Bonding with coworkers is a great way to create a team of productive and efficient people. By not only encouraging interaction between employees but facilitating it, companies can do better to ensure the productivity that they seek is achieved.
So, what activities bring employees together? 15 activities that bring employees together are:
- 1. Game Night
- 2. Sporting Event
- 3. Karaoke Night
- 4. Company Picnic
- 5. Boating
- 6. Go-Karts
- 7. Rock Climbing or Obstacle Course
- 8. Escape Rooms
- 9. Laser Tag or Paintball
- 10. Cooking Class
- 11. Hiking or Camping
- 12. Trivia Night
- 13. Icebreakers
- 14. Volunteer Work
- 15. Art Class
Increased productivity means that more work is getting completed in less time. While it seems as though achieving productivity goals also means overworking employees, the truth lies in the efficiency of a group of employees. When those employees work well together because of their relationships with one another, better productivity becomes a realistic goal.
While the success of a variety of team building activities will depend on the company culture, simply having fun is enough for the majority of employees. A team building session is also helpful in reducing stress. Despite this, there doesn’t have to be an underlying reason for the events. Nonetheless, the following is a list of 15 activities explained, as there are no shortages of bonding activities.
1. Game Night
The simplicity of a game night is a great way for employees to get to know one another. Board games are an age-old activity that is not only fun but has the ability to bring people out of their shells. This particular activity is great for all personality types from introvert to extrovert and all of those in between.
Figuring out the logistics of a game night is the largest portion of planning this activity. With smaller companies, you might take turns hosting the evening at private dwellings. If employees are uncomfortable with that idea, the office space can be used after hours. Additionally, some cities have businesses where board games can be played in the storefront.
Once the location has been determined, it is necessary to choose the game or games that will be played. Some game nights have a round robin style, where multiple games are being played simultaneously. The winner of game 1 would play the winner of game 2 and so forth.
While the benefits of playing board games should not be the sole reason for a team building activity, there are a few worth mentioning. Some of the most prominent advantages of playing board games is improved memory, better cognitive skills in general, and improvement in critical thinking. On top of the communication and fun involved in all board games, this activity is sure to be a hit amongst employees.
2. Sporting Event
Both attending and/ or playing in a sporting event does great things for team building. By providing employees with tickets to a baseball game it is likely that they will show up for the entertainment. The additional communication and relationship building amongst coworkers is simply a bonus.
Partaking in a sporting event is a great team building activity because of the need to work together. From a softball league to a charity basketball game, the possible sports to play vary based on the number of participants, time of year or weather, and the athleticism of the office members.
While watching a sporting event offers up a great way to get to know coworkers on a more personal level, it offers fewer benefits than actually playing a sport. By engaging with fellow employees in sport, there will be a greater sense of trust. Additionally, it will be necessary to put differences aside in order to perform well as a team. Employees will also have to learn how best to collaborate if winning is on the agenda. Plus, possibly most obviously, it is healthier for employees to be exercising and moving around. This results in a variety of its own benefits.
3. Karaoke Night
Although some will prefer to watch, many will want to be in a group, and a few brave souls might do a solo, karaoke is a fun way for employees to get together after hours. If your office has a good group of extroverts, this may be the perfect activity to bring them together. It offers those that are very extroverted a chance to have a good time in an appropriate environment and those that are more towards the introvert side can have just as much fun watching.
This activity often has the ability to bring people a bit more shy out of their comfort zones in a fun way. In fact, that step out of their comfort zone can also translate to his or her work life. Once someone has achieved something outside of work, they are more likely to bring it inside of the office environment.
4. Company Picnic
Inviting all employees and their families out to a company picnic is a great way to get coworkers interacting. This type of gathering allows employees to bond over similarities they might not have known they had. For example, if Jim’s 13-year-old daughter gets along with Bob’s 13-year-old daughter, the two have reason to discuss things outside of their work.
In addition to food, a company picnic can offer games and other fun activities. If the picnic were near a lake, swimming can evolve into a number of other competitions and games. When you are looking for an event with options, a picnic is a great option.
With the ability to develop a rapport with coworkers outside of the office, the possibilities for friendly competition, and good food, it is hard to go wrong with a company picnic!
Boating can mean any number of things, depending on your location. In coastal towns, it can mean sailboats. Locations along a river might bring the idea of sternwheelers or kayaks. Oceanfront areas may consider a gathering on a yacht. Whatever the boat is, there is a way to use it as a great team building event.
Sailing is often a form of boating that requires teamwork. By not only teaching employees to sail but how to work together so that things go smoothly, this activity can do great things for a company. The same can be said for kayaking. It is necessary for the people in a two-person kayak to communicate and work together, lest they end up in the water.
Taking a ride on a yacht or sternwheeler are two very different experiences. A sternwheeler is typically a bit less upscale, whereas a yacht has a more prestigious image. Choosing between the two is often based on location and overall company culture. If the business is more high end, a yacht may be the perfect event for your team. If the culture is more laid back, perhaps a sternwheeler down the river is a good choice.
Taking the team for a go-kart race is a fun and “young” employee activity. A company funded event that allows the workers to let loose and have a good time is a great way to get to know one another. It also spikes a sense of competition, which is great for team building.
There are a few drawbacks, most of which are based on the median age of your employees. If many of the group are nearing retirement age, it is likely that they would struggle to get in the low-sitting go-karts. It could put a damper on the evening. This type of event is best enjoyed by those able to partake in it.
However, even if a few employees are unwilling to get in on the race, they may have children or grandchildren that would enjoy the activity. Many race tracks have an area for those not racing to watch or eat. Those that are not on the track can chat and watch the action amongst good food, which is a team building activity in itself.
7. Rock Climbing or Obstacle Course
A fun and challenging group activity that your company might try is a rock climbing trip or an obstacle course. There are several locations across the country that offer both! Most locations have the ability to bring in an instructor for those that are not accustomed to rock climbing. They are able to teach team members about climbing and the trust that is involved with it. Building that trust is key to developing a cohesive team unit.
Obstacle courses are also a great way to develop trust and a sense of teamwork. This is especially true when coworkers cheer on one another as they attempt to get through the course. It is fun, too, and something that employees will likely speak about in the coming weeks at work. It is simply an extra way to bond with others.
Both rock climbing and an obstacle course do more than just build teams up. It is also a great cardiovascular exercise, which improves heart health and helps to fight disease. It also incorporates strength training. By encouraging employees to participate in one (or both) of these fun activities, companies might find that they end up with happier and healthier workers.
8. Escape Rooms
The group activity that is all the rage these days are escape rooms. It requires that everyone work together to find and solve clues in order to escape the themed room. This is great as a team building activity for a few reasons.
The first reason being the teamwork required. Secondly, communication can help groups to work through the clues. Next, logical thinking and problem solving are often key. All of these aspects are vital to developing a top-notch team in your company.
After escaping the room(or failing at doing so), the group gets a picture depicting whether you were successful or not. Simply adding that picture to the office can do wonderful things for company culture. The downside to this type of activity is that the number of people in a room is limited, so if you have a larger group you’ll need to split up. In this scenario, it is important to break up people into teams that do not already have relationships between one another.
9. Laser Tag or Paintball
Both laser tag and paintball are activities that require strategy and logic application. The points of both are very similar, but the differences typically lie in the location and the feeling of being shot. Where laser tag is an indoor activity that causes no pain, paintball is usually outdoors and can sting when you get shot. This often limits the types of people that want to partake. Consider your staff prior to choosing between the two.
These activities are also great at developing teamwork that can, in turn, be applied in work situations. They are also adrenaline pumping and fun! While that specific aspect of the activity stays on location, this kind of event has the ability to bring a sense of confidence in the office.
10. Cooking Class
Taking a group cooking class can be a fun and delicious way to bond with coworkers. Typically cooking classes break people into groups of a few. Those few people have to work together to come out with a yummy end result.
This particular activity is extra fun because it can expand into others. After taking a class, the next group activity might be a cook-off. Determine the winner by way of an anonymous vote. Some favorite cook-off themes could be chili, tacos, breakfast, or dessert items. An extra challenge could be added in by requiring teams to use a specific ingredient in their meal.
A cooking class might also result in weekly lunches that have been cooked from scratch. One or two employees might be assigned a week and are expected to provide lunch on Friday for the whole office. The possibilities that stem from a cooking class are nearly endless.
11. Hiking or Camping
Hiking is healthy and can result in some beautiful views. It is often more than just a mindless walk. While group hiking’s biggest benefit is safety in numbers, it is also a wonderful stress reducer. Additionally, hiking inspires creativity.
Being in nature often has a way of helping people to open up socially. The fresh air, sunshine, and greenery often inspire conversation. Water or lunch breaks are also great for communication. For those that enjoy exercise, hiking is fun!
A hiking trip can easily become a camping trip if employees are able to get away from their home lives for a night. An evening around a campfire with smores, followed by sleeping in tents, and coffee made on the fire in the morning is a whole lot of bonding. Those experiences stay with people and allow connections to form far more easily.
12. Trivia Night
Although trivia night is popular in bars across America, this activity does not have to take place in a bar or with alcohol (unless that is what you’re going for). However, trivia night can happen anywhere – a personal residence, a coffee shop, or the office. There are a variety of ways to host a night such as this.
Some trivia nights have a theme. For example, it could be film-themed, where all of the questions are related to movies. Others prefer a wide array of questions. The questions matter less than the overall fun that the people are sure to have!
This activity often inspires a sense of competition amongst coworkers but is also a great way to have fun. They don’t usually require a prize, but it can’t hurt! A prize allows for a bit more competition. Appropriate prizes for trivia night might be a free sick day or a day in which the winner is allowed to wear casual clothing to work.
Icebreakers are often short games for people to get to know one another. In an office environment, this activity is often best if the employees are not very familiar with one another. If everyone seems to know everyone, the icebreakers will need to be altered so that employees can learn more about one another.
A fun icebreaker game to try is Two Truths and a Lie. It is exactly as it sounds: people are to tell two truths and a lie about themselves. It is up to the group to determine which items are facts and which is the lie.
Another interesting icebreaker is similar to bingo. The difference is that the bingo cards have items like “has green eyes” or “has never flown in a plane.” The object would be to move around the room trying to find people that match up to the descriptors on your own card. The first person to have a name in every square wins.
This activity is so great because it is so versatile. It can be an activity done one time or it can happen every Monday morning to get to know everyone in the office that much better. No matter how you might decide to use icebreakers, it is important to do it with purpose. Trying to remember these things about one another is key to building the relationship.
14. Volunteer Work
A very meaningful and very important team building activity is volunteering. There are volunteers needed for a number of things in just about every town. This type of activity can be fun, but it can also be humbling. It is great for employees to do it together as it provides them with a shared experience.
Most areas have an animal shelter that is open to volunteers on a regular basis. They often need people to walk the dogs, pet the cats, clean cages, and provide food and water to the animals.
Soup kitchens are another volunteer opportunity in most cities. In a role as a soup kitchen volunteer, employees can meet homeless people and often get the chance to learn about their situation. They often cook, serve food, or clean.
Many areas have after-school programs where people can volunteer to work with the kids. These kids are often considered at-risk youth. They usually need help with homework, providing food, or mentoring. Business people would have a lot to offer these children. On the other hand, the children would likely have a lot to offer the volunteers.
This activity would also give the company a good image, should the company be made known while volunteering. Whether it is made public or not is irrelevant, as the employees doing the volunteering are not being paid for the work. Hence, volunteer work.
15. Art Class
Group classes are especially popular at this time. One of the most talked about classes involves painting and a glass of wine. There are also classes for pottery and sketching. This type of activity encourages creativity and allows employees to share their creations with coworkers.
While it is not required that alcohol be involved, it does help people loosen up outside of the office. It can also be good to see who is creatively gifted. By comparing art pieces, employees can discover things about who is more literal and who sees things in an artist’s light. A class like this is fun and revealing about differing personalities. It is also just fun! People also like that they can take something home with them – their artwork!
Importance of Team Building
Perhaps the best and most effective way to increase productivity in a business is to develop a team that considers one another friends. Despite the idea that working with friends would be distracting to employees, the opposite is actually true. A group of people that know each other are more efficient in the way that they work together, boost office morale and are better at solving problems.
Teams that know each other are better at understanding one another. This is because team building activities tend to show others an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall personality. The understanding that develops from knowing what others are good at does wonderful things to the way they work together.
The communication between employees that know each other is more smooth, requires less time, and is better understood. Because of the friendships developed between workers at company events and activities, coworkers are more comfortable with one another and feel that they know how the other works. It is that basic understanding that evolves into a greater tool over time.
Many of the suggested team building activities previously mentioned involve a certain level of competition. That sense of competition will bleed into productivity levels at the office, which is often the ultimate goal. It will also create a company culture that is imperative to gaining and retaining quality employees.
Fun is a great motivator for work. Many companies offer team building activities as a reward. For instance, if a sales goal is met, you might take your team on a paid trip to an obstacle course. The motivation to enjoy a fun activity and get paid for it is usually enough for employees to kick it up a little bit. Whatever it is that companies want to pay for often is something that will benefit the said company in some manner.
Although it benefits the company, how can you be sure that employees will want to attend the team building activities that you have planned? Firstly, ensure that the events are fully paid for by the company. Few people will turn down something that is free. Secondly, make sure that significant others and (sometimes) kids are invited. People spend so much time away from their families that they don’t want to spend an additional few hours without them. Lastly, take note of what your employees enjoy doing. Some people will have absolutely no interest in going for a hike. If that’s the case, try to do something that the majority will enjoy.
Developing a team building event or even an entire day is recommended to those looking to expand their business or capitalize on success. A company looking to build teamwork amongst its employees is often a company that will go forward in the industry and make a positive change in business. That company will see team building activities as an investment.
That positive change is mostly due to the importance that a company places on its employees. By treating employees as people and not just as workers, those same employees will be more likely to care about the company that they work for. That makes group activities within a company so much more important than just team building. It makes it imperative to a business’s success. That should be at the top of an employer’s priority list.
The above-mentioned activities are just a short list of options. In reality, the variety of choices available is nearly endless. Get creative. Understand what your employees enjoy. What kinds of personalities do you employ? Once you have comprehended these things about your people, you are more likely to know what the best activities are for them. Only then can you have activities that are thoroughly enjoyed and not dreaded by those that feel obligated. Bring your employees together with fun and skill building on the sly.
Should alcohol be allowed at team building events? Since it is after work hours, alcohol should be allowed. However, it is important to remember that you are around your boss and people with whom you have to be professional with the following day. Because of this, it is recommended that drinking alcohol is kept reasonable and responsible.
What are the main aspects of team building? The four main points of team building include communication, problem-solving or decision making, adaptability and planning, and trust building. By focusing on all four points, a team is sure to be more well rounded and at its most productive.
What are the stages of the team building process? A psychologist has stated that there are 5 stages of team building. These stages include forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Meeting each of these stages in time is key to perfecting the team building process.