7 Best Resources For Team Building In The Office
Team building has become quite a trending topic and is considered a must for any successful organization nowadays. However, while everybody talks about it, and many managers enforce various activities onto their teams, few actually understand why it’s so important.
The truth is that effective team building establishes and continuously improves the following 4 essential aspects of a healthy team:
- Communication – Lack of proper communication is among the top reasons why projects fail
- Motivation – Higher motivation leads to higher productivity
- Creativity and Problem Solving – Better problem solving is directly linked to effective crisis management
- Engagement – All people, including employees, need to have a sense of belonging. They have to feel a part of something bigger to do better.
The key is to make sure that every team building activity boosts at least one of the above-mentioned features with everybody enjoying the whole process. You don’t want to do team building just for the sake of it, and the reality is that it will never work if that’s the intention.
Here are some of the best team building resources you can adapt to your business.
1. Establish Employee Off-Work Hours (motivation + communication)
One of the most intriguing things in the workplace for almost any employee is to find out what everybody else is doing, especially those who work in other departments. In bigger organizations, this curiosity can be hard to satisfy, which you can use to your advantage.
For one, establishing cross-department connections between different team members comes in handy when there is a need for a company-wide collaborative effort (cultural reforms and organizational change being prime examples). Furthermore, you’ll be giving your employees a chance to learn something they are interested in, be it a future career path or a better understanding of the company’s culture.
The key here is not to push too hard; you want people to do something because they want to, not because they need to. Tell everybody that you plan to organize such an activity, but let them pick the department they want to visit. Using a simple schedule can help avoid any overlap and confusion, allowing everybody to book desired days ahead of time.
2. Encourage The Use Of Project Management Tools (communication)
Project management tools are not only effective at keeping projects under control, but they also facilitate fostering team collaboration and communication. If your company isn’t doing it yet, make sure to grab a project management tool like EasyProjects or Wrike (or at least try the free trial first), both of which are used by thousands of businesses and offer a lot of features that make life that much easier.
Once you’ve made your choice, devote a couple of hours to explain to all team members how the tool works and why it’s important to make it a part of their everyday routines. The first few days may be a bit shaky, but once the team gets the hang of it, the tool will help increase overall productivity and facilitate much more transparent and open communication.
3. Organize Team Lunch Breaks (communication + engagement)
Lunch is one of the most eagerly anticipated stages during the workday, and not just because people are hungry. It’s a much-needed break that everyone is looking forward to. It’s also an outstanding team building opportunity.
Start by developing a few interesting activities that the whole team could easily participate in, and let everyone know that for the next lunch break you have a surprise. Remember that simply taking everyone to eat is not enough – people can be shy, reluctant or unwilling to commence a conversation. They need that initial push.
For instance, you could try the “two truths, one lie” game, where everybody writes down three statements about themselves – two truthful and one false. After that, participants are grouped into random teams and try to figure out the lie from the members on the opposing team, based on what they know about each person. Keep in mind that only the organizer, who doesn’t participate in the actual event, knows all the right and wrong answers.
4. Office Makeover (engagement + creativity)
Office work may get dull and boring from time to time, which slows down productivity enormously. Organizing an office makeover (even if it doesn’t need one really) is an easy, efficient and cost-effective way to bring the team together, and let them make changes to their hearts’ desire.
Obviously, the number of possible changes will be different for each office based on a lot of factors, but generally, even small alterations are effective. Simply adding flowers, some kind of wall art, or colorful couch pillows can be enough. In the end, it’s not about the makeover itself, but having fun while at it.
5. Take Your Team Outdoors (engagement)
When the weather outside looks wonderful, it’s always a shame to miss out. A good way to get the best of both worlds is to take your team outside during working hours for any work activity that doesn’t require them to be at their computers (meetings, discussions, brainstorming sessions, etc.)
Being out in the sun (or even snow) will instantly lighten up the mood. Even though you’re all still working, it won’t seem the same due to a very pleasant change of environment.
6. Develop individual recognition tools (motivation)
If there is one thing that can motivate a person to push their own limits, it’s a competition involving a prize. Recognizing feats and rewarding team members for their efforts is a great way to motivate your employees to do their absolute best.
There are a number of approaches you could take, but the one we like is the surprise approach. Develop milestones of similar difficulty for your team members based on their job specifics and prepare rewards without telling anyone.
During a meeting, mention that you have a surprise for the top performer of the coming month. The idea is that once somebody receives a prize, others will get hooked in on the competition, and not knowing what the reward is going to be will add some extra fire.
7. Make games a part of work (communication + engagement + problem solving)
Let’s be real. You won’t always get the chance to go outside, have lunch together, or host competitions to motivate and engage your team. This is where games are especially handy. To help you get the idea, here is a list of great indoor team building games you can choose from.
All of these require very little time and resources, yet allow everyone to take a break and have some fun while improving communication, engagement, and problem-solving skills of all participants.
These guidelines can help you kick-start your team building efforts, but remember that they are only limited by your (and your team’s) imagination. There is no right or wrong team building activity as long as it boosts one of the healthy team aspects mentioned above. Don’t be afraid to adjust any of these 7 resources to better suit your needs, and always take into account any appropriate suggestions from your team – after all, they are your most valuable asset.
Work should never be associated with boredom and just something you have to do every day. On the contrary, since it’s already such a big part of our lives, why not turn it into an enjoyable experience?!