12 wellbeing activities for team meetings to foster collaboration and innovation
The average business professional spends three hours in meetings every week.
Despite the fact that we all spend a significant amount of time in meetings, most people don’t find them very enjoyable. While well-organised meetings can be productive and motivating, many meetings lose the interest of participants pretty quickly.
Nevertheless, it's possible to make your business's meetings much more enjoyable with just a little bit of creativity. One way to do just that is by making a habit of integrating wellbeing activities into your regular team meetings.
It doesn't matter if your team meets once a week, once a month or once a year (remotely or in-person), there's a wellbeing activity out there that will work wonders for your team meetings.
We've included a list of our twelve favourite wellbeing activities that would be perfect for your team meeting in this article. We've also talked about why integrating them is so important and included a few tips to keep in mind when organising them, so keep reading.
What can be achieved by doing wellbeing activities in team meetings?
1. Build rapport between team members
Some colleagues work together for years but don't actually know each other very well at all. While this is unfortunate, it's totally understandable if they only interact with each other in purely professional contexts. However, taking time to build rapport can make many things easier, from classic workplace communication to brainstorming Blue Monday solutions as a group.
Integrating wellbeing activities into your team meetings gives coworkers the opportunity to get to know each other in a new way. Whether they end up dancing together to one of their favourite songs or talking about the little things they're grateful for in life, they'll build a closer rapport than they would've otherwise had.
In the case of remote teams, building rapport is especially important because many colleagues never even have the opportunity to meet each other face-to-face.
2. Make team meetings something to look forward to
Let's face it, team meetings aren't widely loved. They can be stressful, overwhelming, and have the tendency to drag on when they aren't well organised.
Adding some staff wellbeing gifts or activities into the mix certainly makes meetings more interesting and can even turn them into something employees look forward to!
3. Foster a sense of community through collaboration
Excellent team collaboration is one of the pillars of any high-achieving business. In fact, one recent study reported that collaboration is one of the four most important skills for employees' future success.
Wellbeing activities are great tools to help employees develop their valuable collaboration skills, because they give them the space to work together in new ways. Colleagues might have spent hours brainstorming ideas for new projects in the past, but they've probably never participated in an egg drop challenge together before!
Even in the case of less team building-focused wellbeing exercises, they still allow team members to get to know each other on a deeper level than they would otherwise. This fosters a more meaningful sense of community and connection.
All in all, the more your employees know each other, the better.
4. Increase energy
During long working days, it's totally normal to feel tired and sluggish at some point. Many people turn to a cup of coffee or tea for a much-needed energy boost, but who needs them when you've got a fun wellbeing activity?
Wellbeing activities are great at increasing energy levels because they break up the monotony of the day and get people moving and thinking differently. It's hard to feel sleepy if you've just done some yoga exercises or a high-energy zumba class. Even if you're doing something calm like a guided meditation, you're still giving your mind a break by using it for something other than work.
12 great wellbeing activities for team meetings
Whether you're looking for something specific like Blue Monday ideas to help your team's January blues, or if you're just looking to improve employee wellbeing in general, this is the list for you.
Dance it out
Sometimes team meetings can be stressful. Whether you're working on a particularly challenging project, discussing high-stakes issues, dealing with personality types that conflict with your own or simply aren't feeling your best - everyone's been there.
A great way to counter this kind of stress is by giving team members the chance to dance it out - either part way through or at the end of your team meeting. Choose an uplifting, well-known song and encourage everyone to get up, start moving, and dance out their worries.
If your team members don't know each other very well, they might feel shy doing this at first. In order to ease their nerves, you can also try dancing it out with the lights off so that people feel less embarrassed.
Dancing has an overwhelmingly positive effect on the brain. Not only has it been shown to reduce stress and increase feel-good serotonin levels, but it's also just plain fun. It's hard to keep a frown on your face if you've been dancing around to a silly song for a few minutes.
If you're part of a remote team, this wellbeing activity can easily be replicated virtually.
Another fun way to get your employees moving, reduce stress levels, and lift team spirit is by integrating a zumba interlude into your meeting. Again, this can be done at the beginning, part way through or towards the end.
For those of you who aren't familiar, zumba is a fun, high-energy cardio workout that combines Latin and international music with choreographed dance moves. Zumba classes are normally between thirty minutes and an hour long, but you can easily integrate a five or ten minute routine into your meetings.
If you've got a team member who loves zumba, you can ask them to lead this. However, there are also lots of videos on YouTube that you can follow if you don't have any zumba aficionados in your ranks.
Zumba breaks are also great tools for virtual teams, so be sure to give them a try even if you work remotely.
Everyone loves a bit of trivia. In fact, they're an entertainment staple across bars, restaurants, and TV shows worldwide. So why not integrate a bit of trivia into your online team meetings as a quick wellbeing break?
Trivia challenges don't have to be time-consuming or take up hours of your time. A great way to try them out with your virtual team is by beginning every team meeting with one or more trivia questions. They can be on any topic - so you can keep the questions related to your industry, a hobby that employees have in common or pop culture and world events.
If you want to add a competitive edge into this virtual game, you can keep score of how many trivia questions employees get right over time and give out employee recognitions or rewards periodically.
Team members can also take turns thinking up trivia questions so everyone can get involved in both asking and answering.
If you want to make a positive impact on employee mental health and emotional wellbeing in your team meetings, try integrating a team check-in at the beginning of your virtual team meetings.
There are several different ways to do this, but they all involve asking each team member to give a quick assessment of their wellbeing, either personally or professionally. It's often a good idea to ask for a positive and a negative within your question. Here are a few examples:
- Can you identify the highlight and lowlight of your last week?
- What was your biggest win last week and what's something that you'd like to work on moving forward?
- What do you feel is going well in your life right now? What isn't?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how much is on your plate right now?
- What's currently bringing you joy? What isn't?
Team member recognition
It's only natural that people like being recognised for their great work. In fact, a Deloitte study found that as many as 85% of workers want to hear a simple thank you in their day-to-day interactions.
For this reason, one of our favourite virtual team building activities is beginning each meeting with some team member recognition. There are a variety of ways to provide a little bit of recognition, but it can be as simple as deciding on a stand-out employee of the week or month and congratulating them in your team meeting.
While managers can choose the employees they'd like to recognise, you can also try asking other employees to nominate their colleagues.
If you work for a larger company, it might also be appropriate to congratulate a specific team or department for a job well done.
Some remote teams even use platforms like Perkbox for more robust employee recognition initiatives, which can be very effective as well.
Short and sweet
We love this activity because it can be used in so many different contexts. It's perfect for teams of all sizes, but could also work great in a conference setting or even remotely with a few modifications.
All you have to do is ask all meeting participants to write down something they're grateful for on a piece of paper. They can note down something related to their job or the meeting in question, but it can also be something totally different. For example, participants might choose to write that they're grateful for a lesson they've learned, someone they've met, or something they saw that day that made them feel happy.
This activity works best at the end of a meeting because all participants can place their notes onto an established gratitude wall. Being able to look at a physical space and see what everyone is grateful for is a gratifying sensation.
If for some reason participants don't want to display their gratitude notes publicly, another option would be placing them in a jar upon exiting the meeting or simply giving people the option to keep their notes to themselves.
The five senses exercise
The five senses exercise is a great employee wellbeing and mindfulness activity because it allow participants to slow down and connect with the present moment. It only takes about five minutes and provides participants with the opportunity to take a moment and reset.
This activity is also a great tool for employees to be aware of in general because they can come back to it in moments of everyday life stress.
In order to do this exercise, all participants have to do is relax and ask themselves the following questions:
- What five things can I see?
- What four things can I touch?
- What three things can I hear?
- What are two things I can smell?
- What's one thing I can taste?
People doing this exercise can choose to simply think of their answers or write them down.
This is another quick activity that helps employees' mental health and stress levels while giving their sense of calm a boost. It would be most effective as a centring exercise at the beginning of a team meeting and would also be great for remote workers.
In order to lead this activity, ask employees to think of a colour that evokes a sense of calm and relaxation, and another that they associate with stress, frustration or sadness. Then, ask everyone to close their eyes and inhale deeply. When they do so, they should imagine breathing in their calm colour and then exhaling their stress colour.
It's simple, easy to implement, makes workers feel great, and has an immediate relaxing effect.
We all spend so much time sitting down in our professional lives. In fact, many adults in the UK sit for as much as 9 hours per day. This is especially the case due to the amount of computer-based tasks done in the average office as well as the rise of remote working.
Most people also associate team meetings with sitting down, whether they're in-person or online. In order to provide your employees with a much-needed opportunity for movement, why not implement walking meetings? This works best for teams that meet face-to-face, but could also be replicated with phone calls for remote workers.
If you have a large team, try splitting it into small groups of 2-4 and allowing members to walk and talk about a specific issue. If need be, the whole team can come back together at the end of the meeting and put all their ideas together.
Another great wellbeing activity to add into team meetings for a mental and physical health boost is a short yoga flow. It's all too easy to feel stiff, sore, and low energy after spending a long day at the office. Integrating a few yoga exercises into team meetings is a good way to counter that feeling and help employees feel good in their bodies.
Do this activity at the beginning of a meeting to liven up the atmosphere and lift people's spirits or at the end for a relaxing conclusion.
You might be thinking that a team meeting isn't an ideal place to break out the yoga mat and start doing downward facing dog, but it's not necessary to take your yoga activity to that extent. There are plenty of effective poses you can do while standing up and without even breaking a serious sweat. Yet these can still have a big impact on overall health and wellbeing. Here are a few examples:
- Shoulder and/or neck rolls
- Seated or standing twists
- Forward bends
- Back bends
- Cow face pose variations
- Standing crescent moon pose
- Tree pose variations
- Stork pose variations
Shrinking vessel challenge
If you've got more time on your hands and want your wellbeing activity to have more of a team building focus, we think that the shrinking vessel challenge is a great exercise. Not only does it give co workers the opportunity to problem solve, think outside the box, and collaborate on something that isn't purely work-related, but it also provides a mental break during typical working hours.
If you want more details about this classic team building activity, here's how it works. Identify a space on the floor with a blanket, rope, cardboard box, piece of tape or anything else you have on hand. It should be small, but big enough so that everyone can fit inside it easily. Then, continue to reduce the size of the space so that participants are forced to think of creative ways to keep everyone inside its boundaries.
This challenge is a great icebreaker so it would work well at the beginning of a long meeting, multiple days of conferences, or a series of professional development workshops.
Old fashioned egg drop
This is another classic team building activity that's perfect if you've got a little bit of extra time. Like the shrinking vessel challenge, it works well at the beginning of a multi-day meeting, workshop, conference or other similar event. This exercise is good because virtual teams can also participate and submit their entries by email.
It might seem cheesy, but the egg drop is a classic team building activity for a reason. It spurs creative problem solving, promotes team work, and can be a lot of fun.
If you're organising an egg drop challenge, you'll need to gather all sorts of creative materials from your office. Think newspaper, cardboard, tape, kitchen towels, rubber bands, pens, plastic wrap... the works. Then, divide your group into small teams and challenge them to build a structure that'll protect an egg from a two-story drop. Give them thirty minutes to complete the task.
Once the construction phase is finished, then comes the fun part. Take all the teams to a location where they can drop their structures (for example, into a parking lot) and put them to the test. In order to choose the winning team, investigate whose egg is in the best shape after the drop.
Tips for implementing wellbeing activities in team meetings
1. Ask for feedback
One of the most important parts of implementing successful wellbeing initiatives in your workplace is asking for feedback. This should come in two stages.
Before you organise any new wellbeing exercises in your team meetings, ask your colleagues what they think of the idea and whether they have any suggestions. They'll probably be able to provide you with some great ideas that would truly benefit everyone involved.
In addition, it's important that the feedback loop doesn't stop once you've gotten started with your new wellbeing activities. Be sure to ask employees what they think of the exercises so far and whether they have any additional ideas. Establish an easy way for people to share their thoughts freely without putting them on the spot.
2. Plan out your activities in advance
If you're going to implement wellbeing activities in your team meetings, be sure to organise them well ahead of time. They shouldn't be last minute, spur of the moment ideas - they should be intentional and well thought-out.
This might sound obvious, but poorly organised team exercises simply don't work. Be sure to set aside the necessary time and materials you need, along with a solid plan of action, and an established activity facilitator if required.
3. Choose activities that make sense for your space and professional context
Different wellbeing activities will be suitable for different workplaces. There isn't necessarily a one-size-fits-all option. So, it's important to reflect on the makeup of your team and what your professional context is before making any final decisions on the activities you want to offer.
If you ask employees for feedback and ideas, their insights are likely to help inform you as to what would work well. It's also important to keep other factors in mind, for example:
- Do you have a remote team? Is it fully remote, or does it have a mix of in-person and remote employees? Or, does your team mostly work together in an office space?
- What's the average age of your employees?
- What are your employees' interests and hobbies? How do they spend time outside the workplace?
- What's the general fitness level of your employees? Do they like sports and other kinds of physical exercise, or do they gravitate towards more calm activities?
- Are there specific mental, physical or social health challenges you want to address through your wellbeing activities?
- How much space do you have? What materials do you have access to?
4. Be enthusiastic
Some employees might feel awkward participating in wellbeing activities at first, especially the more physical ones. This is normal, but the best way to get over this obstacle is by setting a good example and being enthusiastic. That means if you're the one organising wellbeing activities for team meetings, walk the walk and show everyone how fun and worthwhile they can be!
5. Give different employees the spotlight
Wellbeing activities are a great opportunity to give different employees the spotlight. Rather than having one person organise all the wellbeing exercises for every team meeting, take turns and give everyone an opportunity to shine.
If you make wellbeing activities a habit, it's likely that colleagues will come forward with their own ideas over time. When that happens, encourage them to put their ideas into action and lead an exercise with the group at the next team meeting.
You're ready to get creative with wellbeing activities in the workplace
As you can see, there are so many different ways that you can integrate wellbeing activities into your workplace, both in your team meetings and beyond! Not only is doing so enjoyable for everyone involved, but they also do wonders for energy levels, productivity, rapport and unity. Ultimately, they help you create a happier, healthier and more motivated workforce.
We've outlined twelve of our favourite wellbeing activity ideas in this article, so why not choose one and try it out with your team?
If you're looking for additional solutions for wellbeing in the workplace, check out what Perkbox has to offer by clicking here. We're passionate about helping employers care for, connect with and celebrate the people who work for them.