Work doesn’t always have to feel like … work. There are exercises you can do in the office, or even virtually, that feel fun, but also serve your team, boost morale, and could improve your bottom line! For example, a workplace scavenger hunt is a great way to onboard new hires, celebrate a product launch, recognize a corporate milestone, or reward your staff for a job well done.
Workplace scavenger hunts are just one of the ways that you can further your company’s mission, and they just happen to be our specialty! Let’s explore the ins and outs of planning an effective event for your employees and uncover some creative scavenger hunt ideas that should help make your event a raving success!
Improve Your Company Culture
If you haven’t tried team building yet, we highly recommend you look into it. Carefully curated corporate activities can be used to increase employee engagement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. The expert guides at Let’s Roam will review your specific needs, answer your questions, and develop a plan that supports your goals. Read about how our workplace scavenger hunts work and contact us today!
What is a Workplace Scavenger Hunt?
As you might already be aware, a scavenger hunt is a competition in which individuals or groups race to use clues of a list of items to find objects or complete challenges. The fastest to make their way through all of the tasks is declared the winner.
While popular with children, adult scavenger hunts are a great way to engage grownups in some wholesome entertainment. Some hunts offer rewards while others simply provide bragging rights. The most important part is that the participants have a fantastic time!
Workplace scavenger hunts are based on the same premise. They’re sort of like treasure hunts and can be used to lighten the atmosphere at the office or serve specific purposes, based on staff and company goals.
Reasons to Organize a Workplace Scavenger Hunt
We’d love for people to enjoy our favorite activities every day, but, since you might need to convince the powers that be that a scavenger hunt is beneficial to your company’s mission and culture, consider the following convincing reasons to host a hunt.
· New Employee Onboarding
When new employees are hired, it’s often difficult to integrate them into existing teams. This is especially true when employees are hired in groups. Often, there can be a natural separation between new hire “classes” and their colleagues.
Ice breaker games are sometimes used to try to break down barriers and build employee relationships. One of the best ways to get everyone together is through the use of team-building exercises like workplace scavenger hunts.
With scavenger hunts, you can divide employees into smaller groups, with new hires on each team, and see how people work together. Since it’s a fun endeavor, the pressure is off! Additionally, you can design some of the clues or riddles to help people uncover facts about one another. They’ll get to know their coworkers while engaging in friendly competition—a win-win!
· Milestone Celebrations
Whether you throw monthly birthday parties or are looking for a way to celebrate a work anniversary, or recognize a promotion, consider an office scavenger hunt! It’s a fantastic way to celebrate a milestone event.
Use the hunt riddles to incorporate trivia about the guest(s) of honor while your employees race to beat a time limit or, better yet, finish first!
· Location Change
If you’re moving to a new location or headed back to the office after extended time working remotely, a team-building event can be exactly what is needed to get everyone back into their comfort zone.
When moving to a new office, a scavenger hunt can help workers to explore their new surroundings, learn where things are, and work as teams for the first time in their new digs.
After being away for a while, sharing a fun experience back at the office can get people back into their grooves. In-person communication and collaboration are encouraged, as participants solve clues and make their way through the scavenger hunt list and try to win!
· Product/Service Launches
There are many ways to celebrate launches, but not all are as exciting and interactive as a workplace scavenger hunt! These activities are far more inclusive than simply holding a rally with a few designated speakers.
Create clues about the new company offerings and test workers’ knowledge about products and services. What better way is there to get everyone pumped about your launch and reward everyone involved for a job well done?
Depending on your company’s specialty, perhaps you can offer your new product to the winning team!
· Team Bonding
There’s not much more important in a workplace than teamwork and, as luck may have it, teamwork is just as important to a successful scavenger hunt!
If you’ve been noticing that your employees can use a little help in the bonding department, get them collaborating as part of a team-building exercise. Easing people into getting to know one another and working together is less daunting when high stakes aren’t involved.
A virtual scavenger hunt is a perfect way to build bonds between workers who don’t share office space or who have not been in the same workplace in a while.
· New Management Introduction
It’s not easy to join a business as a new manager, and it could be equally intimidating to have someone new step into a leadership role. There’s always a change in the dynamic of a team when this occurs.
Smooth the transition by allowing everyone to engage in a scavenger hunt game together. It’s low-risk with high rewards. Allowing everyone to compete as equals and share in a good time should help get the new working relationship off to a good start!
· Improve Communication
Are you managing a team made up of strangers or have you noticed that your crew is not as communicative as they should be? Combat difficulties by bringing everyone together for an exercise that can prompt healthy interaction without much fear.
When people are brought together for an entertaining activity like a workplace scavenger hunt, they tend to feel like they can let their guard down a little. Additionally, by dividing a big group into teams of 3-5 people, you can help some of your more introverted staff members find their voices.
· Enhance Team Problem-Solving Skills
One of the hallmarks of a functional and productive workgroup is that they can work together to solve challenges. Since scavenger hunts are all about overcoming obstacles, they are idea activities to encourage team problem-solving.
Hunts allow people’s strengths to shine, but they also demonstrate how important it is to trust peers and cooperate to achieve common goals. What more could you hope for in a team-building activity?
Workplace Scavenger Hunt Tips
Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for scavenger hunts, we can offer some tips for successful events, based on things we’ve learned along the way.
· Divide your employees into smaller teams.
When working with a large group, it’s advisable to split workers into teams. Teams should be large enough to encourage collaboration, but small enough to foster communication and allow everyone to have a role. Generally, we find that 3-5 members per team is ideal.
Speaking of roles, when you sign up for one of the ScavengerHunt.com activities, each participant is assigned a role. From team photographer to navigator, nature lover to architect, there’s an opportunity for each scavenger hunter to play a pivotal part in the successful completion of challenges.
· Try to plan for at least 90 minutes of activity.
Typically, scavenger hunts take between 2 and 4 hours. Of course, the amount of time per task depends on the theme and difficulty of your clues, but overall, a scavenger hunt should be expected to take at least two hours from beginning to end.
Having at least one or two people test challenges is always wise. That way, you can estimate the amount of time each task will take and get a better idea of the overall duration of your hunt.
Set a time limit, for each task or for the entire event. If time expires before any team completes all tasks, the team that has successfully completed the most tasks wins.
· Play to a variety of strengths.
The most successful workplace scavenger hunts contain a mixture of challenges, ranging in difficulty and type. This is especially true when working with people of different ages, physical abilities, mental strengths, backgrounds, etc.
To make sure that your scavenger hunt is just as enjoyable to everyone involved, plan clues that suit the variety of employees you have. Make sure that there are puzzles, clues, riddles, videos, etc. that test participants but allow all individuals to contribute in their own ways.
· Take location into consideration.
Just as in real estate, when it comes to scavenger hunts, location matters! Always keep logistics in mind when formulating your clues and challenges. There are always conditions that change based on weather, time of day, and other factors.
If you’re hunting around your workspace, make sure that participants are not interrupting day-to-day operations in other parts of the company. Above all, always keep safety and security in mind.
Location is especially impactful if you are hosting a virtual scavenger hunt or hybrid event. Challenges should involve places and items that are common to most houses, offices, or cities. You don’t want to accidentally give any one team an advantage over another.
· Require checkpoints.
Rather than move from start to finish, hunts can be more structured and more exciting when frequent check-ins are required. Ideally, you should have a check-in for each task or location. That way, you can keep tabs on teams, address any issues that come up along the way, and sure the event is on track.
In addition, check-ins can help to promote competition. For example, each time a team successfully conquers a challenge, let the other teams know via text. This will keep the momentum going and push teams to finish faster. Use an app or simply assign an impartial scavenger hunt moderator to collect photo proof of completed challenges and send out status reports.
ScavengerHunt.com uses a specially designed, intuitive app that can handle this for you, so when you sign up for one of our events, you’ll not only save time and energy on clue creation, but you will also rest assured knowing that an app will keep tabs on your teams!
Workplace Scavenger Hunt Theme Ideas
A theme is not required for a successful scavenger hunt, but they can help to structure your clues and make things a little more event-appropriate or interesting.
· Get to Know Your Coworkers Scavenger Hunt
If you’re looking for a way for employees to get more acquainted with each other, making getting to know one another the theme of your workplace scavenger hunt! There are different ways to do this.
- While preparing your scavenger hunt list, ask participants to submit fun facts and incorporate them in your clues.
- Ask employees to take a selfie with someone with the same birthday month, learn the name of at least five coworkers’ furry friends, or hunt down someone with the same make of car.
Use criteria that break workers out of their work social circles and comfort zones, branch out, and learn new things about their colleagues.
· Photo Scavenger Hunt
Photo scavenger hunts are always a blast! They don’t need to be all about selfies, but it doesn’t hurt to include a few social media share-worthy pictures in the mix. The only real requirement is that pics show proof of completed tasks.
If the event takes place in the office, ask participants to find objects either purposely placed or worth hunting down. Require a team pic in front of a funny poster or ask teams to submit photos of three employees wearing green.
Find more suggestions in our ultimate guide to photo scavenger hunts!
· Fun Around Town Scavenger Hunt
Venturing outside of the office can be a welcome reprieve from the workday. Even if you’re hosting a virtual hunt, “fun around town” allows everyone to take part in their own way.
Lead teams to local landmarks or watering holes, or ask them to produce proof they’ve found items in their own towns that satisfy the requirements of each task.
· Holiday Party Scavenger Hunt
Looking for holiday party ideas? How about a holiday-themed hunt? Get festive with your scavenger hunt list and ask participants to find common holiday sights.
You might ask for a pic of at least one team member looking through a wreath, posing with a life-sized Santa, or imitating a snowman. Employees could be required to find three inflatable cartoon character decorations or nine reindeer.
· Problem-Solving Scavenger Hunt
This one is fantastic for team-building. Cut right to the chase by creating clues that require problems to be solved before participants can check-in and move on to the next task.
Depending on your business’ specialty, you can work in problems that would require thought patterns similar to those needed for day-to-day operations, with the added element of fun competition.
· Office Supplies Scavenger Hunt
An office supply scavenger hunt is perfect for a new workplace christening or for departments with employees who rarely escape from their own little cubicle neighborhood.
Challenge people to move around the building to collect items from supply closets and take pics of objects on desks to show they’ve found two red staplers, one hole punch, an ancient document scanner, a corded phone, and a straightedge.
· Training Scavenger Hunt
When employees need to learn new skills, turn the doldrums of everyday training into a game with a workplace scavenger hunt! Use the event to teach fundamentals or test their new knowledge.
· Code Hacking Scavenger Hunt
This one’s for all you devs out there! You can create a hunt based on finding hidden Easter eggs in code, creating code to figure out clues, or a combination of the two.
This is always a great way to keep things challenging and work-related while injecting a bit of excitement. If you have skeptical members of leadership who aren’t sure what a scavenger hunt can do for the company, this could be a clever way to convince them.
· Truth or Dare Scavenger Hunt
A truth- or dare-themed hunt requires more effort upfront, as each task needs a truth option and a dare option, but the payoff is grand! Participants can elect to perform either a truth or a dare to move on to the next task.
If you’ve ever seen The Amazing Race, a truth or dare scavenger hunt is similar to a series of detours. Each of the truths and dares should have a pro and a con. A truth task might be more revealing, while a dare could be more time-consuming.
· Unlocked Riddles Scavenger Hunt
In an unlocked riddles scavenger hunt, participants are challenged to solve riddles to find combinations or keys to unlock vessels containing their next clues.
Similar to geocaching, much of the enjoyment of these events is built around suspense. Clues should be clever and are often complex riddles, and making each task more difficult than the one before it lends toward a buildup to the final challenge!
· Acts of Kindness Scavenger Hunt
We could all use a little kindness! Host a scavenger hunt that hits everyone in the feels. Challenge your workplace scavenger hunters to make days brighter for others. Each task should require at least one team member to do something nice for someone in the office or around town.
Activities can be as simple as holding a door open to let someone pass. Alternatively, teams can be challenged to solve clues to collect items like toys, food, and cleaning supplies that need to be taken to one or more shelters around town.
· Virtual Scavenger Hunt
If you’re working remotely, you can still get in on the action. Virtual scavenger hunts are just as enjoyable! All you have to adjust is the hunting ground.
Tasks will need to be activities that can be completed in employees’ homes. So think about objects that can be found around the house, yard, or neighborhood, or actions that aren’t location-dependent.
Sample challenges might include finding an item with more than three buttons or building a specific object using things found in the fridge.
Workplace Scavenger Hunt Rewards
Once you have an occasion, have set a theme, and have created your scavenger hunt clues, it’s time to decide on the reward(s) for the winning team.
· Intangible Rewards
Sometimes, all it takes to spur competition is the desire for bragging rights, but there can be other intangible ways to reward the winning team. For example, “team choice” is a very popular perk. Even if the office is buying lunch for everyone, the winning team can be granted the right to pick the menu.
· Tangible Rewards
If your group is more driven by prizes, think about offering swag bags! Gift bags filled with branded gear and local donations are always a hit. Gift cards can sometimes be purchased using credit card reward points, so they don’t need to cost the department any money from the annual budget.
Another option is to have a trophy made. It can be an actual, professionally-made trophy or something put together in the office. Make it as crazy and extravagant as you can! Then, treat it like the Stanley Cup—pass it from winning team to winning team, as you complete team-building events throughout the year.
Team-building scavenger hunts are a fun way to get everyone involved in an activity that can better the workday and have lasting benefits. Beyond being a well-earned break or a party game, these events can shape a positive company culture!
If a DIY scavenger hunt seems daunting and you’re just not finding any promising printables online, consider reaching out to the experts at ScavengerHunt.com. Who better is there to plan a winning event for your valued team members?
View all of our team-building activities and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions. We’re here to help! Let us plan your next team event.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re in need of workplace scavenger hunt ideas, the experts at ScavengerHunt.com can help. Consider themes like “Getting to Know You,” “Fun Around Town,” “Code Hacking,” or an “Office Supply Hunt.”
For your virtual team, ScavengerHunt.com can plan in-home scavenger hunts or team-building activities like murder mystery parties, wellness sessions, intrapreneurship workshops, game nights, and more!