Team-building activities

No matter what industry you work in or your position, working as a team is a key component of a positive work environment. The workplace is where most people spend the majority of their time. Getting along with your co-workers is essential to a productive, positive workplace.

Participating in team-building activities is an excellent way to ensure the employees form a cohesive, united group.

The basics of team building

Team building consists of any activity or process that unites a group of people together for a purpose. Team building can occur in several ways and take on many forms. For example, sometimes team building may happen naturally as people work together on a common goal. As they strive to achieve the goal, they develop bonds and connections that make up a team.

In other instances, team building needs a little push from the manager or a leader to get it going. This takes the form of team-building activities. It involves a more structured approach that engages the members in new ways. However, whether the team building happens organically or is planned, the results are the same; the members end up with a closer bond with one another.

Benefits of team-building activities

Engaging in team-building activities is an essential part of a successful workplace. Almost all work settings involve people interacting with one another. People will be bumping shoulders with one another every day. They will see each other on their good and bad days. Without a unified group, the workplace may become chaotic.

Since there’s no guarantee that team building will happen on its own, planning team-building activities are beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Creates deeper bonds between the employees, which means they will get along better in the workplace.
  • Working together as a team will lead to a more productive environment since it creates more harmony.
  • Problem-solving is efficient when the workplace has the team working together to get the job done.
  • Since the employees will be closely connected and bonded, there will be fewer interpersonal problems and less drama.

Overcoming challenges of implementing team-building activities

Although the benefits of creating team-building activities are evident, it doesn’t come without challenges. A manager who wants to develop formal team-building activities needs to consider the following challenges and how to overcome them:

Different personalities

In any group activity, you are going to have different personalities. To simplify matters, you could categorize the personalities as introverts and extroverts. Your extroverts may attempt to jump right into the team-building activities, take charge of the group, offer solutions to the problem, and conclude with results. It appears you have a “win” because the job is done.

However, it isn’t a win if only half the group (the extroverts) worked on the team-building activity while the other half (the introverts) sat in the background. The group leader needs to be sure that the extroverts don’t dominate the activity. While their contributions are highly valuable, the purpose of team building is for everyone to contribute. So, introverts also need to be encouraged to engage.

Making a plan

It can be easy to “hope” that team building will just occur on its own. Sometimes that can happen, but a manager will have better results by setting aside some time that is specifically for team-building activities. In addition, this needs to occur regularly. It could be quarterly or every bi-monthly. Even twice a year would work. But if a manager thinks doing team-building activities once will be effective, they’re not thinking about how easily people forget what they learn. Also, the workplace may change employees, and team building is about relationships, which always need to be nurtured.

Choosing the right activities

Finally, managers need to find the right kind of team-building activities. In other words, you want ones that everyone can engage in and that they feel comfortable with. You don’t want anything really too physical because some people may not have the physical capabilities of others. This isn’t supposed to be a sports outing. Also, you don’t want all the activities to revolve around hanging out together casually (although there is some room for that as well). Activities that have some structure and purpose are more apt to bring results.

Examples of team-building activities

Here are a few examples of team-building activities that a manager can use to get the ball rolling:

  • Icebreaker session: This can be an ideal way to get started if it’s your first meeting. There are a variety of icebreakers you could use to create a whole session or just use one to start the meeting.
  • Scavenger hunt: People can work in small groups to find the “prize.” This encourages teamwork while also building a relationship.
  • Brainstorming session: Solving problems often requires brainstorming. Put a problem up for everyone to contribute solutions to.
  • Show and tell time: This is an age-old way to get people talking about themselves. You can modify this a bit by having people show off what they are working on or what they’ve accomplished.
  • Mentoring: People can be paired with employees who are trying to learn the ropes or may someday do their job. It allows the person higher up the ladder to experience mentoring while the other person learns new skills.
  • Go to an escape room (or create your own): Escape rooms are a lot of fun, and people have to work together to “escape.” It also stimulates the team’s problem-solving skills.
  • Do a skit: Acting can bring people out of their comfort zones, but it’s a great way to connect with the other actors. The office may want to do improv or create a short skit as an exercise for team building.
  • Volunteer together: Giving to others is an excellent way to bond over something valuable like community service.

Find the activities that will work best for your office and run with them. Remember, to reap the full benefits of these team-building activities, you must do them periodically. The result will be a more cohesive, productive workforce.