Organizations that believe in this saying are sure to succeed. Keeping a team stick together is critical and team building activities can help you improve team dynamics, build trust among members and facilitate constructive communication. A team that works together is more efficient, productive and successful. Along with this, a good rapport among team members helps reduce work related frustration and the friendship and coordination keeps employees happy and makes work a fun place to go to. However, establishing such bonds can be highly tricky, especially because it involves people and the camaraderie that they share.
Forcing tasks on people could be the last thing you would want to do. You might want to consider the following before you decide on activities:
- The goal – What is it that you exactly want to achieve? Do you want to promote wellness, train your employees on a specific virtue, help them relax and have fun, do something for a social cause, or just have some fun at work?
- Your team preferences – Take factors like age, preferences and physical limitations of your employees into account while designing activities around team building.
- Take feedback – Have informal sessions with your employees around what kind of activities they would like to have as a part of their team.
Here are some activities that you might want to consider when designing or ideating on team building activities:
1. Fun and humor
Having a fun and interactive work environment is extremely important, the power of which should not be underestimated. It doesn’t necessarily always have to be something extraordinary. Sometimes, even extremely simple ideas could touch the emotional chord of your employees’ minds.
Some ways of having fun could be:
- Organizing gift exchanges among employees, like Secret Santa, or a potluck of home made desserts!
- Taking everyone out for lunch to a place voted best by the employees – during a harsh work month.
- Surprise your team with an outing for a movie or a live comic show.
- Organize contests during festivals or even otherwise. For example, you can have a cubicle decorating content and give out awards to the most beautifully decorated one. You can also organize informal sessions where you could give recognition and rewards to top performers of that month and give them funny titles and gifts.
- Send out a link to a silly and fun quiz and have everyone reply-all with their answers.
- Host a “Bring your kids to work day” – with an ice cream eating competition!
- Organize a “Crib Session” once every month where employees can talk their cribs out in detail.
- Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and important days with your employees once a month.
2. Un-winding activities
- For all those employees who have been working really hard, get them spa or massage coupons anywhere in the city!
- Host a lunch or dinner session with everyone in office.
- Get donuts, coffee, smoothies and other such comforting drinks for your employees during work hours.
- Give employees a chance once in a while to work outside office – like a café or a garden or from the comfort of their homes.
Games could be one of the most effective ways to make employees participate and get their best out of. The number of games out there is obviously many, but here are some really effective ones:
- Ideas as building blocks – Here, you need to create a fictional problem like a hypothetical product, a mind teaser, a riddle, a puzzle or a design challenge – whatever needs a solution. Present the problem in front of your team and let them work on it together. They need to provide a solution using just a sentence or two. Have them pass the paper to the person on their left and then instruct them to use the new idea to build another solution upon. This can continue for several rounds and then you can see and share the results. The purpose of this exercise is to make everyone feel valued for their ideas. Such brainstorming sessions often bring out the vocal and dominant personalities of employees, which might otherwise be hidden.
- Truth and lie – Give each team member four identical slips of paper where they write down two truths and one lie about themselves. Once this is done, read out the sentences and discuss which they think are the truths and which the lies are. This will help your team members get to know each other better.
- What’s my name – Write down names of famous people on similar labels and place the nametags on a team member’s back – so that they can’t see it but the rest of the group can. Let the group mingle for a bit and then answer questions by the main person to let him guess who he is. This game is a good ice breaker in case you have teams whose members are not familiar with each other.
4. Professional learning
All employees in organizations want to learn things which can help them in their career growth. Provide such opportunities from time to time for your employees to feel appreciated and add value to the workplace.
- Call learned people or Subject Matter Experts to hold talks or conduct casual Brown Bag lunches. Keep it as simple as you can as the point here is to learn and not to force knowledge down to employees. Schedule speakers and notify employees well in advance and keep sharing highlights of the day before and after the event.
- Motivational talks around actual life stories inspire us all. Informal sessions around these could include topics like conflict resolution, harnessing one’s inner strengths, negotiation and communication skills, customer service, sales or leadership.
- Gather teams together and discuss upcoming projects and the valuable contribution each member can have in it. This will help team members in better communication.
- 50% of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace can be accredited to social interaction outside of the workplace.
A change of venue can be refreshing sometimes. Schedule an offsite brainstorming meeting of a team. You never know what good it might do!
If some employee has done exceptionally well in some area, recognize and award him in front of everyone else, and mention how professional his whole approach was.
Finding the right kind of exercise and activity for your teams could be a challenging task as you need to clearly define what you want to achieve and practice it within the comfort levels of the employees at the same time.