A healthy and positive work environment – among other workplace benefits – is but one of the prerequisites aspiring employees and job seekers are looking for. So much so, that a report by consulting firm, Robert Half found that nearly half, or 46% of American workers plan to look for a new job in the next six months.
Keeping employees happy and engaged can become a tumultuous endeavor if managers and business owners lack the ability to drive culture, innovation, and bonding through corporate team-building activities. Establishing a healthy culture, and ensuring employees foster lasting relationships with their colleagues can often spring from corporate team-building events that help employees engage with one another, and put their skills to the test in creative ways.
Having more engaged employees not only improves overall team morale, company loyalty, and performance – but it often leads to greater productivity which can directly be translated into better revenue and profits over the long term. And with more than 32% of full-time- and part-time employees feeling less engaged than ever – an incline from before 2022 – it’s crucial that business owners and managers focus their energy on how to bring employees together and establish a fluid working environment.
Types of Corporate Team Building Activities
With a plethora of choices, and with the internet at your disposal, it’s easy to quickly find a plethora of team-building activities. Although there are some interesting, yet primitive options available it’s best to choose activities or events that will directly contribute to what your team requires and how their skills will be tested in a challenging, yet positive way.
From standard icebreakers to the well-known “trust fall,” these exercises add little value to the overall qualities you may be looking to bring out in your team. Instead of focusing on what you already know, or might have encountered in the past, consider a few exciting activities that can help improve things such as communication skills, leadership abilities, and analytical reasoning, among others.
Here’s a rundown of different office activities that can take employees, and leaders on an adventurous experience as they seek to bring workers together and boost team office synergy.
There is a time and place for everything in the office, and while some team-building activities can be enjoyed indoors, we’d think this list is definitely suited for those companies that want their workers to enjoy something more adventurous.
1. Adventure Challenges
For an all-out type of experience, that will truly put employees’ skills and endurance to the test, adventure challenges can see a range of different outdoor activities compiled in a less-than-conventional way.
Outdoor adventure challenges can range from rock climbing, target practicing, bridge building, Jeep track challenge, or even a go-kart race. While some may argue these activities seem more like leisure than testing employees’ skills and abilities, it’s possible to see workers use their lateral thinking to overcome exercises they often don’t encounter in the workplace.
These challenges are designed to bring individuals together, either working in teams to overcome a difficult task such as building bridges with minimal resources or beating opposing teams in completing outdoor assignments in the best and most innovative manner.
There are a few ways to look at it, and not only will these activities test employees’ endurance and physical abilities, but they will encourage all-around communication, engagement, and active listening – crucial elements that can be used in the workplace.
2. Ropes Courses
Employee teams can either participate as a group or individually, but we’d suggest pairing workers together to create a more engaging experience. For starters, individuals are harnessed and provided the necessary safety gear such as helmets, gloves, and cable hooks to help them maneuver around the ropes course.
These courses can range from 20 meters to 50 meters in height, which can seem a bit daunting for those who experience a fear of heights. While there are ways to work around this, it’s perhaps one of the best ways to help employees overcome fearful challenges, and test which individuals are better at motivating their team members throughout the activity.
A ropes course can take several hours, depending on the size of the group and course, and it’s possible to incorporate other activities with the ropes course.
The most significant outcome of a ropes course is to see whether employees are in a position to overcome fear and help them develop more confidence. While no one should be pressured or feel peer pressured into participating, it’s essential to highlight what these challenges will test and how new skills can be developed through the event.
While the ropes course requires a bit of endurance and physical strength, it will be interesting to see which employees use their abilities to help their weaker companions across the course.
3. Nature Retreats
There’s nothing new about company retreats, and while it can often seem like a paid work holiday there is room for both skill training and pleasure at the same time.
For companies and organizations with bigger budgets, and smaller teams, nature retreats outside can be a way to bring employees together outside of the office. These retreats can help team members destress, relax and unwind, while at the same time developing new skills which they can use in the workplace.
Company or office nature retreats nowadays have been designed to test individuals’ skills and abilities in the best way possible.
From various team building exercises to more analytical challenges that see individuals going head-to-head with each other, there are different ways employers or managers can make these retreats enjoyable while also helping employees develop new skills.
It’s important that during the planning process, you allocate enough time to different activities, including some downtime for employees. In some cases, employers often organize a company nature retreat, only to make it feel like their employees are back at the office, having to sit through arduous seminars, meetings, or conferences.
While this time can be used to help staff develop a broad range of skills, while also testing their abilities to their best advantage, use it as a way to recognize teams for their hard work. This activity can be a two-in-one experience, allowing employees to engage with their colleagues, while also enjoying some downtime away from the office.
Check Out Best Team Building Activities:
While outdoor activities and challenges might be the adventurous route to take, workplace indoor activities can be just as enjoyable, yet practical at the same time. These activities provide members of the office with an opportunity to become closer to one another, and our list is a perfect combination for both small and medium-sized groups.
1. Escape Rooms
While escape rooms are popular among families and groups of friends, it’s also the perfect challenge to bring employees together and put their problem-solving skills to the test. In fact, escape rooms are a way for new team members to get to know each other a bit better, or for established teams to unwind after stressful working periods.
Whatever it is you’re seeking to gain from the escape room experience, it’s best to consider how these challenges can work to the ability of the employees, and the business at the same time.
More so, these challenges can be more effective if they are designed in a way that can be linked to work or the industry your business is in. It does mean you need to consolidate with escape room specialist designers to make up an entire experience based around your business or company, but it does give it that personalized experience.
Grouping individuals together, and challenging them can help develop their collaboration, communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, these challenges will leave teams actively engaging with each other, making it one of the more fun team working exercises.
Each challenge is designed to test the different skills of different members of the group, and in some cases, individuals will be tested on their stamina and endurance as well, depending on the intensity of the escape room. Another bonus with escape rooms is that they can now be completed virtually, which helps to bring remote teams together as well.
2. Cooking Classes
Another possible option for indoor team building is a cooking class, which can turn into a culinary experience many employees will surely enjoy. From the start, before arranging anything, it’s good to have a look online to see what type of cooking classes are available in your area and choose one that suits the company budget, employee interest, and experience.
For starters, some cooking classes can range from ice cream making, mixology, a food truck challenge, team cuisine, or even a pasta palooza. Each of these, while they involve food and cuisine can be fun, they often put different skills to the test and will require employees to either work in teams or individually.
Another thing to consider is how many people on your team will be participating, and whether you want to use this experience as a team building exercise, or something along the line of a social challenge. In most cases, cooking classes can be a way to pair up different individuals with one another, putting their team working abilities and communication skills to the test.
While the outcome of the challenge is to present a final dish or beverage, the task remains for you to challenge employees in an environment they aren’t used to.
There’s also space for virtual teams and remote workers to participate as well. The idea of a virtual cooking class might not seem as enjoyable as having to be there side-by-side or in person, but this is yet another way to bring effective team building into the limelight, even when employees are situated in different locales around the world.
There is a lot to consider beforehand, but for the most part, cooking classes can unite employees, and what better way than doing it through the use of food and cuisine?
3. Problem-solving Exercises
There have been times when employees and even managers were faced with a tedious issue or problem but had difficulty finding a viable solution. While having problem-solving skills does require teams to have individual analytical and critical thinking abilities, a range of indoor team building exercises can help primarily focus on developing key problem-solving skills.
When planning problem-solving exercises, consider what is important to the business and the team. If you noticed that there have been some adaptability issues recently, think of activities that will help employees develop ways in which they can overcome challenges related to the problem.
Another might be that employees are struggling to innovate or think of creative solutions to a current problem and realize that past experiences won’t necessarily help them going forward.
While it is important to learn from previous mistakes or challenges, new ways of approaching a problem or thinking from a different perspective might just be what a team requires to function effectively.
In the same breath, it’s possible to establish some healthy competition, which is also a great team building exercise for team members willing to improve their problem-solving and decision-making skills. It’s also possible for team members to learn how to work under pressure, and make informed decisions at the same time.
Once you have a clear understanding of what both parties require, the business and employees, planning for these exercises become a lot easier. Yes, problem-solving activities and events can help teams develop critical skills, but it won’t be worthwhile to orchestrate an event where the outcomes do not meet the desired objectives.
For the most part, it’s important to clearly state your goals and objectives, and communicate what the desired outcomes should potentially be. On top of this, employees should participate knowing what the expectations are, and how these exercises will help them think more critically, while also helping to boost their creative innovation at the same time.
Philanthropy has become an essential part of the modern workplace, as companies both big and small look to involve themselves in more community-oriented projects.
Aside from the direct influence businesses can have in their community, employees have the ability to drive creative solutions that can help improve existing systems, and reflect more positive company culture.
1. Volunteer Work
Perhaps the most notable of all is volunteer work, and while there might not be a direct monetary incentive for the business or employees, it still provides employees and managers a platform through which they can give back to their community.
Volunteer work is also needed within the greater sphere of society, whether it’s a food bank, soup kitchen, or even a school or heritage project. While companies can offer monetary contributions such as donations, the real difference can come from the people who are actively participating and bringing change.
Volunteer work does often require some planning and arrangement such as finding a charity to collaborate with, compiling information about the charity and its requirements, and then having to introduce the brief to the team. From here on out it’s purely how much effort each person can put in that will help make a difference in the near term.
While it’s possible to put employees’ skills to the test such as communication and teamwork, the bigger picture should be focused on the different employees can make, and how willing they are to participate.
For the most part, volunteer work tests employees’ ability to work with minimal resources, pushing them to be more creative and deliver projects that meet community needs, while building a more positive company culture.
Ultimately, several branches of volunteer work can help improve the office team culture, but in reality, we see how these events can bring people closer and help establish a vibrant, positive, and caring environment.
2. Community Service Projects
Another branch of philanthropy is community service projects, which in some instances would see a company directly helping out at the local food bank, or even raising funds or donations that can be used to upgrade public facilities.
Community service projects can come in different shapes and sizes, and depending on the level of involvement your business or organization is looking to participate in, service projects help to bring employees closer to their community.
While it’s possible to plan your community service project, even if it’s a food drive, there are existing organizations that help to execute these projects based on where help is needed the most. It’s best to start networking first, getting to know the people at each organization and collaborating with one that aligns with your company values and objectives.
Not all employees need to be working on the same project at the same time, which makes it a lot easier to divide employees among different projects. Through this, team members will learn new skills, bond with project members, and learn how to work in a team with their fellow colleagues outside of the workplace.
Community service projects are about uplifting the community, giving back, and helping to foster a positive environment in which both the company and those directly impacted by the change can work in unity to help promote a healthier, safer, and more progressive society.
3. Charity Events
Charity events are another easy, yet community-focused philanthropic activity. There are hundreds, if not thousands of charity events that are supported by private companies as a way to give back to society and establish a coalition with their community.
Charity events, in theory, comprise organizers planning and gathering resources that are then donated to a local charity or hospice. These events involve different members from the neighborhood and can see anyone volunteering to help lighten the load.
In fact, there are dozens of charities that operate year-round and host different events every season to help raise funds or awareness for specific issues within the community. On top of this, there are a plethora of charity ideas that can help raise more awareness for a specific project.
Getting employees involved in a charity event can seem like a waste of time, especially if the wrong people are in charge of planning and gathering resources. As a business, hosting a charity event will bring employees together to resolve issues that are perhaps outside of their scope of practice and general expertise.
Additionally, those that are in charge of planning and executing will be tested on their leadership skills and their communication skills. Teams will have the opportunity to use creative thinking skills to find innovative, and affordable ways, to help make the charity event a reality.
It takes a bit of planning, and it does require the company to research the available charities in the area to see which are more in need of assistance than others. On top of this, the necessary funds and resources will need to be available to make the event possible, and employees will also be required to put in a bit of effort and extra time for it to turn into a success.
Check Out Indoor Team Building Activities Ideas and Games for Corporate Employees]:
Team Building Activities for Small Groups
Fortunately enough, there are team building activities for small groups that can help them develop a range of new skills and abilities, without feeling as if they’re missing a few links in the chain.
Small group team activities can be non-traditional ice-breakers for new team members or a new company. These activities can be conducted indoors and outdoors, and test teams on their communication, listening, and attention skills, on top of seeing which members of the team are natural-born leaders, and which can attend to a problem using analytical thinking.
Whatever the needs of the company, and the employees as well, you can use some of these activities to help bring your team foster new relationships, but also, it can indirectly be used to find a solution to an existing problem or simply help employees think more outside of the box.
Quick Fire Office Trivia
Trivia exercises might seem a bit more like a game than a team building event, but there are ways one can tie this directly with the workplace and the employees. For starters, the office is divided into teams of two and four, and a facilitator will then read a range of questions based on different disciplines.
This is a perfect game where employees who often don’t associate can work together, and it tests individuals’ ability to perform under pressure seeing as each round of questions can be timed.
In offices where members know each other a bit better, and have more profound relationships, questions related to the workplace can be curated to help see which employees know each other the best.
Quick-fire office trivia requires minimal planning and resources, and individuals can participate in person or virtually, which makes it a dual-purpose activity for just about any small team.
Often more driven and focused on marketing and sales teams, the idea is to allow employees enough time to pitch and sell a specific item or service to their fellow colleagues.
Items can be anything random, or they can be directly linked to a specific project the office is currently working on. This exercise helps to test employees’ creativity and how they can take an ordinary object and convert it into something that can be sold or bought.
This is a simple activity, which can be enjoyed in the office or via a virtual meeting or conference platform, making it easy to include remote workers as well.
The goal is to see how well employees can use their creative thinking, working under pressure, or even with a fellow peer.
Additionally, you can decide to divide employees into teams, which is a fun way to incorporate healthy competition where teams compete for the most points that can help boost morale among existing and new employees.
There needs to be a bit of thought behind it all, and additionally, it would require having all members of the team on board or present during the presentations. Ensure to choose a time and day that suits everyone, and make it fun by awarding prizes or gifts to the person who had the best sales pitch.
Employee Appreciation Activity
An activity that encourages employees to give more positive feedback to their fellow colleagues, the employee appreciation activity sees each employee writing down a few strengths about one of their colleagues. For smaller teams, it’s possible to let employees do this with everyone they work with.
The idea here is to encourage teams to help uplift one another and inform their peers about the good qualities they bring to the team and the organization. This is a more intimate activity and can be essential for teams that work closely with one another and often collaborate on projects.
Additionally, this activity is suitable for remote teams, as it doesn’t necessarily require individuals to be present in person. This is yet another way to sharpen up communication skills, and while there may not be a winning team that takes home a prize, this simple team building exercise can definitely enhance teamwork.
For something that can be conducted outside of the office, painting classes can help teams bond over creative thinking. This activity helps employees express their creative side, and it doubles as a stress reliever for teams that have been enduring challenging times at work.
These classes can be hosted by a professional in a studio, or if you’d like to plan the event yourself, and gather the materials it can be hosted at the office.
For the most part, this activity doesn’t require a lot of planning, and it’s an easy way to bring people together in a stress-free environment, where they can socialize and bond with their fellow colleagues.
Not so much focused on testing individual skills and abilities, a cookout can be a fun way to bring the office together in a more relaxed environment where they can socialize, bond, and engage in different topics.
A great way to get the most out of a cookout is to incorporate different team building exercises or team building games that can see employees work together to present solutions for problems or think of different strategies for a given task or problem.
A company cookout requires minimal planning, and for small teams, this can be a good end to their week, where they can unwind and engage in conversation. Additionally, the team cookout can become a bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly event where everyone from different locales comes together. This way employees from different branches can join and gather and still feel as if they’re part of a bigger team.
How to Plan and Execute Corporate Team Building Activities
In some instances, a team building activity can be planned at the last minute, if it requires minimal notice and resources. Although it is advised to rather plan some team building exercises to ensure that all team building games are well-prepared and every team member have an understanding of what will be expected from them.
For the team building that do require some additional or upfront planning, there are a few pointers to consider when starting to consider the different goals you’d like to achieve once the activity has conceded.
Setting Goals And Objectives
Every business and company will have a set of goals they’d like to achieve during the year, and this can filter down to different teams as well. In the same breath, you’d want to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with every team building exercise, to ensure both the company and participating employees will get the most value from it.
Having goals and objectives will help an activity be as effective as possible. If you want to help employees increase or boost their confidence, then hosting a team building event that tests their physical endurance might not be the most suitable choice.
Be proactive to look for gaps within the team, and pinpoint where teams might require some guidance. Once you have a target goal, it will become easier to choose different activities, and also have employees be more involved in every exercise.
Identifying The Right Team Building Activity For Your Team
Now that you know what the results should be, or have an idea of the goals you want to achieve with your activity, it’s time to identify an activity that will suit these needs and that of your team.
Not all teams consist of the same people, and while you may think that a particular activity will suit your team, there is a chance that employees won’t give it the warm welcome you expected.
These activities should help promote a healthy environment that can foster a positive company culture.
Try and stay away from activities that might provoke employees’ insecurities, or don’t align with the company objectives. If you know your team well enough, chances are you will find it a lot easier to plan and execute the right team building activity.
Planning And Organizing The Activity
At this stage, you should have a clear guiding idea of what the activity outcomes could potentially be, and how workers will gain from it. During the planning and organizing process consider a few factors throughout.
For starters, what is required for this activity to become a reality, such as materials or resources, can include financial resources too. Next, set up a budget, if needed, and allocate enough financial resources to make the activity enjoyable, yet educational at the same time.
Following this, you can decide on how each activity or activity will be conducted, where it will take place and in what capacity will employees participate. Here you will also need to clearly communicate the date and time that suits everyone’s schedule, and what they can expect.
Finally, make sure to set clear expectations, which we’ve already covered. Ensure that employees know that this activity will help them learn new skills, bond with their colleagues, or learn more about themselves in the process. Having clear communication and planning is perhaps one of the key ingredients to a successful team building event.
Measuring The Success Of The Activity
Once the activity has concluded, it’s time to measure whether these exercises have made a difference to their work, productivity, and overall performance.
Measuring the success of a team building event requires managers or even employers to do a follow-up after the event, usually a couple of days or a week or two later. Consider having some follow-up questions and getting feedback from employees as well.
Creating a feedback loop helps employees become aware that their insights are being valued, and that their opinions are regarded as important.
On top of this, managers will get to know their team a bit better, and it will help them understand what are some of the points they need to focus on in the near future.
If this style doesn’t suit you, then you can potentially monitor employee performance based on their work and whether it has improved since the last team building activity.
It’s important to have a balance between micromanaging or over-involving yourself in employee productivity to ensure that they are being respected, and guided where any shortcomings might still exist.
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Best Practices for Corporate Team Building Activities
Part of the process of delivering a well-engaging team through team building events is to have a clear understanding of the best practices that will need to be followed before, during, and after the event.
These best practices will often align with company values, and what the company looks to achieve with these team exercises.
Creating A Positive And Inclusive Atmosphere
A team building event should be about fostering new relationships, creating bonds, learning new skills, and ultimately motivating employees. There are instances where some team games or exercises might invoke a sense of insecurity, but this should be avoided at all costs possible.
Understanding the objective of each game will help contribute to the overarching company culture, which in most instances should be a positive, yet welcoming environment where employees feel safe and valued.
It’s best to plan for everyone, rather than the majority of the team. Perhaps there is something you’d like the team to engage in, but realize that hybrid or remote working might make this a bit more of a challenge.
Include the needs of every person, and be active at listening to what employees want and would like to see more of in the workplace, this way you can establish an open and inclusive environment for every person on the team.
Encouraging Participation And Team Cohesion
Next would be to plan and organize activities that would see everyone and not just a handful of employees participate. If you notice from a previous activity or team building event that a majority of employees did not feel comfortable or wanted to participate, perhaps change it up a bit this time to include everyone.
On top of this, it’s important to make sure activities are fun, this way employees will be encouraged to join in. Providing some incentives such as prizes or snacks and food might be a good way to encourage more employees to join, but this shouldn’t be the basis on which an activity is planned and arranged.
These activities exist to promote team building and more team cohesion, which in this regard is important for both small and large teams, especially those that work remotely. Make sure that a thorough rundown of each activity is given beforehand and be open to possible suggestions or feedback from the team.
Providing Opportunities For Skill Building And Professional Development
Team building events is not only about employees getting to know each other better but there is also an element that looks to promote certain skills and assist with professional development.
If you know that your employees are keen to attend a workshop, learn more about a specific topic, or even hone their digital skills, provide them with activities that can improve these shortcomings.
You also need to make sure that enough time is spent on skills development, and that every activity covers a broad range of different qualities. Through this, it’s possible to see some employees improve their knowledge, while others are exposed to something completely new.
Think of it like this, the more skills and professional development an employee has, or is exposed to, the better their expertise grows, and the more they are able to put these attributes to good use within the company. This way the company not only helps an employee gain valuable skills, but they are also able to gain from the experience.
Continuously Evaluating And Improving The Program
A final best practice to consider, and which is often overlooked is to continuously evaluate and improve the team building event. It’s not always to say that one particular activity will work a second or even a first time around, perhaps it wasn’t as successful as you’d thought during the initial trial run.
Evaluating these activities and programs lets you see where you as an employer or manager need to improve to help build a better connection or relationship with employees. Even more, evaluating these programs will help you notice whether your efforts are driving change or even helping employees develop new skills.
It’s almost straightforward when you think about how one program can promote a range of skills, while another will simply help team members bond more easily.
The best way to go about this is to highlight both the pros and cons of each activity and liaise with staff members about it. This way you will be able to get direct feedback from the participants, and by making some adjustments, you’ll be able to improve the program.
Think of it like this: it wouldn’t be wise to have a team cookout when your team requires assistance or guidance with sharpening up their analytical skills. Team bonding such a cookout is another fun team building activity that helps with communication skills in a fun way that can help create positive memories.
Yes, a cookout might be more of a social exercise, but critical thinking and analytical skills help employees with their problem-solving skills and can lead to them developing other aspects of their professional career which can inherently be directly tied to your business.
How Do You Bring Teams Together?
There are different settings in which teams can be brought together, with some of the most basic being team building exercises. Through planning and organizing, it’s possible to have every member of the team participate in a range of activities or exercises that will put their abilities to the test, but also encourage them to be more creative thinking and establish healthy relationships with their colleagues.
What Are 6 Habits of a Good Team Player?
1. Understanding the role or brief: Individuals understand what will be expected of them, and have and can use their personal guidance to help them achieve a given goal objective.
2. Open to collaboration: These individuals have a sense of teamwork, and can effectively work with others in the team on any given project. Additionally, these members tend to initiate collaboration on their own sometimes as a way to get everyone more involved.
3. Has a positive attitude: It’s not easy to be a positive person when circumstances are difficult, but a good team player will often have a more positive outlook towards any given challenge. More so, these individuals will help to motivate others in their team as well.
4. Commit to the work or project: Typically these individuals will commit to any given project and will help see it through that all goals or objectives are met once the project has been completed.
5. Encourage their fellow peers: As part of their attitude, these individuals will help to encourage their peers, even when they themselves are struggling. Encouragement can come in the form of emotional support for those employees who are going through difficult challenges.
Another form is workplace encouragement, which sees employees hyping each other up for a new project or helping team members feel more excited about something.
1. Takes responsibility: This is a two-sided trait of a good player. First of all, these people can take responsibility for their actions, even when they know that they have stepped out of line. This is important for smaller teams where people are often held accountable for their actions that do not positively impact the company or team bonding.
The second would be individuals who can take responsibility in a leadership capacity. This would mean that when a new project or task has been given to the team, these employees can take charge we needed, and motivate others to fulfill their duties accordingly. In some instances, these people are natural leaders and can provide the team with the right guidance and knowledge they would require to achieve a certain goal.
Creating a positive work environment, while at the same time fostering a healthy company culture that sees employees grow and develop new skills take time and effort to achieve.
There are many instances where development can happen naturally, but for the most part, employers, managers, and supervisors must have an understanding of how different team building events and exercises can help bring their teams closer.
Before encouraging employees to participate in any team building exercise, make sure that you have clear goals, and that every activity or event aligns with the company’s goals, and employee requirements. Be proactive in helping employees develop new skills, but also become more comfortable with who they are and the level of contribution they have to the company.
Team building should drive employees closer to each other and help establish more positive relationships. If you have the right activities and help to promote team building and skills development, this will only help benefit the greater good of the company, employee performance, and overall productivity.
Think of team building activities as a long-term investment, in both you, your company, and more importantly the employee that makes everything possible.