Holding an office scavenger hunt can be a great team building exercise. The result of the scavenger hunt may ultimately create greater productivity in the workplace while simultaneously building camaraderie among colleagues. There are a number of ideas and different approaches to the office scavenger hunt, some of them emphasize varying levels of personal disclosure, while other approaches emphasize the creative process from inception to completion.
In Tools for Team Building: Activities that Foster Positive Staff Dynamics, Laurie Harnden et al from Evergreen Valley College suggests a "Pocket/Purse" scavenger hunt for breaking the ice among new colleagues. Each participant is given a list of items and five minutes in which to find the greatest number of those items among the pockets and purses of colleagues. Harnden suggests some potential treasures including a photo of a pet, a lipstick, a love note and a fortune from a fortune cookie. Disclosure of such items reveals something about the character of each participant while fostering a sense of play.
The University of Wisconsin Extension has developed a Recipe for Leadership that includes a "Getting To Know You" scavenger hunt developed by Brent H. Betters. Betters suggests that you form teams of three to four members and provide each member with the same list of personal facts. The team is then sent out to locate the colleagues for whom the facts are true. The list can include things like “Who played the violin?” and “Who owns more than two cats?” In order to encourage the team to talk to as many colleagues as possible, no one colleague can be listed more than twice on the fact sheet. The team that completes the sheet first wins. Betters’s purpose for this scavenger hunt beyond the team building and getting-to-know-you function is to provide the group with an opportunity, post-hunting, to analyze how any difficulties that came up in while doing the exercise were overcome by the participants.
A more high tech version of the office scavenger hunt is offered by Oberlin College alumni Finn Kelly. Kelly’s scavenger hunt, called the "Go Game," sends teams equipped with cell phones and digital cameras out into the world to achieve and document goals that are delivered via text message to the cell phones of the team members. Kelly’s contest strongly emphasizes creativity over completion. The most creative solution to the problem or goal is judged winner. For example, one goal prompted each team to “alter something with string and tape.” One of the teams created a faux spider web out of string and mounted two teammates on the web. A photo was taken and submitted and the next goal was issued.
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images