Are team-building activities worthwhile? Research says yes. In fact, according to the University of Central Florida’s research, team building positively impacts outcomes across the board.
If your goal is a more cohesive and productive workplace, it’s worth investing the time and resources to organize some team-building activities. You’ll have to get creative, though. Citrix data shows that 31 % of office workers dislike team-building activities.
So how do you plan an event or exercise that’s not only effective at teaching your staff to work better together, but enjoyable for them, too? Here are seven tips to help you make your next team-building endeavour a successful one:
1. Schedule the activity during work hours
No matter how much they may love their job, nobody wants to put in extra time on evenings or weekends to attend a mandatory work event. If you can, schedule the activity during the workday – even an hour or two on a Friday is better than spending the weekend at the office. If you must, host the activity over lunch or breakfast, but be sure to provide food! Check vacation schedules, too. You won’t want your big team activity to happen on a day when half the office is on vacation.
2. Consider volunteer work
Is there a way your team can volunteer their time to work on a project that benefits the community or a local charity? People tend to feel good about spending their time doing something to help others, so a volunteer project is a great way to get everyone involved and feeling positive about the activity. Perhaps they could plan, prepare, and serve a meal for a local shelter or soup kitchen or organize and execute a clothing drive or a public youth event.
3. Make it accessible for everyone
Sure, some people would love to play softball or run a relay race as a form of team building, but keep in mind that not everyone on your staff may be up for that challenge – and those that aren’t will feel left out, which is the opposite of what you want to accomplish. It’s important to consider physical conditions or health sensitivities and make sure you choose an activity that’s appropriate for everyone. That said, physical activity has a myriad of health and social benefits, so if your employees are up for it, by all means plan a group hike, yoga class, or trip to a local rock-climbing facility.3.
4. Encourage collaboration, not competition
If there’s a contest element, some employees will become so focused on ‘winning’ that they may fail to learn anything from the experience. Instead, choose an activity that encourages your staff to work together to solve a problem.
5. Go offsite
Sometimes, just getting outside of the four walls of an office helps people interact with one another more freely. Even if you’re doing a team-building session that could easily take place in your company boardroom, book a meeting space offsite anyway to give the impression that this is not “regular” work.
6. Set clear expectations
Staff should know exactly what the intent of the team building activity is (other than getting out of work for a few hours!) Are you trying to develop a new company mission statement? Are you hoping to come up with more efficient processes, or do you want to do a better job of integrating new hires with the rest of the team? You don’t need to give away all your secrets about the event but employees may be more on board if they know why the activity is taking place.
7. Gather feedback
Within a couple of days of the event, reach out to all participants to thank them for their time and ask them to provide constructive feedback about the event. This feedback can be really useful when it’s time to plan your next group event.
SOURCE: THE BUSINESS JOURNALS