corporate team building

When was the last time you had a team building exercise? Do you think it was successful? If not, what can you do to make sure the time you spend designing team building activities & game ideas for work actually pays off? If you don’t already know, you should have a better idea after you’ve been through this article. 

Team building activities are the ice-breakers for workplaces. A team that plays together, does better together. Members bond, they communicate better. They are able to make better decisions. Overall, they are great for developing your workforce and preventing friction and the problems that arise when a group of people work together. 

Here are some ideas to make your team building exercises more effective and successful.  

Take It Outside The Office 

Sometimes, just getting out of the workplace will help team members interact more freely with each other. You could take the team building activities to the boardroom, or book a space outside the office premises. If the activities look like “not work”, they’re likely to be more successful. 

Let It Be During Working Hours 

Let’s face it. No one wants to work outside work hours, even if it’s team building games. Many employees will find it hard to lose their “personal time” if these activities are held after work. Instead, schedule team building sessions during work hours. An hour or two in a workday set aside for these exercises will be a refreshing break. You could also plan the games over lunch. 

group activities melbourne

Design Team Building To Be Competitive Or Collaborative Depending On Goals

When you’re looking for team building activities, you’ll find some are designed to be collaborative and others are designed to be competitive. In the latter, the team members will be focused on winning, and the risk is they may not learn anything. But competitive games have their place. 

In competitive games, there will always be a losing and a winning party. Either individuals or teams will be pitted against each other, and they have to carry out a task most effectively or quickest. 

There are some advantages of competitive exercises, especially in a new team. Team building games like paintball, go-karting, or laser tag are some competitive activities to consider. 

  • They reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the team members
  • They reveal communication styles of the individual members – e.g. which of them is more open to suggestions, more willing to lead, less open to taking advice and direction, etc. 
  • In a lighthearted, fun environment, competitive games teach you how you can communicate with each team member
  • They give members the scope to play different roles in the team

In collaborative office group activities, on the other hand, the team is given a challenge, a problem, or an unfamiliar task to solve or carry out as a team. Everyone needs to collaborate and communication is key for the success of the activity. In a collaborative exercise:

  • There are no winners or losers 
  • The success of the team is shared by everyone 

The Best Collaborative Exercises: 

  • Are too challenging for individuals and need a team for success 
  • Require team members to use their individual soft and hard skills and competencies to solve the problem together 
  • Are broken into four types of activities focusing on – 
    • Communication 
    • Decision-making 
    • Problem-solving 
    • Planning or adaptability activities 
  • Reveal the value of the contributions of team members by showing individuals that their knowledge and skills aren’t enough to complete given tasks. 

Design workplace team building activities based on your goals and you’ll have a more successful session that way. 

group team building activities

Focus On Key Developmental Areas 

One of your objectives in team building activities is to address the areas where your team lags behind. For instance, you can design activities around:

  • Improving poor communication in the team
  • Fixing poor task allocation within the team 
  • Including new team members and making sure their ideas are heard 
  • Fixing irregular time management, etc. 

Problems of communication, time management, allocation, inclusivity, etc. interfere with the team’s performance. When you have a large workforce, it’s easy to ignore these issues. But they can lead to great costs to the company. With time, these problems can turn into roadblocks that you don’t want in a healthy, functioning workplace. 

The more often you organise office group activities to address the weaknesses in your team, the more effective your team will be. It’s a case of the old adage – a stitch in time saves nine. The sooner you preempt potential team issues and fix them, the smoother will be your daily workflow.  

Make Your Goals Clear 

If you don’t want to confuse employees, it’s best to communicate the goals of each activity clearly before they start. Everyone needs to know how the tasks they’re given are going to help them. 

For instance, the popular Truth and Lies game helps to improve communication by encouraging members to get to know each other better. It gives introverts a chance to share things they may not have had a chance to do. Make it clear at the start of the game that everyone needs to share in order for the exercise to be effective. It also makes things more transparent, enhancing team spirit. 

For more challenging workplace team building activities like the Human Knot game, your team members will need to come up with a strategy. When they know the end goal of the activity, they can build a strategy together to achieve it. 

corporate team building activities

Include Volunteering

Doing something for others fills us with a sense of achievement and goodwill, that can translate into a more cohesive team. Include volunteering into your team building activities, and your employees are likely to feel good about it. It could be something as simple or intensive as: 

  • Visiting animal shelters 
  • Assembling care packages 
  • Organising a public space cleanup 
  • Hosting a workplace fundraiser
  • Sharing their expertise 
  • Collecting and donating pet food 
  • Planning a charity 

Ask Your Employees For Inputs And Feedback 

Always include your team members in the design process for the games. After one session, you could ask your team for feedback. An HR manager is responsible for keeping the morale of the team high. Engaging them with suggestions for the team building activities will give them a feeling of control and partnership. 

Create activities based on their recommendations, so that every member participates and everyone is encouraged to put in their best performance. When you dictate terms or design games without feedback from the team, you risk alienating some members who aren’t as engaged in the current activities. 

When you’re constantly listening to employees, it’s easier for you to identify areas of growth and strengths, and make real-time adjustments that can have a big impact on your teams. How can you make sure you get meaningful, actionable feedback? 

  • Don’t ask general or vague questions 
  • Ask ‘How can I improve our team’s communication? Do you have any suggestions for activities that you think will help?’
  • Make it clear that their feedback isn’t just a box to tick to satisfy HR. Make sure they know you’re actively listening and will incorporate suggestions. 

Also, after an exercise is over, ask team members for feedback on it. 

team building activities

Change Up The Team Sometimes 

In the beginning, you can let your employees decide who they want on their team. Divide them into small groups and keep the teams as they are for a few games. But if you want everyone to benefit in the long run, you’ll need to shuffle up your teams sometimes. You don’t want cliques to form. 

Instead, every employee needs to know their peers from different teams or departments. They need to learn how they work. Changing up the teams will help employees forge better connections with others at the workplace. They’ll also get the chance to see how members from other departments work. 

Fun Team Building Activities For The Workplace 

There are many popular activities to build a strong team, including: 

  • Scavenger hunts 
  • The Barter Puzzle 
  • Zoom movie nights 
  • Geocache adventure 
  • Organisational Jenga 
  • Blind drawing, etc. 

With dozens of other games out there, how do you choose the ones that are best for your team? You’ll need to make sure there is a method to your design for team building activities. It’s easy to get confused by the variety of team building games around. It can help if you sign up with professionals who design team building activities for the workplace. The benefits of doing so include tried and tested games that are guaranteed to engage your team and keep them on their toes, maximum engagement, and unique experiences. 

At the end of the day, team building for the workplace is essential to create a more productive and cohesive workplace. It’s fully worth your while to invest time and resources into organising some team building activities. 

To avoid boring your team, work with professionals to design fun games that help your team members work better together and enjoy themselves at the same time. 

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