What is Team Building?
It’s difficult to define “team building,” in fact, there isn’t even a dictionary definition. Rather, as individuals, we all define team building based our first-hand or second-hand experiences.
Unfortunately, for many employees, team building has a negative word association. That’s because, when those individuals hear the phrase “Team Building Activities” they think of trust falls or some other various activities that are supposed to encourage communication or create a positive workplace environment. However, let the record show that trust falls do not boost team spirit or create a strong team. In fact, organizing team building activities that make employees uncomfortable is the opposite of an effective team building.
As a team building company with decades of experience, we know a thing or two about its importance. At Wildly Different Team Building Experiences, we define team building as an organization taking a break from their everyday work to host a fun and engaging activity that brings teams together in a non-intimidating way.
A successful team building:
- Gets the whole group involved
- Increases employee engagement
- Builds trust
- Fosters healthy communication
- Includes fun activities!
Who Should Be Included in Team Building Events?
When planning a team building event, you should invite all team members from the entire company to participate. This includes your organization’s leadership like your C-Suite and executives, your managers, assistants, interns, and everyone in-between. In order to establish and maintain good communication in your workplace you should use team building as an opportunity improve interpersonal relationships.
Include the Team Leader
Throughout your organization’s team bonding, it’s crucial that your organization incorporates your team leader. During your team building retreat, your team leader – whether this is the President, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, or other C-Suite executive – should be actively participating in the team building exercises. There are major benefits to having the higher ups from your business engaging with the team members within your organization. For instance, it provides employees with an opportunity to interact directly with leadership, giving the group a chance to have dialogue and open communication with “the boss” that may not happen regularly in the workplace.
Break Down Teams
During your team event, larger teams (such as different departments within your organization) should be broken down in to team sizes that are appropriate for the selected team building activity. For instance, if your team is going to do a scavenger hunt like The Great Race, it would be difficult for a team size of 20 people to have effective communication. Instead, if you break that group of 20 team members in to four teams of five members, each individual will be able to contribute more to the group while completing problem solving activities and other tasks throughout the team building exercises. Thus, the entire group will be more engaged and have a more enjoyable experience.
Mix Up Workplace Team Members
When organizing your team members it’s important to consider team dynamics. Rather than keeping departments together, use your team event as an opportunity to improve interpersonal relations and mix them up. During a game show like our Game Show Greats, a team of 8 members could consist of employees from the finance team, engineering team, human resources, sales team, and operations management. By bringing employees together from different areas within your organization, each individual can contribute their different skills to help their team succeed throughout the team building exercises. You’ll be providing team members with an opportunity to interact with individuals they may not normally connect with in the workplace. By bringing the whole team together at your team builder, you are building trust and creating an effective team environment.
Goals and Objectives of a Team Building Event
In order to plan an effective team building, you must determine what an effective team building looks like for your organization. When planning a team building, start with your goals and objectives. Here are some samples:
1. Increase your Team’s Performance:
One of the greatest benefits of team building is that you are able to bring the entire team together. Employees are able to have open communication with different departments and bond while doing fun team building activities that hone in on problem solving skills in a unique and creative way. By providing your team with a chance to connect over an engaging activity, you are creating a pathway for greater productivity in the workplace.
2. Boost Team Morale:
By hosting a team building event, you’re showing your team that they are more than”employees.” You are demonstrating that you value them as human beings. In turn, during the event, your employees are able to forge connections with one another on an individual level creating stronger rapports which improves interpersonal relations and builds a more cohesive team.
3. Increase Productivity:
If your business is suffering, it may be because your employees and team members are burnt out. Believe it or not, when a team is hyper focused on a project, sometimes the best thing you can do is give them a break from their everyday work. When a team leader is able to provide their team members with an hour or two to focus on fun or recharge their batteries, employees will return to the workplace with more creativity, more team spirit, and boosted team performance.
4. Reduce Company Turnover:
It’s common knowledge that people want to work with their friends, so it’s important to provide opportunities for your employees to get to know one another outside of the workplace and strengthen relationships. A great team is comprised of team members who respect one another as people first.
By organizing company team building activities, you are reinforcing a positive work environment for your team and establishing the importance of strong company culture. Engaged employees are loyal employees.
Team Building Activities for Remote Teams
When organizing a team builders for remote employees, there are several different team building activities to consider…
Many organizations opt to do mixology classes or cooking classes for their remote team members. These team building activities have everyone log on to an online meeting platform, and the class is lead by an expert. The positive? These structured activities are fun and encourage teams to take a break from their normal work routine. The negative? While these online team building activities utilize external facilitation, virtual classes do not provide employees with opportunities to connect with one another in a smaller group setting. Thus, despite your best efforts to encourage employee engagement, your company may miss the mark on collaboration.
Virtual Team Building Games
Virtual team building games are are specifically designed for teams comprised of remote employees, and all team members can participate from wherever in the world they are working. As a team building company, Wildly Different Team Building Experiences offers dozens of fun and interactive virtual team building games for corporate groups looking to bring team members together.
At Wildly Different Team Building Experiences, our virtual experiences for remote employees start with all participants meeting on Zoom (or your preferred online meeting platform such as Microsoft Teams), where a professional Game Master will welcome the group and introduce the activity. Then, the overall group is divided to smaller teams of five to six people to collaborate in breakout rooms. Throughout the virtual game, all team members are able to view the various activities and challenges on their own devices while working together in their breakout rooms. At the end of their virtual team building, all participants return to the main session where the Game Master reveals the overall team performance and the winning team! Depending on the activity selected, teams may enjoy a laugh together as they view a slideshow of photos and videos submitted during the experience.
Escape Rooms for virtual teams
The most popular team building activity for virtual teams are escape rooms. While there are hundreds of virtual escape rooms to choose from, our personal favorite is Undercover Escape. What’s great about escape rooms? Escape rooms designed for team bonding, require individuals to tap into their critical thinking skills as they are lead through a series of unique clues and puzzles. They also encourage team members to focus on communication and collaboration while utilizing their time management skills to escape before the clock runs out. Most importantly, groups don’t mind the hard work as they are too busy having fun!
Mysteries for virtual employees
If an escape room doesn’t sound like the perfect fit for your team, consider a virtual murder mystery team building game like Manor House Murder or a classic mystery where your team becomes detectives such as In a Jam – a Rockin’ Mystery. Although these team builders may not seem like “typical” structured activities, the skills your group will utilize during a fun and engaging remote team building activity can be applied in the workplace as well. For instance, which team member assumed a leadership position and why? Or, did a team disagree about who committed the crime? What conflict management skills did they use to come to their collective group decision? By offering your remote teams an opportunity to come together and bond with other team members, you’re opening the door to greater communication, breaking down company silos, and allowing employees to gain a better understanding for how the team works collectively.
Team Building Activities for In-Person Teams
There are several different types of team building activities for in-person groups. As a team building company with over twenty years of experience, the most popular team building events we’ve organized on behalf of our corporate clients include charitable team builders and corporate treasure hunts. However, there are also classic team building activities like game shows and competitive team building too!
Charitable Team Building Events
One of the biggest benefits of team building is how it brings employees together for a common goal. And, nothing brings a group together or creates a more positive environment than giving back to the local community. Here are a few of our most popular charity team building events:
1. Physical Building Activities
These activities are a good fit for groups who want to do something physical as it allows employees to use their hands. Great examples of charitable team building activities include The Red Wagon Brigade and Mini Golf Fore Good. These charity team building events have teams focus on a project such as assembling a red wagon that will be filled with toys for children in need or constructing miniature golf holes using canned food items to fill the shelves of a local food bank. Then, teams participate in an activity such as a game show or playing a few rounds of golf where their team’s performance will earn them points. Although there will only be one winning team at the end of the activity, teams understand that the real winners are the families that benefit from your company’s efforts.
2. Creative Team Building Exercises
One of the benefits of team bonding is providing employees with fun activities and various tasks that use a completely different set of skills then their “normal” work. One soft skill that is often overlooked is creativity, which is why a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project like After School Snack Sacks is a perfect way to bring teams together while giving back. Think of the self awareness and team spirit that is fostered when employees come together while decorating canvas bags and filling them full of snacks for hungry children. What makes a charity team building work so well, is that team members are able to bond and create genuine connections while giving back to the local community.
Team Building Hunts
There are many elements that make up a successful team bonding event, and scavenger hunts have them all.
- Scavenger Hunts get team members up and out, and moving about.
- Hunts can be done absolutely anywhere – indoors, outdoors, at your organization’s campus or office, a city center or downtown, a resort – the sky’s the limit!
- Hunts encourage friendly competition amongst the group.
- Hunts require teams to focus on different skills such as navigation, problem solving, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.
- Most importantly, hunts are really fun.
Competitive Team Bonding Activities
Competitive Team Building events are perfect for energizing teams of all sizes. These active team builders truly get groups moving while they have fun trying to outperform their competition. At Wildly Different Team Building experiences, we offer several competitive team events that are perfect for teams looking to come together while playing:
- The Games is an Olympic-themed event that has participants competing in relays in an attempt to outscore their opponents. This event is super high energy and the perfect team builder for an organization that would like to focus on strategic thinking and collaboration.
- Float Your Boat is a classic team builder that has the whole team working together to design boats made entirely out of cardboard and race them with team members inside. This is an ideal team builder for corporations going through an organizational change such as a merger as it truly gets participants out of their comfort zones while encouraging team spirit.
- Crunch Time has teams completing a series of minute-long challenges that utilize your participants’ every day skills. This exciting and interactive team building allows your employees to demonstrate hidden talents that may not otherwise arise in the workplace. Team performance is measured based on how well each team does at every challenge, and at the end of the event, the winning team earns shiny gold award medals and bragging rights. This is an effective team building for an organization that is looking for structured activities that are outside the box.
When Your Company Should Plan Team Builders
To put it simply, building a good team is an ongoing process! If your organization is looking to create a culture with open communication and trust, you need and create an environment where employees feel safe and comfortable being themselves. This means planning team building regularly.
Improve Team Dynamics with Monthly Team Building Activities
If you are able to organize team building events monthly, keep them simple. For instance, reserve 30 minutes a month from a regularly scheduled meeting, or have the last Friday of each month be a designated day for a team outing. Great examples of monthly team building activities include:
- Organizing an Escape Room
- Organizing a Scavenger Hunt
- Organizing a team lunch at the office or outside the workplace
- Organizing a trivia experience or Pub Quiz
Build a Successful Team with Large Team Building Events Quarterly
Are you working on building trust or having open communication within your organization? In order to create an effective team environment, your company should host team builders once a quarter. These activities can be designed for small or larger teams. Quarterly team events should be at least one hour long, can take place during regular work hours, or done in conjunction with larger quarterly meetings. Great team builders that can be done quarterly include:
- A giveback event where team members work together to help the community such as ArCANtecture.
- An activity that fits with the season such as Summer Camp Challenge during the summer months or Football Frenzy in the fall.
- A team event that is customized for your organization. This could include an interactive game show that reinforces training in a fun and unique way to measure your team’s performance or an escape room that puts your employees’ problem solving skills to the test.
In order to create a company culture that is focused on a cohesive and strong team, your company should be organizing opportunities for employee engagement regularly. By holding quarterly team buildings, you are promoting healthy communication while continually creating a more positive environment.
Where You Organization Should Host a Team Builder
There are a variety of places where your organization can hold a team experience. Generally speaking, you can elect hold your event on-site at your company’s campus or office, or, you can choose to go off-site. Our expert advice is if you have the time and the budget, that the benefits of team building outside the workplace are far greater. Why? By changing your team’s environment will also change your team’s mindset! Here are some examples of places where your whole team can come together outside of the office:
Hotel or Resort– Already planning a company retreat at a hotel or resort? Be sure to include a two hour window of team fun for your group. We always recommend allowing your team to experience the resort area by doing a scavenger hunt like Team Dynamics Dash.
Restaurant– Planning a luncheon or dinner for your team? Add on a dinner activity to encourage your employees to connect such as No Table Unturned. Or, plan a high-energy event like a game show.
Theme Park– Planning an annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, or in California within close proximity to a theme park? Theme park team events such as a Hot Spot Theme Park Hunt are a perfect team outing during a multi-day meeting. Not only do these events allow team members to enjoy local attractions, but it provides them with unique opportunities to connect in a fun way while improving team morale.
Park or Beach– It’s a well-known fact that being outdoors or in nature naturally reduces stress levels while also boosting endorphins and dopamine. Thus, opting to hold your event out in the fresh air and sunshine will help to de-stress your team members while simultaneously increasing their happiness! Host a classic team event outside the workplace such as the Amazing Chase.
Defining Team Building
So, what is team building? In short, it’s wildly different for each and every team. However, in order to build a cohesive team, you should always select a team building that is fun, engaging, and inclusive for all team members.