Budget Team Building Activities: Prioritizing Play in Times of Downsizing


In today's confusing (a.k.a. all flipping over the place) business landscape, downsizing and reduced budgets have become an unfortunate reality for many organizations. However, through all these challenging circumstances, it’s critical to keep morale high, and continue to prioritize team building and fostering a playful spirit within the workplace. Team building activities not only strengthen bonds between colleagues, but also enhance productivity, creativity, and overall employee satisfaction. Here are a few budget options to consider.


Bring play to lunch

Set a day every week or month to be game day during lunch. Play charades, board games, Pictionary, game shows, cards….get creative! Poll your team on games they love most, and try to mix it up a bit so everyone’s favorites are played.

Volunteer together

Engage in community service projects as a team. Whether it's organizing a local food drive or participating in a charity run, volunteering not only strengthens bonds but also allows employees to give back and feel aligned with the values of your organization. Here’s a great article on how to choose the right organization and social cause.

Recognize your employees

Recognizing and celebrating the achievements of team members can significantly boost morale and helps to make everyone feel seen and valued. You could implement a formal employee recognition program where peers can nominate and acknowledge the exceptional efforts of their colleagues. Or just take a moment for shout-outs at the beginning or end of key meetings. You can also have a Slack channel dedicated to gratitude that anyone can contribute to. Whatever you choose to implement, your corporate culture will improve, and employees will feel more appreciated.

Plan a team-building challenge

Nothing brings teams together better than a shared mission or challenge. So, set aside some time for a scavenger hunt. There are a lot of options out there for virtual hunts, indoor or themed adventures, outdoor excursions, and more for every budget and team size. These types of activities not only bring your teams together and lighten the mood a bit, but they also get your teams thinking creatively and outside the box.

Share insights with lunch and learns

Another great option for turning your lunch breaks into connection time with your team is to host regular Lunch and Learns. In these knowledge-sharing sessions, you can encourage your employees to present on topics they’re passionate and excited about, or bring in guest speakers to share insights, industry trends. It is a great way to foster a sense of learning and collaboration among your teams.



In the face of downsizing and reduced budgets, team building and cultivating a playful work environment are more crucial than ever. Although financial constraints may limit extravagant team-building initiatives, the power of camaraderie and employee engagement should not be undervalued. By embracing low-cost team-building activities, encouraging creativity, and emphasizing employee recognition, organizations can create an environment where individuals thrive, collaboration flourishes, and collective success becomes achievable.