With the 2022 Winter Olympics just around the corner, there’s no better time to start planning your own Office Olympics event, where employees can indulge in a little competition while getting to know each other.
In this article, we’ll go over our favorite ideas for Office Olympics that are engaging, fun, and can work for virtual, on-site, or hybrid teams.
Office Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremony Ideas
Hosting an Office Olympics event is a great way to increase employee engagement and foster a sense of workplace camaraderie.
There are a number of ways to plan Office Olympics – the event can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. Later on in this article, we’ll go over some Office Olympics ideas that run the gamut from free, fast, and easy, to fee-based and more complex. Both can be fantastic options for any team, and in many cases managers choose to plan a mix of both kinds of activities for a series of events that spans a longer duration.
No matter how you plan your own Office Olympics, though, the event gets increasingly more fun the more you “get into it.” Consider making much ado about the Opening and Closing Ceremonies to add some authenticity and get some buy-in from your team. Here are some of our favorite Office Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremony ideas:
- Post a Schedule of Events Determine whether you’d like your Office Olympics games to be hosted on a single day, or over a longer time period. Then, determine the game or games that best fit into that schedule. Use Thriver’s polling feature to learn more about the Office Olympics activities your team would most enjoy.
- Make Teams Once you nail down the games you’ll be playing, arrange teams accordingly. One of the reasons we like the idea of offering a variety of games (instead of just one) is that it’s easier to include participants of all talents and abilities. Regardless, make sure you’re mindful when designing the teams so that both sides will enjoy the experience.
- Design a Way to Keep Score How you keep score will depend on the way you design your Olympic games. It may be based on points, medal count, or participation, but make sure you outline the system clearly before play begins.
- Set Prizes Will you hand out medals for your Office Olympics? Trophies? Or will you up the ante by offering SWAG, gift cards, or PTO? The prize itself doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you have one to offer – even a small gesture of celebration for participants (Closing Ceremony party, anyone?) will go a long way in making the whole event feel more legit and engaging.
- Light the Torch Speaking of making it legit – go the extra mile by planning a Torch Lighting Ceremony. This is an easy way to incorporate virtual Office Olympics participants – simply ask everyone to take a picture of themselves holding some kind of flame, and put it together in a slideshow to show during Opening Ceremonies. Sweeten the pot by raffling 5 small gift cards or SWAG items among anyone who participates.
It might seem “extra,” but doing these few, relatively easy extra steps will go a long way in increasing enthusiasm and engagement among your team members.
That being said, the activities themselves should be the star of the show, and most of your efforts will go toward planning fun and engaging Office Olympics games. Here are a few of our favorite ideas.
There’s a good reason why trivia competitions are such a popular choice for office events – they’re easy to set up and can accommodate just about anyone, regardless of remote work status, ability, or set of strengths.
Virtual trivia nights are common these days, and there’s an offering to suit just about every need. Check out this easy-to-plan trivia event – complete with a professional live host and online answer platform – that can be easily booked directly from the Thriver marketplace.
Virtual Scavenger Hunt
A virtual scavenger hunt is a super creative Office Olympics game idea because it achieves so many goals at once; not only is it a game that can easily accommodate points or winners (you might award the fastest to complete everything on the list, for example), but it also lends itself really well to virtual and on-site employees getting to know each other in ways they might not otherwise.
For example, you can award participants for things like:
- Taking a picture of their favorite local coffee spot, or one of their pet taking a nap
- Willingness to share or teach a talent they have via Zoom
- Sharing their top three productivity or life hacks
You can also make this a company-based scavenger hunt, where you ask participants to locate certain training material or other relevant resources for their job.
There are so many ways to adapt a scavenger hunt for your own office, virtual or otherwise – it’s an easy way to incorporate a purposeful activity to just about any Office Olympic games.
Desk Chair Soccer
For an Office Olympics activity that’s a bit rowdier and certainly more active, desk chair soccer is almost always a good time. The overall rules are simple: play just like soccer, but remain in your desk chair.
The game will require a certain layout and considerable space accommodations, if you plan to play your Office Olympics games indoors. You’ll also need equipment in the way of a fleet of wheeled office chairs.
If you have the resources – this is a great workplace Olympics idea because it’s 100% free!
If you’re looking for a themed event, you might consider a trivia night that’s based on the actual Olympic games.
Keep in mind that this is kind of a niche knowledge set, so it’s probably best to offer this one among a series of other types of games and activities. However, it certainly helps keep people in the spirit of things, and would be a great way to honor the global event after which your own games are modeled.
Online Office Olympics
If you have an all-virtual workforce, you could host an Office Olympics event that’s specifically designed for remote employees. There are some specific challenges and considerations that come with hosting this type of event; fortunately, there are ones that are uniquely designed to be extra engaging for remote teams.
Book an online Office Olympics event on the Thriver marketplace.
If you’re looking to stay as true to the Olympic spirit as you can, consider including a mini-marathon or how-many-miles challenge to your event. This is where employees log the number of miles they run (or walk, depending on how you structure the activity) over the course of the event, and prizes or points go to the person with the most miles.
Not only is this an easy way to include on-site and remote employees, it’s also a surefire way to beat those winter blues.
For a super silly event that’s sure to have everyone in stitches, try a balloon sprint. This is another affordable and easy option – all you need is a balloon for every person, and enough room for everyone to run from one end of a room to another (give or take). Then, blow up the balloons, mark the start and finish lines, and run!
Oh yeah, the catch – runners have to keep the balloons between their legs for the entire race! If you know that your office demographic is one that isn’t afraid to get a bit silly, a balloon sprint is a great way to reach new levels of laughter and friendship with your teammates.
If you’re looking for a non-athletic event that’s still strongly Olympic-themed, Olympics charades are a blast.
This event offers the best of both worlds: participants act out feats of athletic marvel, but don’t actually have to compete in real life. Players will act out Olympics activities like the decathlon, speed skating, curling, snowboarding, and teammates will guess what Olympic activity they’re demonstrating.
Here’s a no-brainer for an Office Olympics game idea: come up with a game that gives points based on how well team members know one another.
Many of these games are based online and can easily accommodate on-site and remote employees. This one from the Thriver Marketplace gets great reviews for being high energy, fun, and engaging.
For small-scale Office Olympics, minute-to-win-it games can come in really handy. These are games that can be played in a minute or less, and are known for being low-stakes, high-energy – and often mildly ridiculous. Some examples include:
- Trying to eat an Oreo off of your own forehead without using your hands.
- Blowing a pencil from one end of your desk to another.
- Wrapping a present with a bow on top.
- Transferring as many peanuts as you can from one bowl to another using chopsticks.
Minute-to-win-it games are great because they can be easily incorporated into a bigger-scale Office Olympics event; they can also be designed in their own series for an easy-to-plan day of low-cost, light-hearted fun.
Has your office hosted an Office Olympics event in the past? How did it go? The upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics are the perfect opportunity to plan a fun, engaging, cultural event for your team that is sure to increase engagement and help your team members bond with one another.