Effective teamwork is the cornerstone of any successful organization, but working with others can often be overwhelming, even for the most patient employees. Being able to effectively manage conflicts that arise is necessary for producing a collaborative environment. Team building encourages a cooperative atmosphere that allows colleagues to connect organically. Research shows that happy employees are the most productive, so it is in your best interest to go the extra mile for your small business to make that statistic a reality (Source: 5 Dynamics). Plus, a happy and highly productive team organically makes your business more attractive to customers. While many groan at the suggestion of team building, these activities don’t need to be focused around trust falls and obstacle courses. Here are 5 fun team-building ideas to help better connect your employees.
After a recent rise in popularity, escape rooms are quickly becoming a quality way to build comradery, put problem-solving skills to the test, and try something new. Escape rooms operate on the premise of teamwork—in order to yield the best results and “escape the room”, dividing and conquering different sections of the room and bringing clues together is often required.
With limited time to solve the various puzzles, different objects in the room will trigger clues if your group is struggling. Escape rooms come in many forms—some use a backstory involving a sinister plot, such as an apocalyptic theme, a murder mystery, or a spreading disease, and others are more mild, such as a library or a hotel. Although escape rooms have a fairly low success rate, they will help to make your group a more collaborative team that learns to work together more effectively. While escape rooms do have a cost per participant, the team bonding is worth the expense!
If you are looking for a low-cost option for your department, a scavenger hunt is a perfect way to create a healthy team bonding experience. A scavenger hunt can be done almost anywhere, such as a warehouse, a break room, or a courtyard, and include almost anything as props.
By using commonly found office items, such as staplers, notebooks, cups, etc, and a series of printed clues to accompany them, you can craft an exciting scavenger hunt for your team that will lead them to each destination. By providing a reward at the end for the first place team, you will incentivize your team to keep at it and solve the whole problem. This activity will also help to get your employees on their feet and moving around, which is great for improving a case of the Mondays.
While often seen as a barroom activity, trivia can be both a bonding experience and a great way to keep your employees informed about the office happenings. Office trivia can be done surrounding almost any topic—rules and protocols, interpersonal knowledge, and office characteristics are all great topics to use. Offering incentives, such as an extra vacation hour, gift cards, or other prizes to the players with the highest number of correct answers will help to create a friendly, competitive atmosphere. Be sure to involve any remote team members through video chatting or calling in. Office trivia is a fun way to get to know your coworkers and your space.
A great way to encourage team bonding while also giving back to your community is through acts of service. There are numerous ways to get involved in community service, such as volunteering at a local food pantry, organizing a park clean-up, or donating items to a local animal shelter. Volunteering in your community also helps to spread good-will, and will create a positive impression of your company to any potential clients or customers. Be sure to reward your hard-working employees with some pizza or ice cream once you’ve finished!
In the same vein of community service, hosting a charity poker event after hours is a fun way to connect with coworkers and give back to a charity of the winner’s choice. For a small buy-in of $10-30 per player, you have the option of providing snacks, music, and a fun atmosphere to unwind and share a few laughs. Make sure the organization chosen is a local non-profit to increase your community and brand awareness. For those that don’t play poker, be sure to have other games available, such as Scrabble, Heads Up, or Monopoly.
Effective team building is an important aspect of building a quality department. Although many people aren’t thrilled by the idea of it, team building actually does help to create a strong foundation for your team. While it’s almost impossible to guarantee that employees will get along at all times, if you encourage your staff to connect in a fun and low-pressure situation, they will be able to relate to each other on a more personal level.