How to Organize an Office Olympics

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The Office Olympics was made popular in corporate America by the television series, "The Office." The series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. In this particular episode, the employees organize office games amongst the co-workers. This episode originally aired on October 5, 2005, during the second season of the comedy, written by Michael Schur. After the episode aired, other "Office Olympics" were organized in actual offices across the country. Companies around the country are now running events to encourage teamwork and positivity in the workplace. The needed supplies can be found in office supply stores, department stores, dollar stores, and through Internet retailers and marketplaces like eBay. This guide will walk employers and workers through everything they need to organize a successful office Olympics in their own company

Creating an Olympic Committee

For any office Olympics to be successful, there needs to be an Olympic committee selected at least two to three months beforehand. This committee of four or five people (possibly more depending on the size of the company) is responsible for devoting the time and energy necessary to pull off the games smoothly. Those who are chosen for the Olympic committee should be leaders who can organize and rally the other employees to get involved and participate. They should be key players in both the creation and implementation of the event. Olympic Committee is responsible for selecting teams, marketing, and organizing the event. This guide will briefly cover how to complete each of these main tasks, but the committee should have the freedom to expand on these ideas to fit their own workplace environment.

Office Olympic Teams

In the original Olympic games, teams are determined over many years by multiple national competitions for athletes who aim to make the Olympic team. Once the Olympic team is chosen, they spend countless hours training together in order to take home the gold. For the office Olympics, teams can be determined through a much easier method. For example, teams can be selected by departments, by employees who have offices in the same area, or by random draw. Teams should be chosen and published at least two weeks before the event to give the members of each team time to compile a team flag and select a team anthem to encourage enthusiasm.

Marketing for Office Olympics

It’s important to advertise the event at least one week before the commencement ceremonies. The best way to market the Office Olympics is through internal communication designed to create a buzz. Posters can be placed in common areas, animated or colorful emails can be sent recruiting both participants and spectators. Team members can be encouraged to display their own flags or wear similar colors on Olympic day.

Organizing the Event

Two weeks before the event, begin advertising the office Olympics and the predetermined teams. The committee should give teams plenty of time to prepare, but too much time will cause people to forget or get bored with the idea. Try to select a time of the year when business is slower and most people are in town. Avoid scheduling the Olympics during the summer months or peak busy times.

One week before the event, advertise the individual competitions and ask teams to volunteer to participate in one or more events. The events should be held in areas where there is plenty of room for spectators to enjoy watching. Events can be chosen by a vote of the committee or by random selection. The Olympic committee should take care to be sure that customers and any day-to-day business is not disturbed by the events. Perhaps it may be possible to close early during the games or hold the event in a separate outdoor area.

Office Olympic Event Ideas

The events surrounding the Office Olympics is what will get people to break out of their cubicles and let loose at the office. Events don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Employees can be resourceful and make the most of their surroundings. If there are multiple coffees in the breakroom, do a blind taste test. Use blueprints as javelins, old computers for the hurdles, and adding machine tape for curling. Here are a few additional ideas for a successful event.

The Pencil Pusher

Give contestants 30 seconds to hurl as many sharpened No . 2 pencils as possible into ceiling tiles. Because projectile objects will be flying through the air, safety glasses are recommended. Another variation of this is to use an electric pencil sharpener and see who can sharpen the most pencils in 30 seconds.

The Corporate Climb

This event works great in any size office building. Have team players complete a relay-style race up and down the stairs, competing for the best time. Variations of this game include running up the stairs backwards and/or sideways.

The Spin Doctor

In this team event, one teammate is seated in an office chair while two others spin the chair as rapidly as possible for 20 seconds. At the whistle, the seated contestants jump up, and runs (stumbles) to a finish line several yards away.

Post-it Stickler

Give each team 30-60 seconds to stick as many Post - It N otes as possible to one team member. Variations of this event include covering an office desk or chair rather than an actual employee.

Chair Rowing

Contestants must push off with both feet on the ground at once and see how far they can "row" their chair without touching the floor.

Origami Boats/Planes

For origami boats, teams must fold a boat out of standard office paper and then blow it across a tub of water. A similar idea using paper airplanes can be used to determine whose airplane stays in the air the longest.

Personalize the Office Olympics

One of the best ways to increase enthusiasm for the Office Olympics is to personalize the events. For example, a retail chain may have a timed event to see who can dress a mannequin the quickest. A manufacturing or packaging plant may have a similar event personalized for their field. Perhaps a sales company could have a speed-selling test to see who can talk the quickest while pitching a product, or a legal company could have a word quiz or spelling test.

Providing an Office Meal

After the athletes have completed their tasks, and while the judges are compiling the scores, it is always beneficial to provide an office meal for both participants and spectators. The old adage, "if you feed them, they will come," is very true. Some ideas for office event food include food and drinks in a summer-style barbecue, or catering from a nearby restaurant.

Closing Ceremonies

During the meal, present the closing ceremonies with a word or two from the committee and the presentation of the medals. Medals can be created by hand from common metallic office supplies, such as paper clips, binders, or spray-painted staplers . Be sure to advertise the awards ceremony with the entire company, even those who did not participate, to invite them to enjoy a meal and view the medal ceremonies. Play the team anthem for those who received gold medals, and be sure to include flower bouquets.

Using eBay to Supply your Office Olympics

eBay is a great place to find everything you need for your office Olympic games. This one-stop shop has countless products from around the world to make your office games unique and memorable. Be sure to research the seller thoroughly and complete each transaction within the confines of eBay.

Finding Office Supplies on eBay

The best place to start shopping for office supplies on eBay is in the Business & Industrial category. This holds popular products used in manufacturing and retail companies. Basic office supplies can also be found in this category, or can be found by typing in the specific supply you’re looking for in the search bar.

Finding Olympic Supplies on eBay

Olympic supplies can be found in a variety of categories within eBay depending on whether you’re looking for clothing, memorab ilia, or collectibles . The best way to find what you’re looking for is by using the search bar at the top of the page. You can search for "Olympic Medals " or "Olympic Flags" to get a list of all products available that may meet your description. You can enhance your office Olympics even further by finding an Olympic torch replica on eBay.


Events like an Office Olympics can help build a sense of camaraderie at work while curing the effects of stress, boredom, and repetitive office days. An Office Olympics provides a team-building exercise that gets everyone involved on an individual and team basis. When the purpose is properly thought out, the committee is organized, and the events are put into action, the result can be marked improvement in team functioning, as well as increased effectiveness of team members. Check out eBay for any supplies you need to make your office Olympics memorable.

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