The ability to work well as a team isn’t learned overnight. In fact, it’s not learned quickly at all. Every individual on the team has to come prepared and ready to listen to the input of others. And sometimes, that’s difficult to do within an office setting. Team building outside of the workplace can improve morale, and make corworkers seem more human. That might feel silly—of course they’re human!—but when you only know them at the office, you don’t really know them.
These unique and engaging team building activities will help your group bond while also growing as individuals. Some of these activities can be done at your workplace, meanwhile others are intended for after business hours. (Or off-site, during business hours if you can get permission.) Here’s to group bonding!
Is your team adventurous or up for new challenges? Bring them to the local rock gym for an evening of fun and trust building. Beginners can work with employees for instructions, and more experienced employees can take turns belaying and climbing. Rock climbing will let them learn how to work together at something they might not be good at. That’s an important skill to learn as a team. Bonus points if you can give your team matching t-shirts to wear!
In-House Paint Night
A paint and wine night is when a group of friends visit a local studio to paint a small canvas, as guided by a very patient instructor…while sipping on some wine! Typically, the studio provides the supplies, and the painters bring their own libations. However, many studios that host these buzzing sessions are willing to bring the art to you.
You name the place, and they come with enough paint, brushes, and canvases for your crew. Plus an instructor, of course! Host an after-hours paint night in your conference room for team building. Because the paintings rarely come out like the instructor’s, an evening of painting allows the group to try something new together—which is critical for collaboration and progress.
Bonus Tip: If you’re prohibited from serving alcohol to your employees, stay in theme with fruits, cheeses, and assorted meats.
Winery or Brewery Tour
Support a local business by planning a group outing at a winery or brewery nearby. This gets the group at ease, outside of a stressful working environment, and allows new friendships to be forged. Certain wineries or breweries are prepared for team building, and will have their own unique activities for the group to do.
A local winery in New Hampshire hosts group dinners regularly. Their signature group project is for everyone to break off into teams of 3-5, depending on the number of attendees. Each group chooses three of their wines to mix and create a whole new wine. After that, the teams present their new wine with a mini sales presentation to the leaders. It’s a blast! Everyone gets to know each other, with a healthy competition thrown in.
Everyone has to eat, right? Let the team out early for a picnic event, or block off two hours in the day for the group to get some fresh air and sunshine. You can host the festivities on company property if you have the room—or take it to the parks! In addition, ask your team members to bring any outdoor games they have, so the team isn’t just sitting and eating for two hours. Let them naturally break off, pick teams, and play games together. Just like shaking up a morning meeting, giving employees some time to relax on the clock boosts morale. It shows that you appreciate and recognize their hard work.
Obstacle Course Race
This one is a little out there—we promised they would be unique team building activities! An obstacle course (like the Spartan race) is something you probably shouldn’t require your employees do. It requires training, and someone who’s used to (the right kind of) physical activity. Instead, poll the office and see who is interested in creating their own team. If you have multiple sites around the country, pit them against each other in friendly competition. See which location can get the best time—and reward that site for winning. Plus, employees who don’t want to race can cheer on their team to help bring them over the finish line.
Personality tests are assessments that help an individual understand their strengths, weaknesses, and overall method of understanding and processing the world. Because there is no pass or fail, these tests help you better understand yourself.
Two common personality tests are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and StrengthsFinder from Gallup. Not only can the individual members better understand themselves, but you can also see how the they work best as a team. Maybe someone on your team is more of a leader than you realized. You can adjust their role accordingly. Or perhaps you discover that your entire team is extroverted. You’ll want to make sure the group takes time thinking an idea through before just acting. As your employees understand themselves better, they can work as a group more effectively.
By now you’ve caught on that team building is a part of any group activity. Volunteering is no different—but it does come with its own benefits. Partnering with a local organization allows employees to get to know their community more. It might not be where they live, as many employees commute, but it is where they spend a good chunk of their week. Plus, volunteer work helps build compassion for others, which is helpful in any group dynamic. Being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings is how collaboration happens, and not every (wo)man for themselves.
Have you tried any of these team building adventures? If not, what activities have you been a part of before? We’d love to know what brought your team closer together!
Above all, you always want to make sure your employees are comfortable. Therefore, we recommend communicating that the activities are voluntary, and not required. If you let the team bond on their own—instead of forcing it—they’ll grow closer.