When you want your team to bond, get to know each other, and work more effectively, team-building activities quickly come to mind. Unfortunately, many employees see these activities as a drag that interferes with work duties. So how do you get your team excited? Think outside the box and don’t do your typical ice-breakers. Try not to host anything after-hours, and don’t make anything mandatory. This may seem counterintuitive, but leaving people to come and go to these events lessens the pressure and makes attendance more likely. If you’re ready to try some activities your employees will actually want to do, here are some ideas.
Escape rooms come in all sorts of themes and sizes, and most cities have several to choose from. This is an inexpensive way to get out of the office, split your teams, and have them solve unique problems in new environments. You’ll learn who has what skills and which teams will mesh well together. The ticking clock adds a challenge, encouraging even unlikely teammates to band together quickly. Afterwards, you can discuss what tactics worked and which ones didn’t. You can even offer a prize to the team that finishes the fastest.
Business trends can dictate which skills will be most useful for your team to learn, and bringing in a professional can help you get individualized training that will work for your employees. You can also invite experts in seemingly unrelated fields to teach something new. For example, you can invite a sommelier to host a wine tasting or find a company that teaches cooking classes. Many companies will teach hobbies like painting or pottery to groups for a discount. Schedule these during the day, and make sure you consider employee workload when you do so that no one has to stay late or scramble to finish. You want to provide a fun activity that breaks up the monotony and helps you learn about one another while learning something new.
Most people have fond memories of taking field trips as kids, so why not try to get that feeling back as adults? Host field trips to local areas like the aquarium, parks, or museums. It’s always a good idea to stay in touch with your local community and be reminded of how you can contribute. Plus, these trips are a good way to boost inspiration with new environments and sensory input. You can make a list of potential locations and let the office vote. Consider making these monthly outings to keep in touch with other local businesses.
Office competitions can take place over time so that you don’t have to schedule anything extra. You can create contests around trivia, scavenger hunts, exercise goals, and more. Make sure you put up prizes people actually want to win! An additional break may not be enough to entice employees to invest their time. Even pizza parties pale in comparison to cash prizes, for example. Encourage collaboration. If more than one person can win, even the most unlikely people might form teams to dominate the competition.
To see what activities your team will enjoy most, have regular meetings to learn about their needs and desires in the workplace. Have a local company cater breakfast and create a relaxed atmosphere where people feel free to voice their opinions. When they’re choosing the team-building activities or virtual team building activities (for WFH members), they’re more likely to participate. A happier and healthier work environment means happier, healthier, and more productive employees who want to stick around for years to come, so make sure their voices are heard and that you actually act on that feedback.
Team-building activities don’t have to be a drag if you take some time to consider your team’s tastes. If you’ve got an active group, team sports might be fun. Others may enjoy community service. When you prioritize employee satisfaction, you’ll reduce turnover and see the difference in your bottom line.