When deadlines and deliverables are mounting, who can afford an afternoon away from the office?
In a climate where we’re focused on a happy customer, businesses can forget about the happy employee – a company’s most valuable asset! Creating a happy workplace means fostering an environment where the group feels connected, communicates effectively, and trusts each other.
My last workplace put a huge emphasis on out-of-office activities and even made after-hours teambuilding a mandatory affair. These outings were a chance for team members to connect with co-workers in their own departments and other areas of the business. They also provided excellent networking opportunities where you could learn about different departments within the organization. But as beneficial and iconic as these meetings became, I felt a few key elements were missing from them. While these frequent opportunities to mingle with your coworkers were valuable, the fact that they were mandatory became a point of contention. Plus, the extended work-life culture wasn’t always seen as useful since nearly every one of these events was hosted in a bar or venue where drinking was the main event. While hosting large groups did limit venue choice, the barrage of drink tickets by leaders and managers often ended the same way – an atmosphere where excess was encouraged or you were isolated from the rest of the group.
Regular teambuilding has a number of benefits for your employees and business, such as encouraging open communication between colleagues, a chance to give back to the community (more on this in a future post) and improve collaboration. Ultimately, these benefits can impact the quality of work and productivity of your team.
Hey, I’m all for a cool beverage on warm and sunny patio. But here are a few tips for your next teambuilding activity so it doesn’t get tiresome:
Have a Goal
Whether it’s to boost morale or just blow off some steam, set a goal for your activity. Have a clear objective of what your team is looking to develop and tailor the activity to match. For example, if your group needs to cultivate teamwork skills, select an activity that features cooperation like a group scavenger hunt that offers an opportunity for communication and collaboration. If your goal is to encourage creative problem solving, an Escape the Room activity can challenge your team’s critical thinking and imagination.
Factor In Your Group’s Capabilities
Part of getting your team out of the office is the opportunity to bond in a new environment. While you may want to push the boundaries of your usual experiences and daily relationships, you don’t want to isolate team members either. If you have a quiet group you might want to skip the karaoke and instead try a team cooking class where the team cooks parts of a meal and then all dine together. Remember to factor in physical abilities, where everyone has the opportunity to participate. An evening playing Ping Pong allows for all skill and fitness levels to join in.
If the opportunity to leave your workplace for a teambuilding event isn’t an option, there are still plenty of ways to connect with your coworkers. Even a simple game of Pictionary over lunch provides an opportunity to network and have fun.
Don’t Forget to Debrief
Don’t let your productive bonding time become nothing more than an afternoon away from the office. At the end of every outing be sure to set aside time to discuss and debrief. Structure some time to review with participants what they’ve taken away from your activity. Take the time to reflect together on the new skills your colleagues gained, their experiences, what they found valuable, what they learned about each other, and how the outing could translate back in the workplace. This insight will help you shape your next teambuilding event.
Regardless of the activity – a simple afternoon bowling or helping make meals at your local shelter – remember, teambuilding should be fun, have a goal, and leave your group better for the experience.