You probably picture trust falls and impersonal company lunches when you think of team bonding activities. To truly bring your team together, you have to get more creative with your planning. Let’s take a look at how your company can boost employee morale and productivity with fun and enriching activities outside the office.
Why Team Building is Important
Why put so much effort into team building in the first place? Engaging in activities outside of work tasks is an important part of fostering a healthy work environment. If employees feel like they’re more than just a cog in a machine, they benefit in myriad ways:
- Increased trust in coworkers
- Better communication between teams
- Willingness to collaborate
Team building also allows employees to get to know one another better, and can open the doors for enriching friendships in the workplace.
Since team building can have such a positive impact on a team’s dynamics and performance, it’s important to make sure that you’re choosing bonding activities that are actually effective. You don’t want employees to bond simply because they have a common enemy– such as the person who planned a boring outing!
How to Plan the Perfect Activities to Strengthen Teams
One of the best ways to get teams excited about activities outside of work is to ask them what they’re interested in. Instead of grasping at straws to concoct the right outing, find out what employees are interested in and cater the event to what appeals to the majority.
There’s no mistake that planning a corporate event, no matter how big or small, can be a lot of work. Did you know there are companies that can handle all the details for you? For example, Operation Altitude in Colorado specializes in destination management services. This means they plan transportation, help you select the location, and can organize on-site activities at your destination. Although based in Colorado, Operation Altitude includes destinations such as Aspen, CO, Park City, UT, and Athens, Greece.
These types of work retreats sometimes involve a mix of recreational activities and work-related meetings. If that’s the case be sure you’re budgeting to pay your employees for the time they spend actively working. It needs to be clear what’s expected on a corporate trip so employees feel valued and appropriately compensated for their time.
A big corporate retreat might be something you do once a year, or to celebrate certain milestones for your team. Here are some tips for planning events on a smaller scale on a more regular basis.
Planning Regular Team Building Activities
Don’t overlook the effectiveness of regular team lunches, whether in the office or at everyone’s favorite restaurant. But, be sure it doesn’t just end up being the whole team stretching along a straight line of tables, limiting conversation. Elevate your outing to the next level by getting a little more personal.
Another important aspect of these activities is to make them optional. No one wants to feel obligated to participate when they’d rather be elsewhere. An employee-appreciation event is less effective when it’s mandatory.
Creative Team Building Ideas
There are endless possibilities when it comes to team-building activities, so get creative! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Employee Potluck and Recipe Book
Have you ever hosted a potluck at work? It can be a great way to share food from different backgrounds and give employees a chance to talk about where their recipe comes from. As a way to further bring the team together, make copies of all the recipes and create an official employee recipe book.
Nature Hike or Scavenger Hunt
Get the team outdoors to explore your own backyard. A change of scenery itself can boost morale, but if the team is working together to find clues for a scavenger hunt or make it to the summit of an all-levels hike, it’s even better.
Foster collaboration by encouraging your teams to play games like Charades or Twister. Get everyone moving their bodies and thinking outside the box to win a team game.
Visit a Local Amusement Park
Encourage everyone to let loose with a company day at an amusement park or arcade. It can be employees-only, or an event for family members as well. It’s not only an opportunity for the team to enjoy themselves, but to show the company values family and friends outside the workplace.
Is there a shooting range nearby? Get the team involved in some friendly competition! 45 Blast, a producer of Canik compensators, knows that the gun range can serve as a home away from home for many. It’s a time to improve one’s skills and bond, whether it’s over a missed shot or a bullseye. If something requiring a little less skill is better suited to your team, head to a local go-Kart venue for some racing.
Private Tastings or Concerts
Chances are, a local restaurant has a venue that’s perfect for hosting a private tasting or concert. Salt Lake City bar and restaurant Lake Effect is known for its unique cocktails, locally sourced ingredients, and private event spaces. Elevate your next company meal by booking something a bit more intimate and upscale where the team can nosh and natter without feeling rushed to clear the table for the next group.
These are just a few examples– the sky’s the limit when it comes to team-building activities. And, as we said before, don’t forget to ask your team what they would be interested in.
No matter what team-building activities you choose, the important thing is that employees feel like they’re part of a team that cares about them. When team members trust and respect one another, it leads to a more productive and positive work environment for everyone involved.
The bottom line is that team building is essential for a cohesive and productive workplace. By getting employees out of the office and into fun activities, you can encourage bonding, communication, and collaboration. And who knows – you might just have some fun yourself. So what are you waiting for? Get planning!