Team Building Activities For Work

2020.10.08.

In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, "times they are a-changing". And so it is with the more traditional mode of work. Back in the day, you clocked in, worked, and clocked out. You simply performed your tasks in your cubicle, as instructed. There was no need to think beyond the required activities at hand as that was the job of the "management". This group, who dressed differently, talked in code and being higher up in the hierarchy, were rarely seen by the mortals below. There was no mixing of the two groups, for example, they even ate in a separate cafeteria from the "workers". Ideas tended to flow downwards from the boss, through his underlings and finally landing on the shoulders of the workers who were expected to carry them out without question.

Shiny Happy People

But over the last decade or so, the ideas behind how we work have undergone considerable change. The rigid 9 to 5 being spent seated at the same desk has given way to such innovations as open plan offices, relaxed dress codes and in many places, even allowances for you to bring your dog to work. The general consensus driving these changes is that by incorporating more "life" into the work situation, you create a happier and thus more productive work force. Both the competitiveness of business in general, and working in a culture of social media review, means that companies are made more aware of their methods and the consequences of their actions. So they are happy to look towards the actual workforce for ideas to improve working conditions. This in turn will improve the brand's positive perception in the general market place. And it's from this desire to make a mini utopia within the work place that team building activities first emerged. 

Corporate-Speak

The very term "team building" has the sound of corporate-speak written all over it. Most people would immediately think of white water rafting or rock climbing, some activity that's both left-field yet at the same time daring in nature. But that really represents the extremes of team building. One doesn't need to go to the ends of the earth, or spend copious amounts of cash on a team building exercise, when you could get the same results playing scrabble together in the local pub. Essentially, all you require is a structured opportunity for your employees to interact with each other. Through this they get to know each other, and it's this informality, this knocking down corporate walls, that lets all the people learn about each other. By so doing, their level of communication should jump creating an improved workplace for everyone.  

Save your Money

It's a fallacy that you need to spend a lot of money to create a team building exercise. It's not the location that important, but the activity you'll all be performing together. Even something as mundane as a lunch time discussion can work. Have the people form in groups and encourage them to discuss to work related issues. The important take-away is that during this period, people are getting to know each other better. A follow on from this is to bring someone from one department, to have them spend a day in another. This is a means of encouraging cross departmental cooperation, which in larger corporations, will help everyone work as one cohesive unit. Let's have a look at some simple but effective team building strategies that can be performed either at work or with minimal fuss.

Company Sponsored Off-Site Lunches

Chatting round a meal is probably one of the most pleasant and comfortable places to talk things through. It doesn't matter if it's a bar-b-q in the park or going to a fancy restaurant, these are excellent opportunities for team building. Sharing a meal together is a normal family activity, and so by doing this for a team of workers, it will have the same cohesive and familiar effect. It's a great way of encouraging employees to get to know each other better.

Company Sponsorship for Sports Teams

Sport is another great team builder as there's already "team" built into many of the events and activities. If a company can encourage any single sporting activity, then it's also encouraging employees to get together and work out a common game plan. The actual sport is inconsequential. Whether it's football, golf, track events or simply running, the company should offer to pick up any costs involved. 

Fun Classes and Events On-Site

These are for evenings or weekends. As a business, you could provide classes in any number of interesting topics, that all your employees could enjoy. This could be cheese making, wine making, cooking classes or whatever. By encouraging the employees to organize said events, they are then already team building with both the planning and execution. Learning new skills together is just another ways of bring people closer.

Employee Hobby Clubs

Following on from the above, it's a great idea to promote all sorts of activities. As a business, you should provide the space and maybe some financial support. Many companies already offer sponsored activities like photography, table tennis and gaming. The opportunities for team building exercises with these is as wide as you imagination.

Encourage Your Employees to Volunteer for Charity

Charity events are another great means of encouraging everyone to work towards a common goal. Whether collecting food for the homeless or arranging a horse-riding day for the blind, there are few activities that'll bring out the good in all involved. You'll be amazed at the camaraderie a team will build up thanks to meaningful voluntary activities. And you find that this "togetherness" will later spill out into the workplace.

Activities for Employees’ Families

Including families during these team building exercises is a great way of promoting friendships that'll extend far beyond the workplace. And there's something about having children around that acts as both an instant ice-breakers, as well as encouraging everyone to make the effort to be more civil towards each other. You can clear out a room and show projected movies for a weekday movie night. Or have pumpkin carving at Halloween. Any event that can include all member of the family should be top of the list. Christmas will be a big one, so ensure that there's a kind and wonderful atmosphere for all involved. Also, as a general rule, you should provide a space of the children of your employees so that they can be occupied if a parent is working a little late or stuck in a meeting.  

Conclusion: Workplace Team Building Activities

Use you're imagination to invent and then configure some team building activities. It need not cost an arm and a leg. As an employer, this is a means of sharing the love. And by so doing, you're creating a happier and better workplace for everyone. You might surprise yourself as to how much improvement you can help bring about, with the smallest of spending. As an employee, take part in all the team building events as possible. It's a great way to get to know your colleges as well as making new friends. And before you say it, yes, of course a cynic might point out that these activities are just a means to increase profits. And so what? As a goal, that's not a bad thing in itself. 
 

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