Some companies are so focused on making the most out of company time and encouraging employees to work as much as possible throughout the day that they miss out on providing their staff with valuable team-building time.
By VANESSA ADAMS
To some, it may seem counterproductive to use company time on activities other than work responsibilities. However, in many ways, these types of experiences can improve the overall morale of the office. The happier employees are in their positions, the more likely they are to stay at their job and care about making the company better. Common team-building activities include everything from completing a diamond painting craft to taking a trip outside of the office. Here are some ideas on how you can use team-building activities to motivate your own employees.
Ice Breaker Activities
Any time a new person is hired at a company, it’s important to make them feel comfortable and valuable, which is why some companies have a welcome committee to show new employees around the office and make introductions between the latest hire and the rest of the company. Ice breaker activities are a common way to help the team become acquainted with their colleagues and show everyone’s personality. If you have a weekly meeting, try implementing ice breaker activities into this meeting any time a new person has joined one of your departments.
Two truths and a lie is a popular ice breaker activity that asks each person to state two facts about themselves and one lie while the rest of the players try to guess which statement is the lie. If you have a large company, this game may take a little while, so you can opt for something quicker like asking each team member to name a favorite music album or go-to dinner meal.
Plan a day (maybe once a month) to specifically dedicate company time to team-building during which you can test out one of these problem-solving activities to help your employees learn how to collaborate and solve a common problem. Even if the imaginary scenario that they are presented isn’t related to your industry, it is beneficial to fine-tune people’s critical thinking skills and is a fun way to get to know other employees.
Shipwrecked is a great problem-solving scenario that will encourage your staff to use their quick thinking and ability to work with others to find survival gear in an imaginary shipwrecked scenario. To set up the activity, print out photos of common survival gear such as food, water, fire, and shelter items. Break the office into teams, scatter the necessities around the room and allow everyone 20 to 30 minutes to acquire all of the things they need. Be sure to print a limited number of the items so that teams will have to work together to negotiate for items they believe to be essential. Once the time is up, each side should rank their items in order of necessity and explain their rationale to the group.
Arts and Crafts
Although some people tend to think of arts and crafts projects as strictly for children, adults can benefit greatly from participating in these activities. In the workplace, arts and crafts are the perfect activity to allow your employees to work on during a break. Taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually increase your motivation by shifting your brain’s focus to a new task that requires full attention. When you return to your work, you’ll feel an increased sense of productivity and motivation. Diamond painting projects are just one of the many types of arts and crafts that your employees can work on during short 20-minute breaks during the day to help reduce stress and anxiety while boosting their ambition. Using art as a team-building activity can also increase creativity, which can spill over into solving work-related problems.
The more comfortable people feel with their co-workers, the more likely they are to be happy in their jobs and be willing to collaborate with others. Although in-office team-building activities have plenty of benefits, after-work happy hours or hangouts can create a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing people to relax and get to know each other better. Plan a monthly happy hour during which employees can get a few drinks or simply munch on appetizers and get to know each other outside the office. Company culture is greatly impacted by the way employers treat their employees and how comfortable that staff feels in their work environment. Actively try to deepen the connections between your employees to raise morale and create a more cohesive team.
If you haven’t tried an escape room, it’s a must-do activity, particularly for anyone trying to build more reliable team connections. Plan a half workday and bring your employees to an escape room where they’ll be broken into teams who have one hour to figure out all of the clues located in a room that they are “locked” in (don’t worry, they’re not legally allowed to actually lock the doors, so you can get out any time!). This requires an immense amount of clever thinking, strategic planning and team collaboration. Plus, the rooms have all kinds of fun trick doors and interesting objects with hidden riddles. Your employees will have so much fun trying to get out of the room, and they’ll be able to experience a real-life collaboration scenario with co-workers. You can even try to create teams with people from all different departments to create new connections between employees who may not often work together.
Encouraging your employees to spend time getting to know each other and working together is beneficial to them as individuals and to the company as a whole. Be sure to use ice breakers and welcome committees to make new employees feel welcome. Then, try implementing regular team-building days when employees can work on diamond paintings together or spend part of the day putting their minds to the test and trying to release themselves from an escape room. As your team gets to know each other better, you’ll notice a shift in productivity and overall job satisfaction.