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40 Epic Workplace Contest Ideas to Engage Your Team


Looking for workplace contest ideas? Our favorites include desk decorating, a pizza cook-off, the great race, and the paper plane building contest!

If you’re a manager or new to your team, why not build team morale and a connection with some workplace contest ideas?

Contests are a way to bring people together, especially when they are all in good fun.

Do you sometimes feel like your team has a bit of an edge missing? Are the same old daily tasks beginning to seem mundane and unexciting between co-workers? We’ve got just the thing: workplace contests!

Not only do they bring a fun, competitive spirit into the workplace but they also help engage employees, inspire collaboration between teams, and can even encourage healthy competition amongst coworkers. Run a contest for yourself and see how much your team loves it!

Read on to find out 25 ways that you can inject some creativity and excitement into your office with these awesome workplace contest ideas!

male and female employees with computers sitting in front of a white board covered in post-it notes

25 Workplace Contest Ideas to Bring Out the Best in Your Team

1. Play Bingo

Bingo is a super easy and fun contest that everyone enjoys. You can make it a week-long process with the bingo items being tasks to complete throughout the week.

Or you can play different versions of Bingo related to facts of your team or company history. Make your own bingo cards or use printable ones online.

This is a great opportunity to build team morale is an excellent way to engage large groups.

I wouldn’t suggest relating it to a job description or accomplishments. The goal is to bring people together, not point out their differences.

2. The Scavenger Hunt Challenge

Hide different items around the office and have clues that lead to each item. Whoever finds the items first wins a prize! It’s one of those fun activities that everyone loves.

Make it really challenging or simple – it’s really up to you! Scavenger hunts that have clues leading to more clues take some time to plan but they really are the most fun!

3. Caption This!

Put up a funny photo or meme with a caption and have everyone submit their own captions for it.

The winner can be chosen by the team or even by an audience if you’re feeling generous.

This is a fun game that can easily be done in the break room and you can include people like sales reps or business owners who might not always be on site everyday.

4. The Most Creative Challenge

Have each contestant draw, paint or design something creative with a specific theme. The most creative piece of art wins!

There’s so many ways you can do this. Give them limited supplies or just one type of supply to work with. Maybe they can only use things on their desk to build a dinosaur. Split them into teams or keep it individual – it’s up to you and the size of your team!

If you do make teams, pair them randomly. This is a great way to get people out of their comfort zone and working with someone new. Turn this into a social event with snacks or ice cream and drinks too!

5. The Video Masterpiece Contest

Engage your team in an exciting competition where they can showcase their creativity and entertain everyone with their video-making skills. The victorious team will be rewarded!

This thrilling contest is designed for smaller teams. Allocate thirty minutes for each team member to brainstorm and script their unique video concept, followed by another thirty minutes to film their masterpiece. It’s a fantastic opportunity to unlock their creative potential, particularly for staff members who are not accustomed to working with videos.

To ensure a smooth process, encourage your team to utilize user-friendly online video editing software. This way, they can easily transform their raw footage into a captivating final product. So let the creativity flow and watch as your staff members explore their untapped video-making talents!

6. Costume Contest

Encourage everyone to dress up in costumes or work-related attire. The most creative costume wins!

Other ideas for costume contests include:

  • Disney character costumes
  • Decades
  • Celebrities
  • Animals

A fun costume contest goes a long way when it comes to boosting camaraderie. And it’s a good way to break up the daily monotony of business attire.

7. The Pizza Cook-Off

In this version of a chili cook-off, have each team member create a unique pizza recipe and then have the team vote on which one is the best. The winning pizza gets a prize!

You could also do variations of this for things like appetizer and desserts. No matter what you make it’s a tasty challenge everyone is sure to enjoy!

man with ipad sitting at a desk

8. Decorate Your Desk Challenge

Have each team member decorate their desk in a fun and creative way.

You can do this by holiday or even seasonally! It’s a fun way to boost team morale, creativity, and the office decor.

Have each employee vote on the best desk (anonymously and they can’t vote for themselves!).

9. The Quiz Challenge

Create an interesting quiz that tests employees on the company mission, values and goals. The employee who gets the highest score wins.

To make it more appealing, generate and share QR codes with a link to that quiz with employees for maximum participation.

To take it a step further, have each team member write a quiz question themselves, trying to make it as challenging as possible.

10. The Brainteaser Challenge

Create challenging brainteasers that test employees on their problem-solving skills. Whoever solves the most riddles in a limited time wins!

11. The Productivity Challenge

Issue an office-wide challenge to see who can complete the most tasks within a set period of time. And then let them off half a day early as a prize. Best manager ever.

12. The Great Race

Create a scavenger hunt race around the office. The first team to complete all of the tasks and find their way back to the starting line wins!

You can split this over a few weeks to give everyone something to look forward to.

Pair them up and have various tasks related to office life. For example, you could have them have to carry an egg a certain distance without using their hands.

13. The Charades Contest

Split your teams into two groups and have each group act out popular expressions, phrases or sayings for the other team to guess.

You can find versions of charades online or purcahse a version from Target or Amazon.

four team members sitting at a desk collaborating

13. Trivia Lunch Break

Have a trivia night and let each team member pick the questions they want to ask. The team with the most correct answers wins!

You can easily find online trivia games or use an online quiz maker to make your own! You could even have the team members submit trivia questions. It’s easier than it seems.

14. The Speed Challenge

Come up with an interesting task (like typing, stacking cups, etc.) and have each employee compete against each other to see who can complete a task as quickly as possible.

Issue a challenge to write the best blog post, article, or piece of content related to something relevant to your team.

This can even be a sales contest to inspire your sales teams to make more sales in a friendly competition!

15. Office Survival Challenge

This fun one has participants test their office survival skills – the last one standing wins!

Give contestants challenges such as memorizing company facts, cracking codes, completing puzzles, scavenging around the office, etc.

The winner could be rewarded with a special lunch or reward of their choice.

16. Step Challenge

Get your team members moving and issue a step challenge! Split them into teams or let them compete individually with how many steps they can take in a quarter.

Give them pedometers with weekly check-in dates and make it truly fun!

17. March Madness

For a workplace take on the basketball competition, for March Madness, have teams compete in creative competitions like creating the best basketball-themed office decorations or create an awesome tournament bracket.

Each team can win points for each challenge and whoever has the most points at the end of the competition gets a special prize.

18. The Price Is Right Competition

In the spirit of the classic game show, host a variation of the show at work.

Split teams into two and have each team guess prices on popular items around the office like snacks, drinks and office supplies.

The team with the most correct guesses wins!

19. Photography Challenge

Challenge your employees to take photos that capture something unique about the office, team or business.

Have each employee submit their photos and have a panel of judges choose the best photo.

20. The Great Debate

Bring out your inner debaters and challenge teams to debate different topics related to work or even popular culture.

Divide your teams into two and have them argue their points in front of a panel of judges. Whoever has the most convincing argument wins!

empty chairs around a coffee table

21. Guess Who

Have each employee share a fun fact about them and have the team guess who each fact belongs to.

Keep it fun and work appropriate!

Some facts might include:

  • Has never been to Disney World
  • Hiked to base camp Mt Everest
  • Went to Antarctica
  • Never ate twizzlers
  • First movies ever saw in theaters was the Flintstones

These are fun and neutral facts that also make great conversation starts for your team! The person who guesses the most right, wins!

22. Relay Race

This is one of the best workplace competitions for small groups. It’s a great idea to get the entire team involved.

Set up fun relay races around the office, whether it’s a paper airplane race or pool noodle jousting.

Split teams into two and have them compete against each other in different rounds to see which team can finish first! The winning team either one the most contests or had the best times.

23. Paper Plane Building Contest

Have teams or individuals build paper airplanes and see who can craft the best one.

Have everyone line up and see who’s paper plane travels the farthest! You could also give prizes for most creative design or most sleek design.

This is one of those fun contest ideas that’s simple to put together and increases employee engagement. You could even share it on social media for extra content!

24. Video Game Competition

Host a video game competition and split teams into two. Have each team compete against each other in popular driving, sports, or shooter games.

The team who wins the most rounds wins the competition!

25. A Raffle

Run a raffle with prizes of your choosing – like snacks, gift cards, or movie tickets.

Employees can enter by submitting their best ideas on how to improve the team’s workflow and productivity.

It’s a great way to get some creative solutions while rewarding employees with fun prizes.

You could also run a raffle randomly and do monthly prize drawings having each employee get additional raffle tickets or entries for certain tasks they complete throughout the month for more chances to win.

And there we have it, 25 ideas for workplace contests! Hopefully these inspire you to create something fun for your team members. They deserve to relax and let loose!

26. Play Hearts

The classic card game of Hearts is a great way to compete against your coworkers in an exciting way.

Hearts is played by swapping cards through a series of rounds, the objective is to have the lowest number of points. The online version features the game in a colorful interface and provides a detailed rulebook as well as strategies on how to be successful at it.

27. Compete at a solitaire game of the day

Solitaire Bliss offers a wide variety of card games that will bring the whole workplace togetherGames such as Solitaire, Freecell, Yukon, and many more are available for free. The online gaming site features customizable settings such as colorful card decks and backgrounds.

Play the game of the day with your co-workers and see who has the best score for ultimate bragging rights!

pizza party for work

28. Desk Decoration Contest:

Challenge employees to decorate their desks or workspaces based on a specific theme. It could be related to holidays, seasons, or a creative theme chosen by the team. This is one of the most flexible workplace contest ideas because you can tailor it to holidays or seasons!

29. Meme Competition:

Encourage employees to create memes related to the workplace, industry, or team dynamics. This can be a lighthearted way to showcase humor and camaraderie.

30. Office Olympics:

Organize a day of office-friendly games and competitions. This could include chair races, paper airplane contests, or even a mini-golf course set up around the office.

31. Innovation Challenge:

Task teams with coming up with innovative solutions to a particular challenge facing the company. This encourages creative thinking and problem-solving.

32. Cubicle/Office Makeover:

Allow employees to revamp their cubicles or offices within a budget. This can showcase creativity and personalization of workspaces.

33. Chili Cook-Off:

Hold a cooking competition where employees bring in homemade dishes. This is a great way to share cultures and culinary talents within the team.

34. Escape Room Challenge:

Take the team to an escape room venue or create a DIY escape room in the office. It promotes teamwork and problem-solving skills.

35. Themed Team-Building Days:

Plan themed team-building days where everyone dresses up or participates in activities related to a specific theme. It could be a decade-themed day, a sports day, or a “Superhero Day.”

36. Lip Sync Battle:

Host a lip sync battle where individuals or teams prepare entertaining performances. This can be a great way to showcase hidden talents and have a good laugh.

37. Pet Parade:

If the workplace allows it, organize a pet parade where employees bring their pets to the office for a friendly competition. Award prizes for categories like “Best Dressed Pet” or “Most Talented Pet.”

38. Hours of Exercise

Promote a healthy living among your employees by grouping them together to track hours of exercise as a team. The winners can get something special like two extra days of PTO.

39. Spelling Bee

Why not engage in a good old fashioned spelling bee? Set the rules and have everyone join in on a fun afternoon. It’s a fun little friendly competition that doesn’t involve much prep.

As a bonus, use only tricky words from your profession!

40. Tech-Free Day:

Hold a contest where employees voluntarily disconnect from technology for a day. The person or team that successfully embraces the tech-free challenge could win a prize.

Why run workplace contests?

There are a number of reasons why you might choose to run a workplace contest.

Perhaps you want to increase morale and camaraderie among your employees. Maybe you’re looking for a fun way to recognize and reward top performers. Or you could simply be trying to find a new, innovative way to promote your company or product.

No matter what your reasons may be, contests can be a great way to energize your team and boost productivity.

They can also help create a more positive work environment, strengthen relationships among coworkers, and improve communication.

If you’re thinking about running a contest at your company, there are a few things to keep in mind:

First, make sure the contest is relevant to your employees and the goals of your business.

Next, come up with a clear set of rules and guidelines, and make sure everyone knows what they are.

Finally, be sure to communicate the winners and losers (and why) in a respectful manner.

Contests can be a lot of fun, but they should never be used as a way to belittle or humiliate employees.

Done right, they can be an effective way to motivate and engage your team members, improving both their productivity and your bottom line.

Types of workplace contests:

Workplace contests can come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one common goal: to motivate employees and improve productivity.

Here are a few of the most common types of workplace contests:

1. The prize drawing contest:

This is the most common type of workplace contest, and it’s usually held as a way to celebrate a special occasion or milestone.

Employees enter by submitting their names into a drawing, and the winner is randomly selected. The prize might be something small, like a $50 gift card, or something larger, like a new car.

2. The team competition:

This type of contest pits teams of employees against each other in a competition to see who can achieve the best results.

The team that finishes first or with the best score wins a prize. This type of contest is often used to motivate employees to work harder and achieve better results.

3. The individual competition:

This type of contest is similar to the team competition, but it pits individuals against each other instead of teams.

The individual who achieves the best results wins a prize. This type of contest is often used to motivate employees to work harder and achieve better results.

4. The time-based contest:

This type of contest challenges employees to see who can complete a task or tasks the fastest.

The employee who finishes first or with the best time wins a prize.

This type of contest is often used to motivate employees to work faster and more efficiently.

woman standing in front of clear board with post it notes

How to choose the right contest for your team:

You might be wondering how to choose the right contest for your team.

It can be tough, because there are so many out there! But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

The first step is to figure out what your team is good at. What do they like to do? What are they good at?

Once you’ve figured that out, you can start looking for contests that fit those skills.

If your team likes to play sports, there are a lot of contests out there for you. If you’re good at science or math, there are also a lot of contests for those subjects.

So take a look at what’s out there and find one that matches your team’s skills.

The next step is to make sure the contest is fair.

Not all contests are created equal, and some are definitely more difficult than others.

So make sure the contest you choose is one that your team can actually compete in.

Otherwise, it’s not going to be much fun – and it’s definitely not going to be fair.

Finally, make sure the contest is something your team will enjoy.

This is probably the most important part, because if your team doesn’t enjoy the contest, they’re not going to do well in it. So find something that interests them and go for it!

Planning and executing a workplace contest

When planning and executing a workplace contest, it is important to take into account a few key things.

First, you’ll want to make sure that the contest is feasible for your workplace.

This means considering things like the amount of time the contest will take, the amount of work required, and the resources needed.

You’ll also want to make sure that the contest is fun and engaging for employees.

This can be done by choosing a fun theme or by giving employees exciting prizes to compete for.

Finally, you’ll need to make sure that the contest is organized and run smoothly.

This includes setting clear rules and making sure that everyone involved knows what they’re responsible for.

workplace presentation

If you’re planning a workplace contest, here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Choose a theme:

If you’re having trouble coming up with a good idea for a contest, try choosing a theme.

This can give you a starting point and can help you come up with ideas for prizes and activities.

Some popular themes include Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving recipes, or holiday decorating.

2. Brainstorm prizes:

Once you have a theme in mind, start brainstorming prizes.

Think about things that employees would enjoy competing for, such as gift cards, vacation days, or even cash prizes.

3. Decide on activities:

Once you have prizes in mind, start thinking about activities that contestants can do to win them.

This could involve anything from writing essays to designing posters to singing holiday carols.

4. Set rules and regulations:

Once you have everything planned out, it’s time to set rules and regulations.

These should include things like the start and end dates of the contest, who is eligible to participate, and what activities are allowed.

5. Organize the contest:

Now it’s time to put everything into action!

Make sure everyone who needs to know knows what they’re responsible for and start tracking submissions or votes accordingly.

The benefits of workplace contests:

A workplace contest can be a fun and effective way to motivate employees. When employees are motivated, they are typically more productive and creative.

Contests can also help to build teamwork and camaraderie among employees.

There are a number of different types of contests that can be held in the workplace.

Some contests might involve completing a task or project as quickly and efficiently as possible. Others might require employees to come up with innovative ideas or solutions. Still others might be based on who can sell the most products or services.

No matter what type of contest is held, there are a number of benefits that can be reaped.

First and foremost, contests can help to improve employee productivity.

When employees are focused on winning a contest, they are often more determined to do their best work. In addition, contests can help to build morale and teamwork among employees.

When employees are working together towards a common goal, they often develop a stronger sense of camaraderie.

Finally, contests can be a great way to recognize the achievements of employees.

Winners of workplace contests can feel proud of their accomplishments and may be more likely to strive for even greater success in the future.

How To Use Workplace Contests To Build Team Comraderie

Building team spirit through workplace contests can be a fun and effective way to foster camaraderie. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose Inclusive Contests: Select activities that appeal to a wide range of interests and abilities. This ensures everyone feels included and engaged.
  2. Set Clear Goals: Clearly define the purpose of the contest, whether it’s to boost productivity, creativity, or simply for team bonding.
  3. Variety is Key: Rotate the types of contests to keep things fresh. This could include trivia quizzes, creative challenges, sports events, or even charity drives.
  4. Prizes and Recognition: Offer meaningful rewards. These don’t have to be extravagant; recognition, small gifts, or extra time off can be highly motivating.
  5. Team-Building Focus: Design contests that require collaboration and teamwork. This encourages employees to work together towards a common goal.
  6. Transparent Rules: Ensure everyone understands the rules, judging criteria, and timeline. This prevents any confusion or disputes.
  7. Encourage Participation: Make it voluntary but create an environment where everyone feels encouraged to participate.
  8. Regular Feedback: Provide constructive feedback after each contest. Highlight successes and areas for improvement to enhance future events.
  9. Celebrate Efforts: Acknowledge not just the winners, but also the effort and creativity put in by all participants.
  10. Post-Contest Reflection: Hold a debriefing session to gather feedback. This helps in planning future contests and shows employees their opinions are valued.
  11. Maintain a Positive Atmosphere: Ensure the contests promote a positive and inclusive atmosphere, avoiding any sense of competition turning into rivalry.
  12. Document and Share Successes: Record the outcomes and successes of each contest. Share them with the team to highlight achievements and boost morale.

Remember, the key is to make these contests enjoyable and light-hearted, rather than overly competitive. It’s about bringing the team together and celebrating their collective achievements.

And finally, 10 Tips For Making The Most of Your Contest

To make the most out of having a contest at work, consider these strategies:

  1. Clear Objectives: Define specific goals for the contest, such as boosting productivity, enhancing creativity, or improving teamwork.
  2. Relevance to Goals: Ensure the contest aligns with the company’s overall objectives and values.
  3. Inclusive Participation: Encourage all team members to participate, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity.
  4. Meaningful Prizes: Offer rewards that are relevant and valued by employees, such as extra time off, personalized gifts, or professional development opportunities.
  5. Regular Communication: Keep participants informed about contest details, progress, and deadlines. Maintain open channels for questions and feedback.
  6. Transparency and Fairness: Clearly outline rules and judging criteria. Ensure that the contest is conducted fairly and without bias.
  7. Encourage Creativity and Innovation: Design contests that stimulate fresh ideas and innovative thinking among employees.
  8. Team-Building Opportunities: Structure contests to promote collaboration and teamwork, strengthening bonds among team members.
  9. Feedback and Recognition: Provide constructive feedback to participants, recognizing their efforts and highlighting areas of excellence.
  10. Learning and Development: Create opportunities for skill-building and professional growth through the contest. Encourage employees to acquire new knowledge and apply it.
  11. Post-Contest Evaluation: Assess the outcomes and lessons learned from the contest. Use this information to refine future contests and strategies.
  12. Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge the winners and participants, emphasizing the collective effort that went into the contest’s success.
  13. Boost Morale and Motivation: Use the contest to inject energy and enthusiasm into the workplace, creating a positive atmosphere.
  14. Document Results: Keep records of the contest’s impact on performance, productivity, or any other relevant metrics. This information can be useful for future initiatives.
  15. Continual Improvement: Use feedback and insights gathered from the contest to continually refine and improve future contests.

Remember, the key is to create an environment where contests are seen as opportunities for growth, learning, and camaraderie, rather than just a competitive event.

In Summary: Workplace Contest Ideas To Motivate Your Team

There are many reasons to run a workplace contest and various types of contests you can choose from.

It’s important to select the right type of contest for your team, plan and execute it well, and enjoy the benefits afterwards.


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About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.

Website: genthirty.com