We work in fast-paced business environments where employees must perform at maximum productivity, race against strict deadlines, and find the time to complete a list of daily duties every single day.
Obviously, employees could use some quality time out, but mention team building activities to them, and your suggestions might very well be met with audible groans. The thing is, team building doesn’t have to involve awkward games with coworkers. In fact, the right team building activities can help your employees bond, resulting in boosted engagement and productivity.
According to the 2017 Gallup State of the American workplace report, engaged employees contribute to the economic health of their company in ways that other employees do not. Employees who are engaged:
- are more likely to stay with their organization
- feel a stronger bond to their organization’s mission and purpose
- build stronger relationships with customers
Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity. Bearing in mind the preceding information, it’s clear that engagement is super important to workplace satisfaction—perhaps more than company policies and perks.
So how do you increase engagement at the workplace? Here are 10 team building activities that will help you achieve it:
1. Happy Hour
One night every month, close up shop an hour early. Order in a few pizzas, go out to a restaurant, or watch a sports game. Whatever you do, make it a casual and fun night that allows everyone to really relax and socialize.
Supporting a good cause is good for the soul. And it’s also a great way for team members to bond, suggests HubSpot. Volunteering ideas include serving at a local soup kitchen, helping build a Habitat for Humanity house, or delivering gifts to children’s hospitals during the holidays.
Bringing your team together to do work that makes a difference in your community not only makes them happier, it’s also good for business.
3. Escape Room
Locked in a room for one hour, your team is tasked with finding hidden objects, solving puzzles, and figuring out clues to locate the key that will set them free. While it’s not easy—only 20% of players actually make it out before the hour is up—it’s a great bonding activity that requires leadership skills, teamwork, and patience.
4. Outdoor Activity
Getting fresh air can help the human body destress and improve overall physical and mental wellbeing. It can also sharpen the mind and revive energy.
Whether you go to a park and play lawn games or to the shore for some beach volleyball or paddleboarding, your team will benefit from getting out of the office together and having some fun.
5. Tourist Attraction
Got some cool tourist attractions in your city? Visit one of them with your team. For example, downtown Pheonix offers a food tour that allows participants to immerse themselves in the city’s history, architecture, and delicious food! Other cities might offer harbor boat tour’s or interactive museums.
Any money you spend—and we’re not saying you have to spend a lot—is worth the investment. It will give your team the opportunity to experience their city in a really authentic way while they socialize and bond.
6. Food Cook Off
Ever tried a culinary event as one of your team building activities? Cooking a new dish together will require your team to get creative and work together. To get the fun started, divide your team into smaller groups, select a food category, and challenge each team to concoct something delicious, whether it’s pizza, ice cream, or salsa.
Add a fun twist by choosing one ingredient that all teams must use. Alternatively, require each team to shape its food into an original sculpture.
7. Improv Workshop
Comedy and improv events provide enjoyable, interactive experiences that will allow your employees to laugh while learning useful communication skills such as focus and trust.
From simply playing improv games with your employees to bringing in professionals to run the event, this activity will give your team the gift of laughter—an incredible resource for overcoming problems and enhancing relationships, as well as supporting physical and emotional health.
8. Puzzle Race
A jigsaw puzzle can make a fun problem-solving challenge for your team, when you break smaller groups—with the same number of people—for a multi-puzzle race.
Give each group a copy of the same jigsaw puzzle and time them to see which team can complete the puzzle first. Offer prizes for the winner, as well as the runner-ups.
9. Lazer Tag
Company team building activities are beneficial to establishing healthy business development, and there are few games better than laser tag! Not only is laser tag fun, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for employees to exercise their strategy, communication, and teamwork skills.
10. Mystery Dinner
The dinner’s aim is to get random groups of people from the same company together to spend an evening full of good food and conversation.
Send a group of individuals from different teams within your company to dinner somewhere in your city (or at someone’s house). The dinner should be hosted by a company leader and paid for by the company. The “mystery” is that participants are only informed about the dinner’s date and time. On the afternoon the dinner takes place, send each group an email with the name of the restaurant or home they’re going to and who they’ll be going with.
Every business owner wants engaged workers who contribute to the company’s productivity. But before you start planning a day of team building activities, be aware that one third of American workers dislike team bonding exercises. Avoid activities that force people to abruptly move out of their comfort zones right away.
Studies indicate that adrenaline-based activities top the list of least effective team building activities, with trust exercises coming in second. That being said, try to create non-threatening environments that encourage people to open up at their own pace.
Use the casual, fun activity suggestions above to increase employee engagement and build a stronger workforce that, in turn, contributes to the health of your company.
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