Unfortunately, some see team building days in a negative light. Managers may take the view that taking a full day out of the office is a waste of time, while employees might shy away from ‘forced fun’.
But team building days are an incredibly important investment. A company is only as good as its people and their ability to work together. Team building initiatives work to maximise a team’s potential through building trust, encouraging communication, resolving conflicts and increasing effective teamwork.
Using these initiatives to build an effective team with genuine connections will engage employees. In turn, this will improve your company culture, advance productivity, inspire creativity and ultimately boost your bottom line.
Five reasons you should value team building days
1. Improve communication
One of the main reasons many companies choose to hold team building days is to improve communication. A friendly work environment, where people feel comfortable talking to and working with people in their own team and across teams is desirable.
Teams who complete bonding exercises are more likely to ask for second opinions and put forward more creative and innovative ideas that they’d otherwise feel were too ‘out there’ to share. And teams able to communicate well are more efficient in driving innovation.
2. Networking to build bonds and friendships increases productivity
Networking and making friends at work not only boosts morale, but works wonders in increasing productivity. If colleagues can learn a little more about each other, their likes, dislikes and hobbies, they can then work together more easily to solve problems because awkwardness fades and it’s easier to play to individuals’ strengths and weaknesses when undertaking group projects.
3. Increased collaboration for more effective teamwork
With team building days designed to facilitate collaboration and teamwork, it’s likely the day will see teams face a joint task with a goal bigger than one individual could take on alone. In order to complete the task, the team must learn to work together in order to succeed. This collaboration and teamwork will then extend to the office, where they can further build on the ways in which they can work together effectively.
4. Relationships built on trust
Trust at all levels is vital for a successful business. Seeing your manager on a more relaxed level, perhaps at a corporate sports day or team bake off, breaks down barriers and puts a real person and their true personality behind the corporate title. Breaking down this barrier helps to build trust and improve transparency.
The same is true of the importance of trust within teams. There will come a time where employees will have to rely on other team members, so it’s important for people to know they can count on others to get the job done. Team building days open people’s eyes to show that team members can really support one another.
5. Instil a positive and fun team spirit that motivates
Team building initiatives play an important role in employee engagement and contribute to a company’s culture. They are a vital factor in both attracting and retaining talent. It’s becoming apparent that millennial workers in particular also look into company culture, as well as salary and benefits, before accepting a new role. Whether they will relate to the working environment and enjoy working at the company increasingly influences whether to accept a job offer or not.
Top tips to accelerate team bonding
1. Head to a new setting
Planning team building sessions in the office can be distracting with constant streams of emails and phones ringing. To reduce everyday disturbances and ensure effective team building sessions, plan these events in locations away from the office, such as in the great outdoors or against quirky backdrops.
Planning a team building day doesn’t have to be a chore. Look to fun destinations such as The Cookery School at The Grand, York, which promises corporate groups a ‘dynamic and immersive experience’.
The Cookery School offers a variety of sessions designed around group size and requirements, and there’s even the option to instil some friendly competition with ‘The Kitchen Team Challenge’ or ‘Ready, Steady, Bake’. The latter, for example, promotes creativity among pairs to see who can wow the judges with an out-of-the-box baking masterpiece.
2. Bring positivity back to the office
To ensure that the team building activity isn’t just a one-time thing that falls flat as soon as you return to the office, look at ways to keep the excitement going. You can do this by identifying and creating opportunities for people to connect in meaningful ways, on top of regular meetings that tend to follow the same format most weeks or months. Opportunities could include daily huddles that encourage short, sharp updates and idea sharing, or even monthly team lunches. Both will continue to develop the team bonding.
3. Reward success
It is important to celebrate – both during team building days and back in the office – when the team reaches a goal, no matter how small. From team high fives to biscuits to share or a simple ‘well done’ to larger financial incentives, rewarding success goes a long way in boosting team morale and effectiveness.
Showing gratitude for altruistic behaviour is also an excellent way to create a tight-knit, friendly culture. A workplace that rewards those who help one another will likely have teams working together effectively.
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