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25 Great Ideas For Team Building Time At Work

Fun things to do with those people from the other desks.
Last updated: 2019-12-19
Photos: SmSh Photographers

Got a job? Work on a team in China? Then, guess what, you are going team-building this year. It doesn't have to suck, though. There's plenty to do that don't involve sitting around listening to the VP from Hong Kong prattle on about who cares what while you pick at the food and play with your phone. If you're an employee, show this article to the person who decides on this year's team-building activity. If you're a boss, don't be boring; take our advice. And if you're unemployed, well, hey, get a job on SmartShanghai ASAP!

1. Ice Skating at the Mercedes Benz Arena

This is probably the biggest, nicest rink in Shanghai, still, even after we made that judgement back in 2016. Definitely big enough to get the whole office out there, unsteadily wobbling around the rink like they are learning to walk again for the first time. The ice itself is 1,200 square meters and they’ve always got a couple “ice guards” on hand to help you out with spills. Tickets are 80rmb across the board — no discounts for big groups — and get you unlimited time on weekdays or 90 minutes on weekends.

2. Take Cooking Classes With These Studios

Learn how to do something with your hands besides type. Eat something with your mouth besides takeout deliveries. Cooking is a communal, bonding thing but doing it in a group gives it a friendly, competitive edge, which is exactly what you want when you’re out with your colleagues. Kaixin Cooking, Chinese Cooking Workshop and ABC Cooking Studio all offer programs for four or more people.

3. Step Into Virtual Reality


Real life is overrated. Go kill zombies and robots in the Dupliverse instead. Here’s five places to do that.

4. Go Indoor Surfing in Minhang

This one is good because there is a 100% guarantee everyone is going to wipe out and be washed up and over the wave channel. A great leveling, as it were. Also it’s a lot of fun. One catch: Ukong Surfing only has two channels (five people per channel at once, maximum) so this is perhaps better for a smaller office. 199rmb per person for a half-hour of wipeouts.

5. Swim in a Liquid Chocolate Fountain

Well, almost. Zotter Chocolate Theatre combines chocolate production, a tasting tour, a chocolate shop and a Viennese style cafe by Austrian "bean-to-bar" chocolate maker known for its organic and fair trade principles. They do tours in English and Chinese.

6. Paintball at a Million Places

Nothing like a homicidal day out shooting your colleagues with hard, paint-filled projectiles to show how happy you are about your work environment! Blast Lily from accounting right in the helmet to let her know you appreciate the timely payment of your salary! Thwap John from IT in the thigh to give him a lasting bruise that will remind him of all those friendly times you’ve had together while trying to recover your forgotten password! Load up your hopper with water-based love for your boss and the company she’s built that enables you to live out your dreams, and then machine-gun that love right into her chest as she charges at you down the hallway! There are a million places that do this in Shanghai. Heres's two.

7. Cages

Obviously. But also maybe Bingo Night there (Tuesday) or BBQ Night (Thursdays) or the group karaoke in the back room? Or just rent the whole damn place. Buy-outs start in the six-figure range.

8. Stretch It Out with a Group Yoga Class

All yoga studios do group classes. Finding a teacher to do a teambuilding class in English should cost around 2,000rmb, according to SmSh’s resident yoga teacher.

9. KTV but Over the Top

Nothing wrong with KTV at the standards, like Haoledi, but there are some pretty special rooms in Shanghai. At Space Plus, the biggest club in Shanghai, they have a Game of Thrones room; at this Chun K, they have a room decorated like Yayoi Kusama artworks. Or just get generally over the top at King of Party.

10. Huangpu River Cruise

Get one of them double dragon boats and have a great view (though dinner might be better had elsewhere). Tickets on the One on Huangpu River (浦江游览壹号, telephone 6318 8888) boat, which include entry ticket and buffet dinner, go for 270rmb each. Or do the sit-down table of ten for 4,180rmb (1,000rmb more a private dining room.)

11. Disney, if the Boss Springs for Fast Passes

Put the boss on the front row of Tron, no hands. This is how you do the rest of the park.

12. Rent a Whole Damn Villa

There is a whole industry in Shanghai of villas and homes for rent for team-building and parties and the like. They are called hong pa guan (轰趴馆) and there are 750 of them listed on Dianping. In fact, they have their own category also called hong pa guan. Too many to list individually on our site, so click here to browse.

13. Tempt Death at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park

There used to be a time, many years ago, when you could buy chickens to feed the lions. You can’t do that anymore but you can take the caged bus through the different lands, where bears rattle the grill and lions block the path. Nothing like getting up close and personal with megafauna, together. At night.

14. Turn Into Nerds

This place specializes in uncommon boardgames and Table Role Play Games (TRPG). Like Dungeons and Dragons. The hall holds about 50 people, and it has a small private room for 8-10 people. Renting out the space is preferably arranged on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; they don’t book private events on the weekends.

15. Blacklight Minigolf!

This one just opened and there’s nothing else like it in Shanghai.

16. Get the Boss Very Drunk at Dinner

This maybe isn’t a standlone idea but something that will happen naturally as the day turns into night. But why not do it at The Flying Elephant, Shanghai’s premier (only) Russian restaurant, where 1,000rmb will get you five bottles of chilled Five Lakes vodka?

17. Get Outdoors

We do this often and have some suggestions of places to go and trails to hike. Or go glamping in luxury tents with Neoroll, who have properties in Wuxi, Jiaxing, Hangzhou, Changzhou and Shanghai.

18. Do Something For Charity

Imagine that. This article will tell exactly where you can volunteer or raise money for people in need.

19. Rolling Rolling Rolling

Orden on Hengshan Lu will set you back 3,360rmb for ten lanes for two hours during off hours (Mon-Fri, noon-5pm). Prime time is 5,560rmb. They have 16 lanes total, about 90 people maximum. Hao’s on Zhaojiabang Lu is 3,780 for the same ten lanes for two hours configuration on weekdays before 5pm; prime time is 4,760rmb. They have 24 lanes, so more than 100 people. And Bund Bowl, the glitzy one, will give you two hours of pin-shredding on all four lanes for 2,400rmb from 11am-5pm or 2,880rmb. That’s for the smaller groups.

20. Try Running Horse, this Massive Sports Center

This sports center was basically built for team-building. Includes a full-size indoor basketball court, an outdoor soccer field, wrestling in sumo suits and all kinds of activities. Big companies including ByteDance, for example, have done their team-building here and prices are really transparent on Dianping: 158rmb per person on weekdays and 188rmb on the weekends.

21. Drive Go-Karts at One of These Places

There are not a lot of options for go-karting in Shanghai, but fortunately the ones we do have range from a go-kart bar (you’re not supposed to drink and drive, but…) to the opportunity to do laps around the F1 circuit with your ass scraping the ground. There’s also this place though we’ve yet to test it out personally.

21. Laser Tag, Archery and Stuff

If paintball is too painful, shoot’em with lasers. This place on Longhua Lu is 165rmb per person most days.

22. Get Locked In, and Try to Get Out Of, an Escape Room

Pulupulu Shanghai

Also good for the smaller team or office, as these places generally break you into groups of 8-10. Again, lots of them in Shanghai. We wrote about six here.

23. Get a Group Pampering

We were looking for a giant, open foot massage room that holds like 50 people but alas, those days seem to be over in Shanghai. The best we could find is Aqua Energy Spa on Huangpi Bei Lu, which has group room for up to 10 people. Alternatively, Yu Spa near Xintiandi has a room for eight people, while Champs Billows Spa, Pure World Spa, and Dragonfly at LuOne can do six at a time.

24. Launch Yourself Off a Trampoline

For jumping around like kids and exacerbating your back, leg and knee problems. Kidding! Great fun. A little taxing on the joints. Fun though! Jump360 is the big name but this place also has trampolines, ball pits for adults and Velcro suits so you can jump against a wall and stick. Not kidding!

25. Climb Around Like Monkeys on an Adult Jungle Gym

Go high up in the ropes (with a harness) at this North Bund aerial obstacle course.