When you're a kid, no one cares if you're playing games in your free time. It's expected and many people would say it's a healthy way for you to develop.
As you grew up, you likely became uncomfortable with playing games in public or professional settings (probably because you were told it's too "childish"). Many of your employees feel the same way, which is why it's so hard to figure out what ice breaker games to play at your corporate retreat.
But the truth of the matter is that playing fun, interactive games can really get your employees revved up about your corporate retreat.
These games have to be done right, in such a way that your employees are ready to take on any challenges you throw at them later on.
To get you started, here are three basic guidelines to helping you choose kick-ass ice breaker games that will set the tone for the rest of the trip!
Make Sure They're Actually Fun
You might think that going hiking to the top of the mountain or zip-lining across the treetops is a blast, but remember: you're only one person out of this entire group.
When you pick ice breaker games and activities for your corporate retreat, you need to keep in mind the general interests of everyone involved. The only way these games will be successful is if your employees leave feeling like they had a good time.
While it's hard to define what "fun" means to everyone, you want to avoid anything that could be potentially dangerous to your employees' health and well-being. It's also best not to plan any games or contests that are far out of their comfort zone, like requiring them to perform in sketches.
Fun ice breaking games might seem out of your reach, but they really aren't. Here are a few ideas:
1. Grab some card or board games. Let your employees choose the games they want to play and let them have it for however long you want.
2. Bring some social video games along. Video games have been proven to increase creativity and decision-making in adults, so why not capitalize on that opportunity with selections like Rock Band or Minecraft?
3. Choose some unique and competitive party games. Split your employees up into teams and, for example, have them create a cake in the shape of your company's logo, or come up with the best life-sized cardboard boat design possible.
Any activities that will leave your employees feeling positive at the end of the day are quality ice breaker games.
Choose Some Team-Building Games
The whole point of your corporate retreat is to make sure everyone's focusing on your company and figuring out how to make it better, but this can't be done when your employees don't interact.
As such, you need to focus on picking games where your employees will be communicating with each other. Ice breaker games that don't make your employees interact is a recipe for retreat disaster.
Really, incorporating team-building into your retreat isn't that hard. For example, in the previous point, all the example game ideas were team-building exercises at their core, even the card and board game suggestions.
When in doubt, go with a competitive game like the cake or cardboard boat ice breaker games. You could even have your employees compete against one another to see which group can come up with the silliest or most comedic strategies to poke fun of your competitors (which won't actually be implemented in real life, of course).
Always keep in mind that your primary goal is to energize your employees for the more "business" side of the retreat, so don't choose any team-building activity that will make them resent being there, like going on a scavenger hunt outside while it's raining. It doesn't matter how pretty your corporate retreat location is; your employees will be very grumpy.
Leave Room for Rest
But wait -- what does this have to do with kick-ass corporate retreat games? Leaving room for breaks and rest doesn't seem like it's related, but it's more vital than you might think.
Sometimes you or your planning team might get too ambitious and pick tons of ice breaker games; this is when it's best to scale back and realize that your employees don't want to be participating in games ALL the time.
Again, since you want your corporate retreat to help make your business successful, and you can't do this when your employees are overwhelmed with activities day in and day out.
Make sure to include some time for them to just sit back and relax. Designate a few different areas around your retreat location that can be used for leisure; you could even consider setting up beverage stations and setting those card, board, or video games on the tables so that your employees can continue interacting with each other on their own time.
You'll find they're far more likely to enjoy the rest of the trip this way and be refreshed when it comes time to get down to business about your business.
You may not be kids anymore, but you still know that quality ice breaker games can make or break your corporate retreat.
When picked and executed well, your employees will feel eager to participate in the rest of the events you have in store for them, and you're more likely to get innovative and beneficial ideas out of them that your company can use for the coming year.
Have you found your ice breaker games to be effective in the past? If not, what do you want to change this year?