thumbTeam building activities can be an intricate part of the corporate workplace. In order to increase productivity and morale, members must feel connected to their colleagues on a deeper level, not just because they work under the same roof or get paid by the same company. There are many organizations which specialize in team-building programs and management training to improve productivity in the workplace.

Team building techniques can and should be a continuous part of your organization. If these activities occur sporadically, without regular frequency, their effectiveness is diminished. If you think of your company and its employees as a machine, regular maintenance is a must in order to achieve maximum performance. Team building can provide that maintenance and become part of the work atmosphere that employees and team members look forward to. There are many different types of team building activities, ranging in cost and lasting from minutes to days. The activity you choose will depend upon the goals you would like to achieve within your organization.

What’s the Point?

Have a specific goal in mind; decide your purpose ahead of time. Having a common understanding of the goal to be achieved will help your team reach that goal. Some popular team-building goals include:

  • Getting to know one another (including introducing a new employee, manager or leader)
  • Improving problem-solving and communication skills
  • Learning to work as a group
  • Fostering creativity skills
  • Addressing weaknesses
  • Resolving conflict
  • Adjusting to change
  • Boosting morale

On Site Ideas

Some ideas for activities within the workplace can include:

  • A scavenger hunt through the office
  • Trivia games
  • Survival scenarios (i.e. divide into groups and tell each group that they are stranded on a desert island. Each group must decide what 12 items they can have with them to survive.)

Off Site Ideas

If you’re looking for something to get everybody out of the office to interact together, try activities such as:

  • Go-cart racing
  • Paintball competitions
  • A family barbecue at a park
  • A community service project
  • River rafting expeditions

What Works?

In order for a team-building activity to be effective, it must engage the members of the team, requiring them to think about their abilities and the abilities of their co-workers in new ways. Generally, a productive activity:

  • Engages members in something they are unfamiliar with. This teaches people to rely on each other and develop trust in the members of the team.
  • Opens the doors of communication between members. By talking through a problem or a fictional scenario, teams learn how to effectively communicate their ideas.
  • Develops a sense of belonging. Employees tend to be more productive if they feel they are a valuable part of the group. Each person has something to contribute to the larger whole; a good activity will help pinpoint what that something is.
  • Promotes the sharing of different points of view. By encouraging varied viewpoints, team building can allow people to consider solution to problems they never thought of before.

What Doesn’t Work?

Avoid competition based activities, as groups can feel pitted one against another. This can hinder bonding for the entire group. The ultimate goal is to give members a sense that they are “on the same team,” so creating a rivalry can prevent that from happening.

Be mindful of those you pair up in particular activities. Being forced to communicate with and trust each other can be a positive thing, but it may end up aggravating conflict that already exists between two people or groups. This problem could be lessened by time if you have regular team building exercises that consistently enforce team bonding.

Remember What’s Important

As you conduct team building activities, keep your original goals in mind. Are these events achieving your goals? Are they addressing weaknesses within your company or organization? If not, modify the activities to create a custom fit for your company and its team.

About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching effective leadership skills.