5 Team-Building Activities Your Employees Won’t Hate
Working from day to day, from year to year, with the same people can bring a harmonious homey feeling of familiarity at work, but it can also create tension.
Engaging workers in activities that at the same time relieve them of stress and bond them can be not only advisable but a must in some types of work.
Having a drink after work can cut the edge off a long working day, but experiencing something that will stay a memory connects people on a next level and instead of a mere group, creates a team.
But that doesn’t mean that work should become a friendly gathering, right?
In most situations it’s not the best idea to bring out Chutes and Ladders as a team activity… just as experience can enhance the prosperity of the team, it can impair it too.
Hence, it’s best to choose some activities that aren’t very likely to result with any kind of displeasure.
ADRENALINE RUSH AS A WAY OF FORMING A CONNECTION
As they say, when all are in the same boat, there are no wishes, fights, or even personalities or names, just one goal that everyone shares, and that, therefore, connects them outside of any other circumstances.
This pattern was found out to be very useful on the grounds of teamwork and can be turned into an amazing spectrum of group activities.
There is a number of research that proves that activities which involve increased adrenaline production in all of the participants make a kind of an invisible, but really chemical, bond between these participants.
This is why going to see a horror film in the cinema can be a good idea for a first date or why a group of strangers thrown in an unexpected dangerous situation upon the end of it is most likely to feel very close and even stay friends (this is also the reason to why there are so many movies based on this plot).
Everyone has their sphere of interests and not everyone is an extreme sports junkie, but this effect of connection through adrenaline can be achieved through various kinds of, more or less intense, activities.
From organizing one night in a month for a psychological thriller or a horror movie to going camping or even skydiving…
A lot of things can make a tremendous impact on the psychological connection of the invisible web that makes the group and fundamentally correlates with the group’s performance.
Naturally, it is hard to find an option that will appeal to everyone, but one option that includes all the aforementioned advantages and is usually very enjoyable because it’s more fun and playful than scary and strenuous is paintball.
Paintball is an embodiment of teamwork, fun, adrenaline, positive stress and, at the same time, child’s play and strategy – both individual and group strategy.
It’s a colorful battle of not bullets, but rainbows that lights up both the grownup and the childlike side in us, and when these two are in balance, we are at ease, as happy and as ready to work as ever.
Using adrenaline boost as a group activity can also have a downside of bringing out the animalistic side of our behavior to surface which can lead to problems in coworker’s liaisons and the counter-effect of the whole idea.
Therefore, it is not advisable to choose these types of occupations as regular ones, except, of course, if they turn out to be a suitable way of group bonding and summing up everything that the group needs from a shared activity with colleagues that, on them, doesn’t leave the same effect as work, but veraciously affects work afterwards.
The core question to this topic still remains:
Why is it fun to be frightened? Answers circulate between the strengthening that comes after fear, the simple collective sharing of one same feeling regardless of anything else at that moment.
For example, imagine having a huge fight with a friend in a forest and all of a sudden seeing a bear – the past moment will automatically disappear and the only thing left will be to save your own lives.
Of course, some irrevocable laws that our nature as humans consists of are also a big part of us experiencing fear as somewhat pleasant.
The answer isn’t simple and that’s the reason why, for better understanding of this matter, there is more research on it than an article can cover.
ART AS A CREATIVE OUTFLOW AND A CIRCULATION OF IDEAS
There are types of work where creative stimulation can actually lead to a downfall of overall performance if the work itself does not involve any creative thinking and has only focus and mere manufacturing as its main requirement.
In this situation, developing creativity in workers can end with them gazing or dazing off, or even growing to find the job unbearable and quitting.
But in any type of work that has to do with creative expression, including a painting class as an off-work activity can be a good idea.
Depending on the type and style of work, attuning the creative form with the type of work is a multi-productive solution.
For instance, if the work has anything to with writing, even communicating through written forms with associates, a class of creative writing, or a book club can provide pleasure as well as performance improvement.
Again, it would be ideal to find something that correlates with everyone, or at least most of the team, so as to even make it a tradition, which gives the employees and the whole atmosphere at work another, we could say, familiar color that transforms work from obligation to enjoyment and even mere completing tasks to an utter devotion.
The afore-mentioned possible activity from the first paragraph, camping, can be combined with creative energy, the ones who are fond of music can share their passion with others by playing the guitar, others can tell a campfire story or draw postcards.
There shouldn’t be a pressure of having to do something, but the best way is to bring this activism culture to work as a natural, but an optional thing.
The good side of creative work is that there are hardly any downsides to it or negative outcomes.
If a couple of people embrace the idea and engage in some kind of creative work, and especially when they share this energy with others, the rest will most likely just follow and the flow of happiness and bliss created through creativity will overlay the future of collective work for the participants.
Another interesting way of direct and psychological bonding of people who work together is to collectively decorate the working space.
This can lead to some conflicts so a clever way to use this is to leave it for the time when people in the team connect.
People usually take some time to learn to accept each other, and grow to even like each other; at this point organizing a collective makeover of workspace makes for an exciting experience, both a big prize for the team’s performance and a chance to get even closer together.
All these solutions have described end results that point the picture of work-life something almost… like a family.
But, thinking about it, the biggest and the most successful companies and organizations in the world function like that.
Too many people are in the same place and somehow they should almost function like an organism to work the best they can, or in other words, to make the company work the best it can.
This can’t be achieved without a lot of stress, energy, sweat, and toleration invested.
That is why it is so important for these kinds of organizations to have a pool, a gym, a pool table and other solutions that most people see as a waste of money, but without these activities, it is sure that the people there wouldn’t be able to perform on such a high level.
Of course, it is perfectly expected for workers to have alone time and that it is better for them not to one with a colleague and their work life, but developing enjoyable activities on a level of the group and delivering them at least monthly, or sometimes even yearly, can, without doubt, mean a huge success.
The important undeniable fact here is that free creative flow of ideas and productivity in any form improves quality and style of work, and makes people better and feel better which again, itself, improves performance.
This can be, depending on the sphere of interests, from playing video games to becoming a part of a local art studio or a workshop. Even cooking together.
PUZZLES AND THE CASE OF COLLECTIVE SOLVING
Again, being trapped in a situation with one goal for all the participants unites them in a quest of resolving the problem of any kind that has to matter to the group in some way, of course.
One of probably the easiest and most interesting ways of doing this is through puzzles or any kind of games that involve collective solving.
Two heads think better than one, they say.
Well, imagine if 10 or more heads brainstormed their way through the revenue build up in your company.
How can you engage them in such an activity?
Simulate it with games.
Even if it doesn’t develop intelligence, it can help keep the mind in shape and we all know how much that matters for any kind of business really.
Whether it’s a puzzle game, an elementary maze thing or a more modern version of it such as escape rooms are, games can have a positive impact on the teamwork in your company.
It’s not just that they enhance your employees’ cognitive capacities, but they also give a good opportunity for the employees to get to know each other.
It’s not just the character of the person, but the temperament as well that matters when cooperating.
If you know how they react in different situations, it will be that much easier for you to plan your strategy in both business and gaming.
You will know when you can rely on your colleagues and when will your time to take the lead be.
We all have different talents and we shine in different opportunities so it’s best to know both the advantages and disadvantages or, in other words, both the virtues and flaws of your colleagues so that you may find the best way to account for them and prepare your tactics to produce the optimal result of your collective engagement.
Games in themselves are simply simulations of existential experience and through those simulations, we bond and we learn.
We learn about ourselves as well as about the afore-mentioned existential experience which a fancy way of saying we learn about life.
So it’s not just working experience that matters, but a team-building and gaming experience as well.
Maybe they should put that in CVs, huh?
CO-OP VIDEO GAMES
Although competition is a good way to spark the spirits, it can also create tension between your colleagues, so it may we wise to focus on cooperation rather than competition.
If your employees are too eager to compete, you can always set them up against the other departments or even other company’s employees.
That way you create an interesting flux between businesses which can have a positive impact on… everything?
There’s a bunch of video games these days designed to teach the players the subtle art of working together to achieve a goal. Instead of setting the players one against the other, these games pose a logical problem that players should work together to overcome.
If there is such a thing as a personified enemy instead of a problem, the cooperation games usually antagonize the AI which is a good way to focus the more aggressive and negative discharges of your employees’ energy.
In this shooting game, you get a chance to release that negativity discharge in the midst of the zombie apocalypse where you and your small team of 4 must survive the hordes of zombies and work together to find your way through an apocalypse-desolated world.
It not only gives a chance to use all that rage your employees may have suppressed over the course of time, but it also gives them that adrenaline rush that we’ve already established is important for social bonding.
The game is downright scary and it’s often that your colleagues will have to literally save you from being pinned down by a zombie or such.
Needless to say, that will develop some gratitude between your colleagues.
The fact that it’s just a game doesn’t matter much because once the emotion is created, even if it’s simulated, it persists.
Use your Xboxes, Playstations, PCs, and whatnot wisely then. Either take your team gaming every once in a while or purchase a couple of game consoles for your workplace.
It’s a big trend for the leading companies to have game and recreation rooms for their workers to relax. It’s a smart thing too, I mean, we’re not in the 18th-century industrialization surge anymore. Just sitting for 8 hours and staring at your screen is downright dull and stupid so consider upgrading.
If your company doesn’t yet have the means to provide a recreation room or a few consoles, don’t despair. Keep reading.
GROUP SPORTS – CONSTRUCTIVE OUTFLOW OF ENERGY
An old time’s golden way of spending time together – sports.
Much like all the previous team-building activities, sports engage you fully, both mentally and physically.
It may be the best team-building activity yet as it engages you in logical and problem-solving thinking, but it also develops cooperation, teamwork, lateral thinking. It gives you that adrenaline rush for sure.
To top the afore-mentioned activities, sports keep your body in a fine-tune which helps release the “happy hormone/neurotransmitter” – dopamine.
That’s why we can freely say that sports may be the most complete and one of the oldest team-building activities ever.
A good old game of basketball, soccer or volleyball (especially if it’s on the beach) can have an amazing effect and give your colleagues a chance to get to know each other outside of the office.
If your colleagues are into something more extreme, you can go on a group sky diving.
To spice things up, instead of just playing in the confines of your company’s team, you can apply to tournaments and bid your team against other teams.
That way, as has been discussed, you reap the fruits of both cooperation and competition urges that we all have buried deep in our primal legacy.
Just be careful to articulate the energy flow towards positivity as sometimes sports can get our infantile sides to rampage all over.
Losers may be sore and such so it’s best to keep things fun and control how competitive your employees are. Teach them the importance of playing, not just the importance of winning.
Although you would probably never think it, individual sports like skiing, windsurfing, tennis, ice skating or cycling can be team-building activities as well.
Unlike team sports, individual sports will give the employees their much-needed self-space, but they will also allow them to engage in activities together and root for each other which teaches them to support each other in the office too.
Individual lessons of sports are an immeasurable experience for every single one of us.
By facing the obstacles and the need to expand our own boundaries in order to overcome them, we grow and as we grow, we inspire others to do so as well, so in essence, almost everything can be a team-building activity when you think of it that way.
As far as sports are concerned, not all of us are experienced in all kinds of sports so at least one of your employees is bound to try something new and learn something new every time you switch between sports.
That way you ensure for all to have memorable experiences which will result in emotional bonding with those who shared that experience with him or her.
From this spectrum overall, activities can and will always change regarding the change of time and space and circumstances.
Establishing a kind of tradition or a style of teaming and working can be set and used as a help and as a way of functioning as a firm, as a one, unified, collective working consciousness.
But also, we spend a big part of our lives working so making this collective part of our days a pleasant experience is not just a favor to the boss or the creative path to personal bigger success, but a contribution to our general wellbeing.
Enthusiasm, excitement, emotion, and honest motivation are contagious and if they are present and enforced by the leader of the team, they won’t let down the rest of the team, and this is really the only and the best recipe that applies to any and every kind of activities.
That’s why, whether you’re a boss, a manager, or an employee at the junior position, you should always value team – building activities proposed by your colleagues and never miss out.
Even if you’re just eager to produce revenue and you don’t much care about anything else, you should consider engaging in teamwork and the best way to stay in tune with your team is through team-building.
There’s a reason it’s so popular these days and that the leading companies and managers insist on team-building.
Other than management reasons, you must admit, it’s simply fun to do it, so why would you think about it so much. Just relax and enjoy the ride.