becomes a problem. And that’s a problem because, in fact, there are always going to be problems!
There are two reasons why we tend to see a problem as a problem: it has to be solved and we’re not sure how to find the best solution, and there will probably be conflicts about what the best solution is. Most of us tend to be “conflict-averse”. We don’t feel comfortable dealing with conflict and we tend to have the feeling that something bad is going to happen. The goal of a good problem-solving process is to make us and our organization more “conflict-friendly” and “conflict-competent”.
There are two important things to remember about problems and conflicts: they happen all the time and they are opportunities to improve the system and the relationships. They are actually providing us with information that we can use to fix what needs fixing and do a better job. Looked at in this way, we can almost begin to welcome problems! (Well, almost.)
Because people are born problem solvers, the biggest challenge is to overcome the tendency to immediately come up with a solution. Let me say that again. The most common mistake in problem solving is trying to find a solution right away. That’s a mistake because it tries to put the solution at the beginning of the process, when what we need is a solution at the end of the process.
Here are seven-steps for an effective problem-solving process.
1. Identify the issues.
- Be clear about what the problem is.
- Remember that different people might have different views of what the issues are.
- Separate the listing of issues from the identification of interests (that’s the next step!).
2. Understand everyone’s interests.
- This is a critical step that is usually missing.
- Interests are the needs that you want satisfied by any given solution. We often ignore our true interests as we become attached to one particular solution.
- The best solution is the one that satisfies everyone’s interests.
- This is the time for active listening. Put down your differences for awhile and listen to each other with the intention to understand.
- Separate the naming of interests from the listing of solutions.
3. List the possible solutions (options)
- This is the time to do some brainstorming. There may be lots of room for creativity.
- Separate the listing of options from the evaluation of the options.
4. Evaluate the options.
- What are the pluses and minuses? Honestly!
- Separate the evaluation of options from the selection of options.
5. Select an option or options.
- What’s the best option, in the balance?
- Is there a way to “bundle” a number of options together for a more satisfactory solution?
6. Document the agreement(s).
- Don’t rely on memory.
- Writing it down will help you think through all the details and implications.
7. Agree on contingencies, monitoring, and evaluation.
- Conditions may change. Make contingency agreements about foreseeable future circumstances (If-then!).
- How will you monitor compliance and follow-through?
- Create opportunities to evaluate the agreements and their implementation. (“Let’s try it this way for three months and then look at it.”)
Effective problem solving does take some time and attention more of the latter than the former. But less time and attention than is required by a problem not well solved. What it really takes is a willingness to slow down. A problem is like a curve in the road. Take it right and you’ll find yourself in good shape for the straightaway that follows. Take it too fast and you may not be in as good shape.
Working through this process is not always a strictly linear exercise. You may have to cycle back to an earlier step. For example, if you’re having trouble selecting an option, you may have to go back to thinking about the interests.
This process can be used in a large group, between two people, or by one person who is faced with a difficult decision. The more difficult and important the problem, the more helpful and necessary it is to use a disciplined process. If you’re just trying to decide where to go out for lunch, you probably don’t need to go through these seven steps!
Don’t worry if it feels a bit unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first. You’ll have lots of opportunities to practice!
Tim Hicks is a conflict management professional providing mediation, facilitation, training, coaching, and consulting to individuals and organizations. From 2006 to 2014 he led the Master’s degree program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at the University of Oregon as its first director. He returned to private practice in 2015. Tim is… MORE >
Read these next, why divorce mediation makes sense.
During my more than 30 years of practicing law, I have found that the great majority of divorcing couples are unaware of an alternative to going to court and having...
Learning The Language Of Mediation: What The Fly Heard
“I would love to be a fly on the wall of a real mediation.” Learning the language of mediation: What the fly heard Many of my mediation students have said...
Shifting the Focus from Mediating the Problem to Mediating the Moment
It is our ability to think that makes us a mediator, lawyer or social scientist not our acquired knowledge of the subject or field. Although knowledge acquisition is an important...
- Contact Sales
- Download App
- Collaboration |
- Turn your team into skilled problem sol ...
Turn your team into skilled problem solvers with these problem-solving strategies
Picture this, you're handling your daily tasks at work and your boss calls you in and says, "We have a problem."
Unfortunately, we don't live in a world in which problems are instantly resolved with the snap of our fingers. Knowing how to effectively solve problems is an important professional skill to hone. If you have a problem that needs to be solved, what is the right process to use to ensure you get the most effective solution?
In this article we'll break down the problem-solving process and how you can find the most effective solutions for complex problems.
What is problem solving?
Problem solving is the process of finding a resolution for a specific issue or conflict. There are many possible solutions for solving a problem, which is why it's important to go through a problem-solving process to find the best solution. You could use a flathead screwdriver to unscrew a Phillips head screw, but there is a better tool for the situation. Utilizing common problem-solving techniques helps you find the best solution to fit the needs of the specific situation, much like using the right tools.
Decision-making tools for agile businesses
In this ebook, learn how to equip employees to make better decisions—so your business can pivot, adapt, and tackle challenges more effectively than your competition.
4 steps to better problem solving
While it might be tempting to dive into a problem head first, take the time to move step by step. Here’s how you can effectively break down the problem-solving process with your team:
1. Identify the problem that needs to be solved
One of the easiest ways to identify a problem is to ask questions. A good place to start is to ask journalistic questions, like:
Who : Who is involved with this problem? Who caused the problem? Who is most affected by this issue?
What: What is happening? What is the extent of the issue? What does this problem prevent from moving forward?
Where: Where did this problem take place? Does this problem affect anything else in the immediate area?
When: When did this problem happen? When does this problem take effect? Is this an urgent issue that needs to be solved within a certain timeframe?
Why: Why is it happening? Why does it impact workflows?
How: How did this problem occur? How is it affecting workflows and team members from being productive?
Asking journalistic questions can help you define a strong problem statement so you can highlight the current situation objectively, and create a plan around that situation.
Here’s an example of how a design team uses journalistic questions to identify their problem:
Overarching problem: Design requests are being missed
Who: Design team, digital marketing team, web development team
What: Design requests are forgotten, lost, or being created ad hoc.
Where: Email requests, design request spreadsheet
When: Missed requests on January 20th, January 31st, February 4th, February 6th
How : Email request was lost in inbox and the intake spreadsheet was not updated correctly. The digital marketing team had to delay launching ads for a few days while design requests were bottlenecked. Designers had to work extra hours to ensure all requests were completed.
In this example, there are many different aspects of this problem that can be solved. Using journalistic questions can help you identify different issues and who you should involve in the process.
2. Brainstorm multiple solutions
If at all possible, bring in a facilitator who doesn't have a major stake in the solution. Bringing an individual who has little-to-no stake in the matter can help keep your team on track and encourage good problem-solving skills.
Here are a few brainstorming techniques to encourage creative thinking:
Brainstorm alone before hand: Before you come together as a group, provide some context to your team on what exactly the issue is that you're brainstorming. This will give time for you and your teammates to have some ideas ready by the time you meet.
Say yes to everything (at first): When you first start brainstorming, don't say no to any ideas just yet—try to get as many ideas down as possible. Having as many ideas as possible ensures that you’ll get a variety of solutions. Save the trimming for the next step of the strategy.
Talk to team members one-on-one: Some people may be less comfortable sharing their ideas in a group setting. Discuss the issue with team members individually and encourage them to share their opinions without restrictions—you might find some more detailed insights than originally anticipated.
Break out of your routine: If you're used to brainstorming in a conference room or over Zoom calls, do something a little different! Take your brainstorming meeting to a coffee shop or have your Zoom call while you're taking a walk. Getting out of your routine can force your brain out of its usual rut and increase critical thinking.
3. Define the solution
After you brainstorm with team members to get their unique perspectives on a scenario, it's time to look at the different strategies and decide which option is the best solution for the problem at hand. When defining the solution, consider these main two questions: What is the desired outcome of this solution and who stands to benefit from this solution?
Set a deadline for when this decision needs to be made and update stakeholders accordingly. Sometimes there's too many people who need to make a decision. Use your best judgement based on the limitations provided to do great things fast.
4. Implement the solution
To implement your solution, start by working with the individuals who are as closest to the problem. This can help those most affected by the problem get unblocked. Then move farther out to those who are less affected, and so on and so forth. Some solutions are simple enough that you don’t need to work through multiple teams.
After you prioritize implementation with the right teams, assign out the ongoing work that needs to be completed by the rest of the team. This can prevent people from becoming overburdened during the implementation plan . Once your solution is in place, schedule check-ins to see how the solution is working and course-correct if necessary.
Implement common problem-solving strategies
There are a few ways to go about identifying problems (and solutions). Here are some strategies you can try, as well as common ways to apply them:
Trial and error
Trial and error problem solving doesn't usually require a whole team of people to solve. To use trial and error problem solving, identify the cause of the problem, and then rapidly test possible solutions to see if anything changes.
This problem-solving method is often used in tech support teams through troubleshooting.
The 5 whys problem-solving method helps get to the root cause of an issue. You start by asking once, “Why did this issue happen?” After answering the first why, ask again, “Why did that happen?” You'll do this five times until you can attribute the problem to a root cause.
This technique can help you dig in and find the human error that caused something to go wrong. More importantly, it also helps you and your team develop an actionable plan so that you can prevent the issue from happening again.
Here’s an example:
Problem: The email marketing campaign was accidentally sent to the wrong audience.
“Why did this happen?” Because the audience name was not updated in our email platform.
“Why were the audience names not changed?” Because the audience segment was not renamed after editing.
“Why was the audience segment not renamed?” Because everybody has an individual way of creating an audience segment.
“Why does everybody have an individual way of creating an audience segment?” Because there is no standardized process for creating audience segments.
“Why is there no standardized process for creating audience segments?” Because the team hasn't decided on a way to standardize the process as the team introduced new members.
In this example, we can see a few areas that could be optimized to prevent this mistake from happening again. When working through these questions, make sure that everyone who was involved in the situation is present so that you can co-create next steps to avoid the same problem.
A SWOT analysis
A SWOT analysis can help you highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a specific solution. SWOT stands for:
Strength: Why is this specific solution a good fit for this problem?
Weaknesses: What are the weak points of this solution? Is there anything that you can do to strengthen those weaknesses?
Opportunities: What other benefits could arise from implementing this solution?
Threats: Is there anything about this decision that can detrimentally impact your team?
As you identify specific solutions, you can highlight the different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each solution.
This particular problem-solving strategy is good to use when you're narrowing down the answers and need to compare and contrast the differences between different solutions.
Even more successful problem solving
After you’ve worked through a tough problem, don't forget to celebrate how far you've come. Not only is this important for your team of problem solvers to see their work in action, but this can also help you become a more efficient, effective , and flexible team. The more problems you tackle together, the more you’ll achieve.
Looking for a tool to help solve problems on your team? Track project implementation with a work management tool like Asana .
Marketing leaders talk AI: How to optimize your tech stack
When to use collaboration vs. coordination
3 tips to drive operational excellence from T-Mobile's PMO
6 tips to use portfolios for cross-project planning
How to Nail your next Technical Interview
You may be missing out on a 66.5% salary hike*, nick camilleri, how many years of coding experience do you have, free course on 'sorting algorithms' by omkar deshpande (stanford phd, head of curriculum, ik).
How to Use Problem-Solving Skills in the Workplace
" We've been stuck at it for a week now, " thought Frank to himself. His team came across a simple bin-packing problem surrounding consecutive character strings that were seemingly impossible to solve, and had been running into the same error message every time someone hit the ‘Compile’ button.
The new guy on his team ( his first day ), who had been quiet the whole day, walked to the whiteboard and started jotting down something. When he was done, five minutes later, a solution pattern popped right out the whiteboard.
" Gosh! How did he do that? "
Well, we'll find out. Here's what we'll be covering in this article:
- What exactly is problem-solving?
- What will be the employer or manager looking for in you?
- How to approach a workplace problem?
- Problem-solving techniques in the workplace
Step 1: Thoroughly understand the problem
Step 2: Define the problem
Step 3: Strategize a solution
Step 4: Find alternate solutions
Step 5: Evaluate solutions and document everything
Step 6: Choose a solution
Step 7: Implement
Step 8: Monitor progress and make modifications accordingly
- What essential problem-solving skills do employers search for during the interview?
- How to highlight problem-solving skills in your resume?
What exactly is problem-solving?
Problems are a massive part of what we do in our day-to-day lives, be it at your home or workplace.
Problem-solving is the complete process of understanding and defining the problem, brainstorming a solution, finding alternatives, implementing the best solution, and making adjustments based on the outcome.
What do hiring managers look for?
One's problem-solving ability is a harmonious accord between instinct and immense practice. As your technical skills age with experience, so does your ability to identify patterns and solve problems effectively.
Almost each and every employer looks for effective problem-solving skills in a candidate when making a hiring decision. They look for an aspirant's natural talent to dig up patterns, look at the problem with a fresh perspective, and be realistic while providing solutions.
How to approach a workplace problem?
During computer science classes, you will find two types of students.
The first batch has a mindset that algorithms and data structures are only useful for passing the finals and getting an edge over others in interviews.
The second batch loves programming and aspires to write codes from scratch for each new project that they come across.While both mindsets may be partially correct, they do not hold up much.
In real-life situations and as part of an organization, your job drastically changes to one objective only: ' write the right amount of good code. '
For most projects, you will need to write quick, efficient codes to overcome difficult roadblocks. And the only way to achieve that skill is by getting acquainted with as many problems as possible.
Solve as many problems as possible. Learn as many Data Structures and Algorithms as you can. Get acquainted with the basics of reusing a chunk of code. Make StackOverflow your default homepage.
Does that seem too groundbreaking? Let us simplify it for you.
Problem-solving techniques in the workplace
See, a lot of people understand the problem at hand and the syntax or logic that might explain the issue. The primary thing you need to learn is how to convert your thoughts into code to all the creative geniuses out there.
If you need a comprehensive set of instructions, here are the problem-solving steps that you can adopt in your day-to-day lifestyle. This procedure applies not only to coding problems but also to other general hiccups.
While some have the mental affluence to solve problems on the go, keep practicing these daily, and you too will develop critical thinking skills.
The first and most crucial step in solving a problem is to comprehend the standing concepts behind it. Believe us when we say this, a lot of employees jump to providing suggestions before actually understanding what the problem is.
A quick way to gauge your understanding is verifying if you can explain the problem to someone else. This also ties into your communication skills, and employers will gauge your ability to converse issues and solutions effectively. It is, thus, also one of the essential interview preparation tips for you.
Hiring managers have a behavioral question that they like asking, which revolves around the following:
" How will you be explaining a complex technical concept to a person who is not very sound technically? "
Ask yourself these questions and make a note of the solutions as you go.
- What exactly is the end goal?
- What are the variables?
- Do you understand every concept revolving the problem?
- Are you familiar with the provided measurement units?
- What information is missing?
- Is there any unnecessary information?
- Can you verify the information from a bona fide source?
The next step in this process is accumulating every bit of necessary information so that you can start assembling a solution. Now, this isn't as easy as it sounds, and you can effortlessly mess up things during proceedings.
Strangely, at this time, do not focus on the solution. Instead, focus on defining the question.
Therefore, instead of saying ' the sale numbers need to be consistent in the next quarter, ' say ' the sale numbers are inconsistent. '
Based on the information you collected in step 1, start separating the facts from estimations. Analyze the procedures that have been used previously and make precise adjustments based on the company policies.
Now that you have understood the problem and defined it, start strategizing a solution for it based on your findings. Workplace solutions can be majorly categorized into two different kinds, i.e. tactical solutions and strategic solutions .
A tactical solution is a short-term fix for a standing obstacle, more like a workaround for an issue. Imagine reusing a piece of code from your last project to get around that pesky error message in your new one.
A strategic solution, on the other hand, is a long-term fix for an issue. Strategic solutions involve using a comprehensive series of steps to find the overall architecture of a problem.
Usually, workplaces adopt the following problem-solving strategies into their policies.
- Use logical reasoning
- Recognize patterns
- Reverse engineer the problem
- Try a different point of view
- Consider worst-case scenarios
- Relate to a more straightforward real-life problem
- Data organization
- Prepare a visual representation
- Take all possibilities into account
- Intelligent guessing and testing
Your goal as an employee should be to become as fluent in these strategies as possible. Once you can naturally zoom into the problem, you will be able to form a strategy within minutes, without having to write anything down.
Are you starting to understand how the new guy deduced a solution that quickly?
Keeping the goals and objectives in mind, understand that there's always more than one way to skin a cat . Invite your team members and other experienced guys to brainstorm ideas alongside you.
For each problem, you should be able to find at least THREE different points of view or solutions, each with a unique USP.
Here's a neat little trick you may find useful someday in your career. Invite everyone associated with the project to this brainstorming session. Making sure that everybody gets equal participation is one of the ways you can exhibit your leadership skills while forging strong workplace relationships.
Now that you have found alternate solutions as well, it's time to evaluate these solutions. You will need to assess each solution based on various factors and list down all the pros and cons of each alternative you found in solution 4.
Create a document or spreadsheet listing down the USPs of each alternative and the positive and negative consequences thereby. You can go on adding other columns such as budget constraints, time allocation, resource requirements, workforce, and other relevant data.
The ability to quickly evaluate solutions ties into your management skills. A manager will be able to evaluate and implement solutions based on such factors quickly. Train yourself to find as many parameters as you can find to analyze solutions effectively.
Basically, your main objective is to find one effective solution out of all the ones provided on the list. The solution you choose depends on various parameters, which can be one or all of the following:
- Company policies and procedures
You can promote strong work ethics by running the chosen solution by everyone in your team or involved in the project before implementing it. Also, select the employees who will be actively implementing it, and ask for their feedback.
Implementing a solution does not merely mean diving headfirst with anything that you do. After you have collected the feedback and communicated the solution to everybody involved, here's what you will need to do next.
First, redefine the objectives , in brief, to help get a better idea of the end goal. Develop a simple action plan with defined timelines for the solution that you agreed upon in the step above.
Implement the chosen solution according to the action plan. Then, identify the measurable parameters to track success and failure rates.
Finally, set up communication channels for regular feedback and a contingency plan in case of a failure.
The last problem-solving step involves actively monitoring how the solution performs in real life and if it meets the end goal for which it was adopted in the first place.
Tally how the solution functions compared to how you expected it to perform and document all changes. Check the feedback channel for any discrepancy or issues that arise during the process.
If you feel that any modification will further optimize the process, implement it after running it with your team.
Improving problem-solving skills for programmers
- Understand the question and classify it as Corner-case or Edge-case
- Simplify and optimize your steps
- Write line-by-line pseudo code, focusing on the logic and steps rather than the syntax
- Translate it into a code
- Debug and remove repetitions
- Write comments to help you understand
- Get feedback regularly
- Practice again
What essential problem-solving skills do employers search for in interviews?
Problem-solving in the workplace is one of the most sought-after skills in any organization. During the interview, if you can highlight your ability to find creative solutions quickly along with your technical skills , you definitely have a better chance of making it to the next round.
Hiring managers tend to leave specific questions open-ended; the notion being that without a trail for the candidate to follow, they'll be able to understand better how the candidate thinks.
Some of the crucial problem-solving skills that employers look for in the candidate include the following:
" Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. " – Helen Keller
Effective problem-solving encompasses teamwork. As a problem-solver ( and a leader ), you need to show empathy towards your teammates, develop effective feedback channels, and use their input to solve the problem at hand.
A good listener in the workplace will be able to gather more valuable information and then use them to find unique solutions in the least possible time. Additionally, an active listener encourages every team member to get involved in the problem-solving steps , listens to their feedback, and comes up with a profitable solution.
However, ' saying ' that you have good listening skills outright defeats the purpose.
During the interview , maintain your composure and LISTEN quietly to the problem at hand. Understand the problem and its root cause; only then provide a solution.
Irrespective of the nature of a problem, you need to be able to communicate the issue and any possible solution effectively to everybody else involved in the project. You need to brush up your delivery skills and learn which points to communicate first and last.
Interviewers may either ask your proficiency with various communication channels such as e-mail, phone, and text or give you a behavioral task and test your ability to communicate with others in real-life situations.
Creativity and critical thinking
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou
Employers in this day and age are always on the lookout for an innovative thinker, one who can see the problem with a new set of eyes and bring a unique perspective to the team. You need to be able to establish the balance between cause and effect quickly, anticipate long-term effects of a solution that you implement, and lead your team to a new direction when stuck.
More often than not, decision-making is closely tied to an employee's problem-solving ability . Besides implementing solutions that your team comes up with, you should also be able to foresee the long-term effects and prevent catastrophes.
With quality technical interview preparation courses , you can further understand the importance of this step.
How to highlight problem-solving skills in your resume?
Your resume is the first document that a hiring manager sees. The experience and skills you mention in your resume can help you secure an interview if it catches the recruiter's attention.
The first approach you can adopt is highlighting your analysis and problem-solving skills right under the hard skills. This approach shows that you are confident in your technical skills and can find and implement work-based solutions efficiently.
For a full-stack web developer, the following problem-solving skills can be mentioned.
Secondly, you can list your problem-solving ability under the work experience section. This is an excellent way to highlight your job experience and emphasizes that you learn and implement these skills in your work.
- Analyzed customer service feedback to predict interest in a sales campaign to attract a target audience group.
- Documented the standard processes and scripts using specialized software solutions which led to customer satisfaction increased by 45% in a quarter.
- Researched and launched a mobile app that reduced the school pickup time by 21 minutes.
- Altered the inventory safeguard protocols during hurricane season, saving $1 million in wastage.
Apart from using problem-solving skills in your workplace , a quick way to develop your skills is to ask many questions. Only by asking questions and analyzing the information at hand can you build a workplace reputation as someone who handles challenging situations wisely.
Attend our free webinar on how to nail your next technical interview.
How to schedule a meeting by email, understanding the different roles in ai jobs: from engineer to researcher, want to work in machine learning [2023 career guide], ready to enroll, next webinar starts in.
- [email protected]
17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities
Problem-solving is a critical skill for professionals and with team building problem-solving activities, you can sharpen your skills while having fun at the same time.
Updated on August 31, 2021
In the professional world, one thing is for sure: problem-solving is a vital skill if you want to survive and thrive. It’s a universal job skill that organizations seek in new potential employees and that managers look for when considering candidates for promotions.
But there’s a problem. According to Payscale , 60% of managers feel that new grads entering the workforce lack problem-solving abilities – making it the most commonly lacked soft skill.
Problem-solving skill needs to be practiced and perfected on an ongoing basis in order to be applied effectively when the time comes. And while there are tons of traditional approaches to becoming a better problem-solver, there’s another (much more interesting) option: team building problem solving activities.
The good news? This means learning and having fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And you can create a stronger team at the same time.
11 In-Person Team Building Problem Solving Activities for Your Work Group
1. cardboard boat building challenge, 2. egg drop , 3. clue murder mystery, 4. marshmallow spaghetti tower , 5. corporate escape room, 6. wild goose chase, 7. lost at sea , 8. domino effect challenge, 9. reverse pyramid , 10. ci: the crime investigators, 11. team pursuit, 5 virtual team building problem solving activities for your work group , 1. virtual escape room: mummy’s curse, 2. virtual clue murder mystery, 3. virtual escape room: jewel heist, 4. virtual code break , 5. virtual trivia time machine.
- 6. Virtual Jeoparty Social
There are a ton of incredible team building problem solving activities available. We’ve hand-picked 11 of our favorites that we think your corporate group will love too.
Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided: cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability! Nothing says problem-solving like having to make sure you don’t sink into the water!
Every day at work, you’re forced to make countless decisions – whether they’re massively important or so small you barely think about them.
But your ability to effectively make decisions is critical in solving problems quickly and effectively.
With a classic team building problem solving activity like the Egg Drop, that’s exactly what your team will learn to do.
For this activity, you’ll need some eggs, construction materials, and a place you wouldn’t mind smashing getting dirty with eggshells and yolks.
The goal of this activity is to create a contraption that will encase an egg and protect it from a fall – whether it’s from standing height or the top of a building. But the challenge is that you and your team will only have a short amount of time to build it before it’s time to test it out, so you’ll have to think quickly!
To make it even more challenging, you’ll have to build the casing using only simple materials like:
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber bands
- Popsicle sticks
- Cotton balls
Feel free to have some fun in picking the materials. Use whatever you think would be helpful without making things too easy!
Give your group 15 minutes to construct their egg casing before each team drops their eggs. If multiple eggs survive, increase the height gradually to see whose created the sturdiest contraption.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of using eggs for this activity, consider using another breakable alternative, such as lightbulbs for a vegan Egg Drop experience.
With Clue Murder Mystery, your team will need to solve the murder of a man named Neil Davidson by figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime.
But it won’t be easy! You’ll need to exercise your best problem-solving skills and channel your inner detectives if you want to keep this case from going cold and to get justice for the victim.
Collaboration is critical to problem solving.
Why? Because, as the old saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This expression reflects the fact that people are capable of achieving greater things when they work together to do so.
If you’re looking for a team building problem solving activity that helps boost collaboration, you’ll love Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower.
This game involves working in teams to build the tallest possible freestanding tower using only marshmallows, uncooked spaghetti, tape, and string.
The kicker? This all has to be done within an allotted timeframe. We recommend about thirty minutes.
For an added dimension of challenge, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower to make it a little more top heavy.
Whichever team has the highest tower when time runs out is the winner!
If you’ve never participated in an escape room, your team is missing out! It’s one of the most effective team building problem solving activities out there because it puts you and your colleagues in a scenario where the only way out is collaboratively solving puzzles and deciphering clues.
The principle is simple: lock your group in a room, hide the key somewhere in that room, and have them work through challenges within a set time frame. Each challenge will lead them one step closer to finding the key and, ultimately, their escape.
At Outback, we offer “done-for-you” escape rooms where we’ll transform your office or meeting room so you don’t have to worry about:
- Seeking transportation for your team
- Capacity of the escape rooms
- High costs
- Excessive planning
That way, you and your team can simply step inside and get to work collaborating, using creative problem solving, and thinking outside the box.
In this smartphone-based scavenger hunt team building activity , your group will split into teams and complete fun challenges by taking photos and videos around the city. Some examples of challenges you can do in this activity are:
- Parkour: Take a picture of three team members jumping over an object that’s at least waist-high.
- Beautiful Mind: Snap a photo of a team member proving a well-known mathematical theorem on a chalkboard.
- Puppy Love: Take a photo of all of your team members petting a stranger’s dog at the same time.
It takes a ton of critical thinking and problem-solving to be crowned the Wild Goose Chase Champions!
Can you imagine a higher-pressure situation than being stranded at sea in a lifeboat with your colleagues?
With this team building problem solving activity, that’s exactly the situation you and your group will put yourselves. But by the time the activity is over, you’ll have gained more experience with the idea of having to solve problems under pressure – a common but difficult thing to do.
Here’s how it works.
Each team member will get a six-columned chart where:
- The first column lists the survival items each team has on hand (see the list below)
- The second column is empty so that each team member can rank the items in order of importance for survival
- The third column is for group rankings
- The fourth column is for the “correct” rankings, which are revealed at the end of the activity
- The fifth and sixth columns are for the team to enter thee difference between their individual and correct scores and the team and correct rankings
Within this activity, each team will be equipped with the following “survival items,” listed below in order of importance, as well as a pack of matches:
- A shaving mirror (this can be used to signal passing ships using the sun)
- A can of gas (could be used for signaling as it could be put in the water and lit with the pack of matches)
- A water container (for collecting water to re-hydrate)
- Emergency food rations (critical survival food)
- One plastic sheet (can be helpful for shelter or to collect rainwater)
- Chocolate bars (another food supply)
- Fishing rods (helpful, but no guarantee of catching food)
- Rope (can be handy, but not necessarily essential for survival)
- A floating seat cushion (usable as a life preserver)
- Shark repellant (could be important when in the water)
- A bottle of rum (could be useful for cleaning wounds)
- A radio (could be very helpful but there’s a good chance you’re out of range)
- A sea chart (this is worthless without navigation equipment)
- A mosquito net (unless you’ve been shipwrecked somewhere with a ton of mosquitos, this isn’t very useful)
To get the activity underway, divide your group into teams of five and ask each team member to take ten minutes on their own to rank the items in order of importance in the respective column. Then, give the full team ten minutes as a group to discuss their individual rankings together and take group rankings, listed in that respective column. Ask each group to compare their individual rankings with those of the group as a whole.
Finally, read out the correct order according to the US Coast Guard, listed above.
The goal of this activity is for everyone to be heard and to come to a decision together about what they need most to survive.
If your team works remotely, you can also do this activity online. Using a video conferencing tool like Zoom , you can bring your group together and separate teams into “break-out rooms” where they’ll take their time individually and then regroup together. At the end, you can bring them back to the full video conference to go through the answers together.
Many problems are intricately complex and involve a ton of moving parts. And in order to solve this type of problem, you need to be able to examine it systematically, one piece at a time.
Especially in the business world, many problems or challenges involve multiple different teams or departments working through their respective portions of a problem before coming together in the end to create a holistic solution.
As you can imagine, this is often easier said than done. And that’s why it’s so important to practice this ability.
With a collaborative team building problem solving activity like Domino Effect Challenge, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do as you and your group work to create a massive, fully functional chain reaction machine.
Here’s how it goes.
Your group will break up into teams, with each team working to complete their own section of a massive “Rube Goldberg” machine. Then, all teams will regroup and assemble the entire machine together. You’ll need to exercise communication, collaboration, and on-the-fly problem solving in order to make your chain reaction machine go off without a hitch from start to finish.
Being a great problem-solver means being adaptable and creative. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy team building problem solving activity, you’ll love the reverse pyramid.
The idea here is simple: break your group out into small teams and then stand in the form of a pyramid.
Your challenge is to flip the base and the peak of the pyramid – but you can only move three people in order to do so.
Alternatively, rather than doing this activity with people as the pyramid, you can do another version – the Pyramid Build – using plastic cups instead.
This version is a little bit different. Rather than flipping the base of a pyramid to the top, you’ll need to build the pyramid instead–but in reverse, starting from the top cup and working down.
With this version, you’ll need 36 cups and one table per group. We recommend groups of five to seven people. Give your group 20 to 30 minutes to complete the activity.
To get started, place one cup face down. Then, lift that cup and place the subsequent two cups underneath it.
The real challenge here? You can only lift your pyramid by the bottom row in order to put a new row underneath – and only one person at a time can do the lifting. The remaining group members will need to act quickly and work together in order to add the next row so that it will balance the rest of the pyramid.
If any part of your pyramid falls, you’ll need to start over. Whichever team has the most complete pyramid when time runs out will be the winner!
The value of being able to approach problems analytically can’t be overstated. Because when problems arise, the best way to solve them is by examining the facts and making a decision based on what you know.
With CI: The Crime Investigators, this is exactly what your team will be called upon to do as you put your detective’s hats on and work to solve a deadly crime.
You’ll be presented with evidence and need to uncover and decipher clues. And using only the information at your disposal, you’ll need to examine the facts in order to crack the case.
Like many of our team building problem solving activities, CI: The Crime Investigators is available in a hosted format, which can take place at your office or an outside venue, as well as a virtually-hosted format that uses video conferencing tools, or a self-hosted version that you can run entirely on your own.
Each member of your team has their own unique strengths and skills. And by learning to combine those skills, you can overcome any challenge and solve any problem. With Team Pursuit, you and your team together to tackle challenges as you learn new things about one another, discover your hidden talents, and learn to rely on each other.
This team building problem solving activity is perfect for high-energy groups that love to put their heads together and work strategically to solve problems as a group.
If you and your team are working remotely, don’t worry. You still have a ton of great virtual team building problem solving options at your disposal.
In this virtual escape room experience, your team will be transported into a pyramid cursed by a restless mummy. You’ll have to work together to uncover clues and solve complex challenges to lift the ancient curse.
You’ve probably never heard of a man named Neil Davidson. But your group will need to come together to solve the mystery of his murder by analyzing clues, resolving challenges, and figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit a deadly crime.
This activity will challenge you and your group to approach problems analytically, read between the lines, and use critical thinking in order to identify a suspect and deliver justice.
If you and your team like brainteasers, then Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist will be a big hit.
Here’s the backstory.
There’s been a robbery. Someone has masterminded a heist to steal a priceless collection of precious jewels, and it’s up to you and your team to recover them before time runs out.
Together, you’ll need to uncover hidden clues and solve a series of brain-boggling challenges that require collaboration, creative problem-solving, and outside-the-box thinking. But be quick! The clock is ticking before the stolen score is gone forever.
With Virtual Code Break, you and your team can learn to be adaptive and dynamic in your thinking in order to tackle any new challenges that come your way. In this activity, your group will connect on a video conferencing platform where your event host will split you out into teams. Together, you’ll have to adapt your problem-solving skills as you race against the clock to tackle a variety of mixed brainteaser challenges ranging from Sudoku to puzzles, a game of Cranium, riddles, and even trivia.
Curious to see how a virtual team building activity works? Check out this video on a Virtual Clue Murder Mystery in action.
Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through time, from pre-pandemic 21st century through the decades all the way to the 60’s.
This exciting, fast-paced virtual trivia game, packed with nostalgia and good vibes, is guaranteed to produce big laughs, friendly competition, and maybe even some chair-dancing.
Your virtual game show host will warm up guests with a couple of “table hopper rounds” (breakout room mixers) and split you out into teams. Within minutes, your home office will be transformed into a game show stage with your very own game show buzzers!
And if your team loves trivia, check out our list of the most incredible virtual trivia games for work teams for even more ideas.
6. Virtual Jeoparty Social
If your remote team is eager to socialize, have some fun as a group, and channel their competitive spirit, we’ve got just the thing for you! With Virtual Jeoparty Social, you and your colleagues will step into your very own virtual Jeopardy-style game show—equipped with a buzzer button, a professional actor as your host, and an immersive game show platform! Best of all, this game has been infused with an ultra-social twist: players will take part in a unique social mixer challenge between each round.
With the right team building problem solving activities, you can help your team sharpen their core skills to ensure they’re prepared when they inevitably face a challenge at work. And best of all, you can have fun in the process.
Do you have any favorite team building activities for building problem-solving skills? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below!
Learn More About Team Building Problem Solving Activities
For more information about how your group can take part in a virtual team building, training, or coaching solution, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
And stay updated, related articles.
35 Fall Team Building Ideas for Your Corporate Group
17 Scavenger Hunt Team Building Activities for Workgroups
136 Incredible Questions of the Day for Work
- Management Training Courses
- Essential Management Skills
- Advanced Management Skills
- Open Course Schedule
- Understand The Process
- In-House Training Overview
- Management Development Programme
- Management Skills Examples
- Leadership Development Training
- Management Development Programmes
- Supervisor Training
- Team Leader Courses
- Specific Topic Examples
- Cultural Awareness Training
- Project Management Training
- Stress Management Training
- Team Building Training
- View Your Options
- Online Management Training
- Products & Solutions
- Management Webinar
- ILM Assured Online Course
- Free Online Management Course
- Assessment Options
- All Assessments
- 360 Degree Feedback
- DISC Assessments
- MBTI (Myers Briggs)
- Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI)
- FREE Assessments
- Free Leadership Assessment Test
- Conflict Management Styles Quiz
- Project Management Skills Assessment
- Coaching Skills Assessment
- Free EQ Test
- Apprenticeship Programmes
- 95% Funding For Small Business
- Tips For Employers
- Tips For Learners
- Team Leader or Supervisor Level 3
- Operations or Dept Manager Level 5
- Project Manager Level 4
- Business Administrator Level 3
- Sales Executive Level 4
- Coaching Professional Level 5
- Customer Service Practitioner Level 2
- Levy & Funding
- Mission & Vision
- Get To Know Us
- Meet The Team
- Our Clients
- Mission & Values
- Our Process
- Useful Resources
- L&D Whitepapers
- Management Blog
- Online Brochure
38 Team Building Problem-Solving Activities
In our Management Training we often stress that a strong team is essential for achieving organisational goals, improving productivity and creating a positive work environment, and team building activities are one of the essential tools that really can make this a reality!
Designed to be interactive and fun, they encourage employees to work together and solve problems – increasing creativity and collaboration across your workplace.
So, whether you are looking to improve communication, or are just looking to build stronger teams within your organisation, these 38 engaging problem-solving activities are a sure-fire way to help you achieve your goals.
32 In-Person Team Building Problem-Solving Activities
If you want to implement more team-building activities, problem-solving activities, and other communication exercises into your team strategy, these 32 in-person options are all great ones to start with:
1. A Shrinking Vessel
The shrinking vessel helps you and your employees work on adaptability and learn to solve problems faster, especially in high-pressure situations.
This game involves using a rope or string to create a circle on the floor. Everyone stands inside the circle. Then, you will gradually shrink it, and everyone must work together to stay inside.
2. Blind Formations
Blind formations is another group activity that involves a rope. Instead of focusing on adaptability, though, this game helps you and your employees develop better communication skills.
For this activity, you’ll just need a rope and a blindfold for each team member.
The group will don their blindfolds and stand in a circle. Then, you’ll tie the ends of the rope together to form a circle that everyone reaches down and touches.
Once everyone has their hands on the rope, you will call out shapes (square, triangle, etc.), and the group must work together to form that shape.
3. Bonding Belt
The bonding belt activity allows your employees to work on communication and problem-solving.
For this activity, divide the team into groups of five. Then, bind each group with rope or tape.
Once everyone has been bound together, each group must move from one point to another as quickly as possible. Use a stopwatch to track each group’s time as accurately as possible.
4. Cardboard Boat Building Challenge
The cardboard boat-building challenge gives team members a chance to get creative and think outside the box (or boat).
The goal is simple: Use cardboard and tape to create a boat that floats across a body of water without sinking.
In addition to building such a boat, each team must also deliver a presentation explaining their reasoning for creating the boat the way they did. Then, they’ll put it in the water and test its functionality.
5. Clue Murder Mystery
Everyone loves a good murder mystery, and Clue is the ultimate murder mystery game!
When playing Clue, you and your team members will collaborate and analyse a collection of clues to determine which character committed a murder.
It sounds simple at first. However, this game requires critical thinking, effective communication, and problem-solving to discover the correct answer.
6. Corporate Escape Room
Depending on where your business is located, you might have easy access to a corporate escape room.
Corporate escape rooms are businesses that allow customers to work together — while locked in a specially decorated room — to solve clues and figure out how to get out of the room as quickly as possible.
Many escape rooms have fun themes, from Sherlock Holmes-style murder mysteries to fantasy. Regardless of the theme, though, this activity allows everyone to work on collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.
7. Crack The Case
Crack the case is another version of a murder mystery game.
This activity is similar to Clue, but it allows in-person and remote employees to work together with the help of video conferencing platforms. Your team members can collaborate to review case files, discuss clues, and solve the mystery.
8. Create Your Own
If you really want to challenge your employees’ creativity, task them with creating their own team-building activity.
Divide your team into smaller groups. Then, assign each group to develop an activity that is unique to the business and aligns with its mission and values.
Not only does this challenge encourage team members to think outside the box and communicate effectively, but it also provides an opportunity for them to reflect on the company values and what they mean to them.
9. Dog, Rice, And Chicken
Dog, rice, and chicken is a silly problem-solving game that encourages your team members to let loose and blow off some steam.
One team member plays the role of the farmer, and the other team members are villagers. The farmer has three items: a dog, rice, and a chicken, which they must take across the river on a boat one at a time.
The villagers must work together to advise the farmer and propose the best way for them to transport the items without the dog eating the chicken or the chicken eating the rice.
10. Domino Effect Challenge
The domino effect challenge requires team members to create a fully functioning chain reaction machine. Divide the team into groups, then ask each group to design and build one part of the machine.
This game puts employees’ communication and collaboration skills to the test, as well as their ability to adapt and solve problems quickly.
11. Dumbest Idea First
This is another fun game for employees who need to stop taking themselves so seriously. It doesn’t require any equipment and encourages employees to think quickly on their feet.
The instructions for this game are simple. Ask everyone to think of the dumbest solution to a problem you’re trying to solve at the office.
After each person shares their ideas, you might find that there are actually some good ones that you and your employees can implement.
12. Egg Drop
The egg drop activity is useful in various situations, not just in science class. The egg drop activity challenges employees to work together to create a vessel that will support an egg and prevent it from breaking when it’s dropped from a great height.
This activity encourages problem-solving, communication, creativity, and collaboration. It also gives employees a chance to break out of their daily routine and do something with their hands.
13. End In Mind
Sometimes, you and your employees have to work backwards to find a solution. End in mind challenges team members to do precisely this.
For this activity, you’ll need to write down the steps, dates, and milestones involved in completing a specific project. Write each one down on a separate piece of paper.
Tell employees what the end result is. Then, encourage them to rearrange the pieces of paper in order, working backwards to figure out how the project was completed.
Can’t make it to a corporate escape room? No problem!
You can play Escape at your office easily. All you need is a room that locks, the key, a rope, and a series of puzzles or clues.
Use the rope to “lock” employees in the room after hiding the key. Then, challenge them to complete the puzzles or solve the clues to find the key and “escape.”
Frostbite helps your employees develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Crank up an electric fan to mimic an icy tundra. Then, tell your employees that they are Arctic explorers.
Divide them into groups of four or five, then ask each group to appoint a leader. The goal is for each team to build a shelter out of construction materials (paper, cardboard, toothpicks, rubber bands, etc.) with a 30-minute time limit.
There’s a catch, though. The leader has frostbite on their hands and can’t help, and the rest of the team members have snow blindness and can’t see.
While wearing blindfolds, the team members will have to listen to the leader’s instructions to build a reliable shelter.
16. Human Knot
Human knot encourages employees to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems creatively.
Stand in a circle, then ask each employee to grab the hands of two people not directly next to them. After everyone has found two hands to hold, the goal is to untangle the human knot (without letting go of any hands) and stand in a circle once more.
This is another activity that allows your team members to be creative, think outside the box, and have some fun.
Divide the group into small teams of at least two people. Then, select one person to create a random structure out of Lego bricks in a 10-minute period.
When this person is finished, the other teams must replicate the structure in just 15 minutes. However, only one person gets to look at the structure. They must then relay information to their team members(s) and help them replicate it perfectly.
18. Line Up Blind
Here’s another activity that involves a blindfold!
For this activity, everyone is blindfolded. You’ll go around the room and assign each person a number.
When you’re finished, instruct the group to line up in numerical order without talking. You can also ask them to line up based on other factors, like height, age, etc.
19. Lost At Sea
Lost at sea challenges your employees’ problem-solving abilities in stressful situations. Each person receives a six-column chart that includes the following:
- Column 1 features a list of survival items
- Column 2 is empty; each team member will rank the survival items in order of importance
- Column 3 is reserved for group rankings
- Column 4 is dedicated to the “correct” rankings (revealed at the end of the activity)
- Columns 5 and 6 allow team members to enter the difference between individual and correct scores, as well as the team and correct rankings.
Form groups of five. Then, ask each team member to rank items in order of importance individually.
Give the team 10 minutes to discuss their individual rankings and create a group ranking. When the 10 minutes are up, you’ll read out the official correct order, which goes as follows:
- Shaving mirror (to signal passing ships using the sun)
- Can of gas (for signalling if it’s poured in the water and lit with matches)
- Water container (for collection and re-hydration)
- Emergency food rations (essential for survival)
- One plastic sheet (for shelter or rainwater collection)
- Chocolate bars (additional food)
- Fishing rods (helpful for catching food)
- Rope (helpful but not essential for survival)
- Floating seat cushion (potential life preserver)
- Shark repellent (for safety)
- Bottle of rum (for cleaning wounds)
- Radio (helpful if you’re within range)
- Sea chart (worthless without navigation equipment)
- Mosquito net (not very useful unless you’re shipwrecked)
20. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
The marshmallow spaghetti tower activity encourages team members to work together, be creative, and communicate effectively. Each team will need the following:
- 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
- 1 roll of masking tape
- 1 metre of string
- 1 marshmallow
Give each team a specific amount of time to build the tallest tower using the materials provided. It must be able to stand without help.
Grab the blindfolds and challenge employees’ communication with the minefield game.
Lead everyone into an empty room or hallway. Place everyday office items throughout the room or hallway. Divide the group into pairs and blindfold one member.
The non-blindfolded member must verbally guide their partner from one end of the room to the other without hitting any “mines.”
22. Move It!
This activity gets your employees away from the desk and working together to solve problems.
Divide the group into two teams. Line them up front to back, so they’re facing each other.
Use chalk, tape, or rope to mark a square for each person to stand on. Leave an empty space between the facing rows.
The facing players must switch places. However, there are rules:
- Only one person can move at a time
- A player cannot move around anyone facing the same direction
- No one can move backwards
- A player cannot move around more than one person on the other team at a time.
23. Organisational Jenga
If you have access to a Jenga game, grab it and use it to develop communication and collaboration skills.
Label each block in a hierarchical order that aligns with your company’s hierarchy. Then, challenge team members to play the game as they normally would.
This activity emphasises the importance of the entire organisation working together to survive and thrive.
24. Reverse Pyramid
This activity doesn’t require any equipment. You just need your employees, who will stand in a pyramid shape.
Challenge them to flip the base and point of the pyramid by moving just three people.
25. Scavenger Hunt
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt to build a team. Divide your team into groups, then give each group a list of items to find and bring back within a set time period.
Whether you limit them to the office or set them loose in the neighbourhood, this activity is sure to get people talking and laughing.
Instead of being locked in a room, your team is now locked in the office and unable to escape. Give them 30 minutes to decide which 10 items they need to survive and rank those items in order of importance.
27. Team Pursuit
Team Pursuit is an app-powered game that allows team members to learn more about each other and their unique talents. They’ll complete challenges by taking photos or videos or typing messages into the app.
Whichever team completes the most challenges before the timer goes off is the winner.
28. The Barter Puzzle
For this activity, you’ll need a collection of jigsaw puzzles with the pieces mixed up.
Divide the group into teams of five, and challenge them to compete to finish a puzzle first. They’ll need to negotiate, barter, and assign tasks to find all the pieces for their puzzle.
29. The Crime Investigators
This game is another murder mystery-style activity. Tell your team about a crime that has occurred. Then, challenge them to review evidence, decipher clues, and figure out who’s guilty.
30. Web Of Wools
Grab a spool of yarn or string for this fun and engaging activity.
Divide the group into two teams. Then, assign each team to entangle themselves using yarn or string. Then, tell the teams to switch webs.
One team member on each team will be blindfolded and tasked with untangling the web. They must take instructions from their other team members to solve the puzzle.
31. What Would X Do
This activity gives employees a chance to think creatively and have fun at the same time. Assign everyone to pretend they’re a famous person. Then, ask them how they would solve a particular problem if they were that person.
32. Wild Goose Chase
Wild Goose Chase is a smartphone-based scavenger hunt. Split the group into teams. Then, send them out into the city to take fun photos and videos suggested by the app.
6 Virtual Team Building Problem Solving Activities
Even if you manage a remote team, you can still use virtual team-building and problem-solving activities to bring team members closer together. Here are 6 suggestions that you can try during your next virtual group gathering:
1. Clue Murder Mystery
For many of us, Clue was our first introduction to the world of murder mysteries. You don’t have to gather around a board to play it anymore, either.
Virtual Clue brings your employees together to solve a murder mystery, analysing clues to identify the person with the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime. This game is a fun way for employees to work on their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
2. Code Break
Virtual Code Break gives your employees a chance to overcome interesting challenges and strengthen their problem-solving skills.
You can use video conferencing tools to work with team members and complete all kinds of puzzles and games, from Sudoku to Cranium. You can even work together to solve virtual jigsaw puzzles!
3. Escape Room: Jewel Heist
Escape rooms are all the rage these days for team-building activities. You don’t have to all be trapped in the same room together to enjoy them though.
Many virtual escape rooms exist for remote teams, including Escape Room: Jewel Heist.
When playing this game, you and your team will work together to recover stolen jewels before time runs out. You’ll have to use your problem-solving skills and creative thinking to solve the puzzle and escape.
4. Escape Room: Mummy’s Curse
Mummy’s Curse is a virtual escape room that traps your team in a pyramid with an awakened and agitated mummy. You’ll have to collaborate to solve clues, complete challenges, and lift the curse to escape the pyramid.
5. Jeopardy Social
Virtual Jeopardy Social puts you and your employees into your own game show. You even get a buzzer button to answer questions and a professional actor to host the vent.
In addition to answering questions and trying to score the greatest number of points, Virtual Jeopardy Social also incorporates social mixer challenges into each round. These challenges allow you and your employees to get to know each other better and develop stronger relationships.
6. Trivia Time Machine
Trivia games are popular team-building activities, and you and your employees can participate even if you can’t gather at a local pub together.
For example, Outback Time Machine takes participants back to the 1960s and features a series of fun, nostalgic questions that will get everyone talking and laughing. The virtual game show host also splits the group into teams and warms guests up with mixers to get everyone more comfortable.
Why Are Team Building Problem-Solving Activities Necessary?
Team-building activities, problem-solving exercises, and other group activities offer numerous benefits, regardless of the type of business you run. The following are some of the greatest advantages you and your employees can enjoy:
Get To Know Each Other Better
It’s remarkable that you can work next to someone everyday for years and still know next to nothing about them.
When you create opportunities for your employees to participate in team-building activities, you make it easier for them to get to know each other in a low-stress environment.
Playing games and solving puzzles together allows employees to learn more about each other’s personalities, their approach to difficult situations, and how they communicate.
Speaking of communication, team-building activities also gives all employees a chance to work on their communication skills.
When team members collaborate to solve problems or complete a task, they get better at presenting issues, asking questions, and developing solutions. All of these insights help employees better understand each other when dealing with work-related tasks.
Improve Teamwork And Team Performance
Better communication leads to improved collaboration and teamwork.
If your employees know how to communicate with one another, it’s easier for them to come together and get things done. They’ll likely face fewer roadblocks along the way to completing projects and will have better attitudes throughout the process, too.
Foster Friendly Competition
Problem-solving and team-building activities might seem frivolous at first. However, they actually create friendly competition, which can help to motivate employees and push them to challenge themselves.
Contests and challenges can also help employees to feel more confident in themselves and their skills. If they’ve doubted their abilities, taking a break and engaging in a fun, competitive activity can motivate them and encourage them to trust themselves in the future.
Increase Innovation And Creativity
Many managers and team members notice that team-building activities and problem-solving challenges help them to be more innovative and creative. These activities allow them to practice thinking outside the box and looking at situations in a new way.
Create Better Company Culture
According to 57 per cent of UK adults, workplace culture matters more than salary when it comes to job satisfaction. Your company culture will suffer if your workplace is focused on productivity and task completion 24/7 and you never make room for fun.
Company culture doesn’t just make your existing employees happier, either. When you strive to improve company culture, you can also enhance your business’s reputation and attract talented job seekers in the future.
Increase Engagement And Improved Morale
When you enhance communication, strengthen relationships between employees, and improve the company culture, you’ll notice that employee engagement increases and morale improves.
Happy employees are productive employees who want to put their best foot forward each day.
If you invest in your employees’ well-being and provide opportunities for them to work together, solve problems, and have fun, they’ll thank you by being more invested in their responsibilities and producing better results.
Nearly 75 per cent of UK employees say they deserve more recognition for their work.
Regular team-building and problem-solving activities give you a chance to show appreciation to your employees. For example, you can use these events as a way to celebrate team members who have just met a milestone or accomplished a major goal.
Identify Leadership Potential
When you host team-building activities for adults, problem-solving challenges, and other events, you have opportunities to evaluate employees in different settings and assess their leadership potential.
It’s not always easy to tell who might make a good leader when your employees are going about their everyday tasks. When you put them in a new environment, though, and challenge them to solve a unique problem, you might be amazed at who stands out.
Whether your team gathers in a traditional office or is spread out across the globe, you can use team-building and problem-solving activities to bring them closer together, create a better company culture, and improve productivity and engagement.
So why not use the 38 activities discussed above as inspiration for your next group gathering? Or get in touch to find out about our Team Building Training where we can cover the techniques required to achieve a great team spirit – whilst delivering the fun!
Alternatively, check out our MBTI Training or DISC Assessments – both great for team building, whilst also giving you the essential tools to understand and work with your team better.
- Team Building
Updated on: 29 June, 2023
Would your network like this too? Please share below.
Solutions For Managers
Our Management Training solutions range from open courses which are delivered in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Coventry through to Management Development Programmes . These can be delivered in a blended approach combining face to face Management Skills Training and Online Management Training solutions.
Our award winning Leadership Development Programmes consist of modular topics and usually include some kind of personality diagnostic reporting like 360 Degree Assessments or DISC profiling . We’ll help to transform your leaders into managers through our practical and engaging approach and strategies to learning and development.
Why You Can Trust Us
Our reviews and credentials speak for themselves. We’re a trusted brand so you’ll be in safe hands. Please check out the Awards that we have won to give you the peace of mind that we will deliver the results that you require. With over 9,000 clients covering a range of different industries and sectors, we’ve got the skills and experience that you need.
How to improve your problem-solving at work: skills, models and examples
Highly valued by employers, problem-solving is needed in just about any line of work. We’ll show you how to step up your ability to take on workplace challenges below…
Whether you’re a seasoned manager or in a junior role, you’re bound to encounter challenges that need tackling head on during your week. And when it comes to overcoming them, fine-tuned, well-honed problem-solving skills are the way to do it.
If your problem-solving has been off in the past, then it can be difficult to take a step back before you act. Luckily, problem-solving is a skill to be learned like any other.
To help you get to grips with this valued skill, we’ll define problem-solving in detail, show you why it matters, and offer some pointers for improving your problem-solving skills.
What are problem-solving skills?
Problem-solving skills let us take on issues without resorting to hasty decisions and snap judgements. They’re what allow us to better understand the challenges before us so we can come up with solutions for dealing with them.
Depending on what the problem is, such skills may call on things like active listening , teamwork, creative thinking or mathematical analysis. Whatever you use to reach a solution, problem-solving is a valuable soft skill that most employers will look for in potential employees.
Why are problem-solving skills important?
Problem-solvers are equipped to take on what comes their way. When they have the right tools at their disposal, they’re in a better position to observe the issue, judge it accordingly, and act in the most effective way. And through experience, these skills become more refined and precise, allowing them to take on tougher problems.
So, why else are they important? Let’s look at what else problem-solving can add to an employee’s skillset…
Greater time management skills
When you know how to approach a problem, greater time management skills tend to come naturally. Because you can balance your time more efficiently, your ability to weigh up your options becomes more precise and considered, allowing you to make less hasty decisions that could make a problem worse.
More creative thinking
Those with strong problem-solving skills can always see the opportunity in a challenge. By tackling problems with innovative solutions, you might find that the result is stronger than you expect.
Improved performance under pressure
When deadlines loom or change is on the horizon, a lack of problem-solving skills could be what leads to poor or half-baked solutions. Because they’re naturally geared towards dealing with the unknown and the unexpected, problem-solvers are less inclined to feel pressure when it arises.
Greater addressing of risk
As well as the ability to deal with the issue itself, problem-solvers are well-equipped to address problems that could spring up later down the line based on trends, patterns and current events . This allows them to possess a degree of control over the future.
How to improve your problem-solving skills
So, how can you improve your ability to solve problems in the workplace? The following tips can help give you an edge whatever your position in a company may be.
Look for opportunities to solve problems
If you’re not used to taking them on, it can be easy to sit back and let someone else deal with problems. Instead of shying away from them, put yourself in situations where problems can arise.
We don’t mean deliberately making mistakes here, but taking on more duties in your current role, with another team or outside your organisation can help familiarise you with the kind of problems that can occur and ways to deal with them.
Observe how others solve problems
By shadowing your colleagues, you can learn problem-solving techniques and put them into practice yourself. Ask a colleague if you can observe their strategy, or schedule in a one-to-one to ask about how they take on problems.
Familiarise yourself with practice problems
There’s a wealth of resources in print and online that you can use to improve your problem-solving skills. These materials offer all sorts of scenarios to put your abilities to the test, unearthing skills you didn’t know you had.
An example problem-solving model
There are several problem-solving models out there, but typically, they follow the broad steps below.
1. Define the problem
Take a step back and analyse the situation. Are there multiple problems? What is causing them? How do these problems affect you and others involved?
Then, drill into the problem by doing the following:
• Separate facts from opinion
• Identify what has caused the problem
• Discuss with team members to gather more information
• Gather relevant data
At this stage, don’t be tempted to come up with a solution. You’re simply trying to find out what the problem is.
2. Identify potential solutions
While you may have only come up with one solution to a problem in the past, brainstorming several alternatives is a better approach. Ask colleagues for their input and get some insights from those with experience of similar problems.
In coming up with alternatives, consider the following:
• Weigh up what might slow down solving the problem
• Ensure your ideas align with goals and objectives
• Identify long and short-term solutions
• Write down the solutions you come up with
3. Evaluate your solutions
Once you have a list of solutions, you need to evaluate them further before acting. What are the positive and negative consequences of each? What resources will you need to carry them out? How much time and, if necessary, who else will you need to put the solution in place?
4. Choose a solution
Your evaluation should clarify which solution best suits the problem. Now it’s time to put that solution into practice.
Before you do, consider:
• Does it solve the problem without creating another?
• Have you reached a group consensus over the solution?
• Is implementing it practical and straightforward?
• Does it fit within company policies and procedures?
5. Put the solution into action
Once you’ve decided on the right solution, it needs to be implemented. Your action plan should include measurable objectives that allow you to monitor its success, as well as timelines and feedback channels your team can use during implementation.
Making sure this plan is communicated to everyone involved will also be key to its success.
6. Assess how effective the solution is
Your work isn’t done just yet! You’ll need to measure how things are progressing to ensure the solution is working as intended. Doing so means you can course-correct should further surprises arise, or else go back to alternative solutions.
How to show problem-solving skills on your CV and at interviews
As we said up top, problem-solving is highly valued by employers, so you’ll want to highlight such abilities on your CV, cover letter and in interviews.
Think back to previous roles for examples of when you used problem-solving skills. It’s not enough to say you’re good at problem-solving; employers will be looking for concrete examples, so be sure to mention them in your cover letter and use bullet points on your CV with specifics.
In interviews, you might be called on to describe times when you encountered problems in previous roles. Here, you should mention the processes you followed to address these issues, the skills you used, and the outcomes achieved.
Likewise, you may be asked hypothetical questions to show how you would solve problems. Base your answers on the steps above, and use the STARR method in conjunction with previous instances of problem-solving to give a detailed yet concise response.
Click here for the latest news and features from SEFE Marketing & Trading or visit our homepage to find out about our latest career opportunities.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of SEFE Marketing & Trading. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. SEFE Marketing & Trading accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.
you may also like
2 months ago
How many Graduate Schemes should I apply to?
What to do when feeling stressed: Signs of stress and how to resolve them
When Should I Apply for a Graduate Scheme?
- SEFE Marketing & Trading London
- SEFE Marketing & Trading Singapore
- SEFE Energy Manchester
- SEFE Energy Paris
- SEFE Marketing & Trading Switzerland
- SEFE Energy Netherlands
20 Triton Street London NW1 3BF United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207 756 0000
Fax: +44 (0) 207 756 9740
Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay #41-01 Singapore 049315
Tel: +65 (0) 6671 9100
Fax: +65 (0) 6435 6200
8 First Street, Manchester United Kingdom M15 4RP
Tel: +44 (0) 845 230 0011
Fax: +44 (0) 845 230 0022
159 rue Anatole France – Bâtiment B, Levallois-Perret, 92300, Paris
Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 99 73 50
Fax: +33 (0) 1 42 99 73 99
Poststrasse 2, 6300 Zug, Switzerland
Tel: 0845 230 0011
Fax: 0845 230 0022
Utopialaan 48, ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands 5232 CE
Tel: +31 (0)88 730 6103
Fax: +31 (0)88 7306133
Back to Blog
17 team building problem-solving activities that actually work
Wouldn’t it be great to go to work every day and everything just … works? While that’s a lovely daydream, in reality, we face challenges from time to time.
And when it comes to challenges, one thing remains true: Having a team you can rely on makes whatever it is way easier to deal with.
It’s time to support your team in their personal growth and work on those problem-solving skills. The best way to do that is through some targeted team building activities .
We’ve compiled a list of the best problem-solving activities, sorted by duration and your team’s needs. Bonus point: A lot of them are free !
Effective team building problem-solving activities
One of the most daunting aspects of team building is looking up ideas for things to do, not knowing whether they work. So we did the hard part for you and hand-picked the best team building activities to overcome obstacles.
1. Improve collaboration with Work Buddy
Price: 14-day free trial, afterwards 7€ per user
Time : 15-20 minutes
Best for: Improving collaboration through understanding other team members' work preferences
Work Buddy is an innovative way to get teams on the same page! It's a fun and interactive quiz that helps team members understand each other better, leading towards improved collaboration. Through this session, you'll gain insights into your colleagues' working style - hours they prefer communicating during, their long-term goals, and more - which can help create stronger relationships within the workplace for more effective achievement of shared objectives. Work Buddy is free to try .
2. Practice to become a Communication Master
Best for: Exploring and understanding communication biases in the team
You're not alone if you've noticed misunderstandings or inefficient communication in your team. According to a recent study, 86% of knowledge workers report experiencing communication issues at work . Shortcomings in communication are estimated to lead to losses in profit of more than one trillion $ each year in the US alone.
Communication Master is an activity that helps your team practice explaining ideas in a clear and efficient way. It's challenging and fun, and you can try it for free .
3. Follow the GROW process
Time : 2-3 hours
Best for: Taking a tried and tested approach to problem-solving
Arguably the best way to tackle organizational problems is by applying a model already tried and tested in business coaching. The GROW model is precisely that. GROW is an acronym in which each letter represents a step in the problem-solving process.
How it works:
- G - Goal: Align on the goal(s) you want to achieve. Be as precise as possible and include numbers, time frames, etc.
- R - Reality: Observe where you are on the journey to achieve your goal. What still lies ahead of you?
- O - Obstacles & Options: Which obstacles does your team currently face, and which challenges do you anticipate in the future? Consider various approaches to overcoming the (possible) roadblocks.
- W - Way forward: Write down concrete action steps that you will take moving forward, including responsibilities and timelines.
Watch this role play video to see how you can put GROW into action.
4. Assess personality types
Price: Free Time: 60-90 minutes
Best for: Increasing empathy and enhancing teamwork
If your teammates constantly clash with each other, chances are they have different personality types. Understanding differences within your team is critical for good collaboration and teamwork, the pillars of successful problem-solving. To get going, take a personality test together and learn about each other's strengths and weaknesses. Have a follow-up discussion to talk about how you can collaborate better in the future.
Question starters for your discussion:
- Were you surprised by your results?
- Where does your personality benefit your work?
- How can you balance out each other's weaknesses?
- How can you build on each other's strengths?
- Have you found a new appreciation for your teammates?
5. Have a well-being talk
Price: Free Time: 60 minutes
Best for: Making sure your team is mentally prepared to tackle problems
If you feel like your team is lacking motivation and not on the top of their game, it may be time for a well-being check-in. Have an open conversation about mental health and your employees' feelings. Identify triggers for stress in the workplace; these typically include:
- Content of the job
- Role within the organization
- Professional development
- Work relationships
- Company culture
- Working conditions
- Personal reasons
Once you have identified the most prominent issues, create an action plan to improve your team’s mental well-being.
6. Online hackathon
Time: 24-48 hours
Best for: Boosting teamwork and innovation; Solving a specific problem in your organization
A hackathon is an event in which people of different disciplines come together to solve a common, real-world problem. It is the perfect activity for quickly innovating processes within your organization. Hosting a hackathon online allows you to invite team members from all around the world.
There are already great resources about organizing virtual hackathons available. To get you going, here’s a quick rundown on the most important steps:
- Settle on the problem that your team should tackle, develop the deliverables, and invite industry experts to serve as a jury
- Choose a video conferencing platform so the participants can stay in touch throughout the hackathon
- Divide your team into smaller action teams. This works best if you involve different departments to mix and match different strengths and skillsets
- When the day of the hackathon arrives, hold a kick-off meeting to explain the process of the event
- Have fun and get excited about great results
Remote Expert & Jr. Content Marketer
Share fun facts and bond with a team quiz
Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.
Run a guided recognition activity
Organize a virtual cooking class
Hire a professional chef to help your team cook a delicious lunch or dinner. May be difficult for co-workers with families. To find providers and get tips, read our blog about virtual cooking classes.
Hire a stand-up comedian
No items found
Table of contents
Discover virtual team building with Gomada
Gomada auto-generates the optimal activity sequence for your team. All you need to do is schedule the activity.
Virtual team building problem-solving activities
If your team is working in a remote or hybrid setting and you’re looking for some fun games that strengthen problem-solving skills, the following activities are a match.
Related : The best team building software tools & apps.
7. Yes, and …
Time: 5-15 minutes
Best for: A quick game to foster creativity and flexibility
One of the best ways to strengthen your team’s ability to think quickly and adapt to unknown scenarios is through improv games. This one is perfect for beginners as it doesn’t require any acting, and your team can participate from the comfort of their home office chairs.
To play the game, one person begins to tell a story, and the rest of the team has to build on it by replying with "yes, and". One after the other, everyone contributes one or two sentences, but people have to react quickly to keep the flow of the story going.
You can determine the order in advance, for example, by first name or age, or keep it open to increase the difficulty level.
8. Flash of genius
Time: 15- 20 minutes
Best for: Quick thinking, boosting creativity, healthy competition
Have you ever had a flash of inspiration at a random moment? The one that prompts you to jot down your brilliant idea on a piece of paper or a napkin? That’s what this game is all about.
Before the game starts, you have to prepare several problem statements. These can be real, like ‘A team from another department constantly messes up your work. What do you do?’ or imaginative, such as ‘Aliens have landed on planet earth and kidnapped humans. What do you do?’. During the session, the participants then need to develop solutions to these problems.
- Split the team into small groups and ask everyone to write down their approaches on a digital collaboration board
- After two minutes of brainstorming, every team gets one more minute to decide on their number one solution
- For the finale, everyone presents their approach to the rest of the group
Time: 15-30 minutes
Best for: Thinking outside the box, risk evaluation, communication
Codenames was initially released as a card game but is now also available as an online version. In this game, two teams must try to identify agents hiding behind codenames.
- The playing field consists of 25 cards labeled with codenames (random words)
- Both teams assign one spymaster who gets to see under which cards the agents for their team are hiding. The spymasters take turns giving their team members clues to find the right cards, but with one big restriction – they can only say one word.
- The goal is to find all the right words before the other team finishes.
To be the fastest team, it is useful to give clues that connect different terms, but players have to be careful not to guess the cards that belong to the other group. Thus, the participants must find the right balance between risk-taking and passing on an opportunity to score.
10. Domino effect
Price: 0- 29€/person
Best for: Collaborating asynchronously and working together on one goal
The idea behind this activity is simple; you knock over one object that sets a second in motion, which is followed by a whole chain of reactions. What makes it difficult is that the team has to create this domino effect without being in the same place. Therefore, each team member has to create one part of the process and film it.
This is what it looks like:
- Person 1 begins the series by knocking over a random object and making a video of it; let’s say they choose a ball that knocks down a book
- They inform person 2, who creates a video of a book falling onto a bottle.
- Then, person 3 has to start their video with a bottle falling on the object of their choice and so on.
- In the end, all videos are cut together.
The activity requires strategic thinking and good communication to have a consistent string of domino effects and is perfect for teams who work across different time zones. You can either set it up yourself or get a professional agency to support you.
11. Escape room
Time: 15-90 min.
Best for: Refining attention to detail and logical thinking with a gamified experience
If you’re not already familiar with the concept of escape rooms, you’re missing out! In short, your team has to solve various puzzles and riddles while following a mystery tale. Only if they find the hidden clues will they reach the solution and escape the room.
This makes escape rooms an excellent problem-solving team building activity for adults. Participants have to practice their patience and logical thinking. Virtual escape games usually take place over a video conferencing tool so participants can discuss their ideas as the game proceeds. One of our favorite escape room experiences is this Sherlock-inspired detective story.
12. Panel of Experts
Time: 15-30 min.
Best for: Helping team members to step out of their comfort zone through improvisation
Panel of Experts is another improv game that is great for fostering creativity and spontaneity as your team will have to create dialogues without any prior preparation and script.
How it works:
- You determine one show host and two to four ‘experts’; the rest of the team will act as an audience.
- Everybody in the audience can call in a topic they would like the group to discuss for two minutes. Collect all ideas and agree on a topic to start with.
- The actors now have to engage in a conversation in their respective roles.
- After each round, assign the roles to new team members.
Your team will have collaboratively put up some entertaining scenes, and who knows, maybe you will discover some actual special-interest knowledge.
13. Sort the group
Time: 10-15 minutes
Best for: Improving communication; Getting to know your team
Sort the group exercises are exactly what they sound to be: As a team, you have to get in order following different attributes like height, age, duration at the company; you name it. The difficulty lies within the fact that you aren’t allowed to talk or write. Team members have to develop other ways to communicate and get in order.
Pro tip: You can open a shared document, write down the names of the participants and rearrange them until everyone agrees on the final result.
Ups & Downs
What cheers us up and tears us down can be very different. Get to know your team’s motivators and demotivators.
Offline problem-solving activities for team building
If you’re pumped to do some team building in person , we’ve picked the right activities for you.
14. The minefield
Best for: Practicing communication and listening skills and advancing trust between team members
This classic team building activity works very well to build trust in your team without the awkwardness of trust falls or entangling human knots. You’ll have to prepare a playing field beforehand, consisting of a starting and finishing line, and put some obstacles (e.g., bottles) in between.
- Divide the team into several small groups. Each team lines up at the edge of the playing field.
- Each participant is given a blindfold to put on when it is their turn. You can use face masks or anything else to cover the eyes.
- After giving the go, the groups must try to guide their 'blind' teammates through the minefield using verbal instructions alone. If a person touches an object, they have to start over. If they make it through the minefield, the next person can start.
- The fastest team wins.
Pro tip: To make the game more difficult, you can rule that players cannot give directions (front, side, back) but must think of a code to guide their teammates.
15. Picking up trash
Time: 30 minutes - 3 hours
Best for: Teams looking to make a real impact beyond simple games
What better way to connect with your team than simultaneously doing something great for the environment? Have your team walk around the area around your office and pick up trash together. Afterward, you come together and brainstorm ideas on how to tackle the garbage problem. Maybe your neighborhood could profit from some more trash cans? Higher fines for littering? A better deposit system? Get creative!
You can also turn it into a challenge. To do so, divide your crew into smaller groups and assign each one the task of collecting as much rubbish as they can. After some time, you evaluate who had the most original approaches and picked up the most trash.
Either way, you train your problem-solving skills on a real-world issue and do some good for nature.
Time: 10-20 minutes
Best for: Fostering 1:1 conversations around work issues
While speed dating is best known for finding new romantic partners, it can also be applied to the working environment.
Here is how it works:
- Divide the team into two groups, one of which positions itself in an inner and the other in an outer circle. There should always be two people facing each other. If you’re an uneven number, create one pair that always moves together.
- A game leader asks a question for which both partners have one minute to answer.
- Then the inner circle moves so that two new team members are facing each other.
- The game ends when everyone has returned to their original partner.
Some questions to inspire your own:
- If you could change one thing in your workday, what would it be?
- Would you rather have more time or more money? Why?
- What would you do if your laptop suddenly just stopped working?
17. Scavenger hunt
Time: 2-3 hours
Best for: Fostering cross-team collaboration and boosting team morale
Another classic team-building activity that is great for promoting problem-solving. You have to work together as a team to find clues that will ultimately lead you to a goal.
As far as preparation goes, you will have to decide between setting up the activity yourself or a professional provider. Depending on which option you choose, you will have to invest more money or time (yes, we are referring to the last game here). Either way, your joint search will have your team think outside the box and socialize with others.
What are the benefits of problem-solving team building activities for businesses?
Problem-solving is an essential skill for every team. In particular, strengthening your team member’s decision-making and adaptability skills will ensure that your daily operations run a bit smoother; say a new process isn’t going as planned, or an essential co-worker falls sick, your team will be able to handle it. You also set out your organization for success when facing more drastic challenges, such as, uh, a global pandemic or changes in the company’s strategy.
Some of the skills your team will improve on when regularly engaging in problem-solving team building activities are:
- Out-of-the-box thinking
Using team building problem-solving games
Investing time into team building activities that support problem-solving is the best way to empower your team in their abilities to overcome work challenges. Whether you’re an experienced leadership team looking to boost your decision-making and critical thinking skills or a young team working on collaboration and communication, these activities set you up for success.
Share this article
Not your typical strengthfinder activities for team building
4 research-based activities for building a high-performance team
5 critical thinking team building activities for adults [research-based]
Have a blast with your remote team 🔥
Our team building activities are rated 9/10 by over 900 remote teams. It's the easiest way to feel close when working remotely!
Employee engagement basics
Employee engagement vs employee experience: know the difference
October 26, 2022
Improving office culture
8 team building event companies to hire in 2023
May 27, 2022
20+ diversity team building activities that strengthen remote teams
May 19, 2022
Subscribe to get our latest updates