In-Tray Business Game | In-Tray Training Game

Improve time management, prioritising, delegating or actioning 25 items (emails, notes, letters, etc)



30 to 45 minutes + debrief


1 to 16 participants: Up to 4 per team


Staff at any level


Not required


No restrictions on the number of times you can use this game


 Buy: £250 + delivery & VAT (if applicable)

Elite Facilitate: £850 + VAT for up to 10 delegates at your UK venue

Assess and develop core competencies of decision making, prioritising, planning, time management, teamwork and leadership. Fantastic value training activity.


Our time management training game is one of our most popular management games that top organisations buy. It is often used to assess an individual or a group at an assessment centre. It is also ideal for use as part of development training on a course.


The following scenario is provided with the game, but you can amend it to suit your needs.

Your name is Chris Dearing, the General Manager of Toys Galore and your manager is Peter Davis.

Toys Galore are an online children's toy retailer and you work in the head office.

Toys Galore's previous General Manager went on long-term sick leave (due to stress) at the beginning of July and is unlikely to return to work. You are hired because you are an efficient, positive thinker who (it is hoped) will soon catch up with the work that has not been done for the last five weeks.

This situation has left a number of outstanding issues and the HR Director has asked for regular updates.

Today is Monday the 5 of August – your first day as Toys Galore's General Manager.

Your assistant has left 16 documents in your In-tray for your attention. These appear in a variety of formats including emails, letters and notes. Some of these items may appear to describe isolated issues, while others link to one or more of the other items.

Your task is to:

1. Prioritise the items and decide which communications need an instant response:

  • High Urgency/High importance
  • High Urgency/High importance
  • High importance/Low Urgency
  • High Urgency/Low Importance
  • Low urgency/low importance.

2. Decide which items can be delegated.

3. Decide which items can be put into the diary.

4. Identify problems within the business and decide what should be done.


The exercise lasts 30 to 45 minutes depending on the ability of the participants and the number of emails used (you do not have to use them all).

While an individual or teams work on their inbox, emails continue to arrive. Will they interrupt their work to deal with emails or will they ignore them? What disciplines will they set up? Will they complete the exercise within the time and show good time management?

You can alter the type of documents according to the level of participants and areas you want to be covered.

You can appoint a leader for this exercise to see how they manage their team. Alternatively, see how the individual or team performs with their prioritising, planning and time management.

Are you looking for assessment centre exercises or time management activities? This In-Tray exercise is ideal for an assessment centre before recruiting staff or looking to promote staff. It is used on graduate induction courses and all types of management programmes where time management and teamwork is a focus.


  • Decide which documents to use (those supplied or include some of yours)
  • Explain the purpose of the activity and what is required. Also explain that after they have completed the activity, they will be required to present their decisions.
  • Issue each team (or individual) with a copy of the 16 documents provided.
  • After 10 minutes add more emails at various times to see if they interrupt their work to deal with emails or will they ignore them and deal with them at a set time later? What disciplines will they set up?
  • Observe them in action and make a note of any interesting behaviour, conflict or discussion.
  • Listen to each presentation on their decisions. They can be informal with the groups merely stating what they did and discussing key issues or they can be a more formal with each item being discussed in depth.
  • When each group has had its say, lead a general discussion of the exercise. Draw out what participants saw as the key issues they had to deal with regarding prioritising, time management and handling information. Then reveal the suggested answers and allow them time to compare with their own decisions. This usually promotes a lively discussion with some disagreement.
  • Relate the issues in the exercise to those in the workplace. Summarise the key lessons using the notes in these notes.


  • Trainer's Guide
  • Briefing Sheets for participants
  • Letters, emails and messages
  • Calendar and Organisation chart
  • The Trainer's Guide gives instructions on how to run the In-Tray exercise and provides useful training material on managing your In-Tray and Time Management.


  • Time Management
  • The role of a manger
  • Planning and Problem Solving
  • Prioritising
  • Analyse and Organising
  • Solving problems
  • Making decisions
  • Delegation
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership


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Buy the In-tray game.
Price: £250 + delivery & VAT (if applicable).

WorldPay will process your online card transaction & we will deliver the game(s) to you.

Buy this game & use it many times; or we will run it for you.  Please  Contact Us for more information.

All transactions are in Pounds Sterling.

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All transactions are in Pounds Sterling.

Comments from the In-Tray Game

"We use the In-Tray exercise for our supervisor and management courses. It soon gets them working and provides lots of evidence where they can develop in key areas like decision making, prioritising, planning, time management and leadership."

"The In-Tray exercise is another excellent exercise we bought from you. Our Assessment Centre is now more realistic and enables us to evidence skills of potential candidates and those being considered for promotion."


  • For over 20 years we've been delivering excellent management training and personal development skills to businesses and public sector organisations across the UK.
  • Our trainers enhance the learning experience with our high energy, results driven approach.
  • Experiential learning with business games and training materials help participants acquire essential knowledge and skills through active, self-reflective engagement and enable them to remember the key learning points.


  • Training Courses: Skilled and experienced trainers that develop and understand your needs and deliver enjoyable, tailored and cost-effective in-house training.
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