Team-building events are opportunities to increase team cohesion and optimize team performance. In this post, we will share some tips and tricks that will help turn your next team-building occasion into an all-time hit!
Tip 1: Embrace downtime
Downtime is the best times to get out of the office and rejuvenate your team’s mind and spirit with some good old team-building experiences. These times usually appear on our calendars right before or after a weekend or a big project. We’ve seen teams kicking off new projects with an offsite as well as teams celebrating with one afterward.
Trick 1: It’s OK to take a break
Burnouts are common in Silicon Valley and we are seeing more and more teams who visit us during stressful times to regroup and take a breather. We’ve hosted teams during funding rounds, in the middle of new product launches, and before an IPO! Turns out creativity and collaborative activities are great ways for teams to decompress and re-align themselves for the challenges at work.
Tip 2: Get out of the office
It sounds obvious, but leaving the office is a big part of teambuilding. Often times the temptation is to host the team building event at work to cut down on cost or simplify logistics. That is missing the point, don’t skimp on this part. Being in a different environment is not just exciting, it provides employees with valuable means to 1) examine the team dynamic outside of the daily context and 2) think critically about the challenges they face at work.
Trick 2: Give it some edge
In our brains, learning and happiness are closely related. “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Mihaly Csikszentmihaly – Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. Challenge the team in unexpected ways and watch them come together in amazement.
Tip 3: Celebrate Achievements
When someone in the team has crushed something or if the team has reached a new milestone, it is always good to recognize these achievements—whether they are big or small. Recognition and appreciation can be given in elaborate or simple ways. Team-building events are a good avenue to share and reward these triumphs as most of the activities further amplifies the team momentum.
Trick 3: Quirky surprises and giveaways
The more uncommon the gift, the better. You can create different checkpoints for the team to uncover quirky surprises throughout the day. Giant foam fingers at the game, costumes at the bar, polaroid cameras on the bus, walkie-talkies at the park, the possibilities are endless. The best part is you can crowdsource this from team members so they can get creative in the process also!
Tip 4: Play is key
In the book entitled, Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul, Dr. Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan, explores the concept of play and how it enriches our lives. Taking on an escape room team challenge like preventing a reactor meltdown or disarming an alien spacecraft is a great example of a collective win-loss scenario that boosts team cohesion. If your goal is to foster a more competitive culture, a series of individual win-loss scenarios is best. There are many great options in San Francisco, like go-kart, archery, put-put, and ax-throwing!
Trick 4: Think big
Team building events need to be fun, safe, and accessible but they don’t have to be mundane. If you have the opportunity to do something epic, like take your team to space, scale a mountain, or go on an expedition, just go and don’t look back. There is nothing that forges stronger bonds than sharing a life-changing adventure together.
Tip 5: Relate it back to work
Whether you are planning an event for interns, managers, or execs, teambuilding events are a great venue for teams to identify their strengths and weakness and relate them back to work. A simple retrospective often does the trick, while some companies have more formalized benchmarks. Seeing Amazon team’s 12 leadership principles IRL or IDEO team’s design thinking in action really shows us what amazing teamwork can accomplish.
Trick 5: Give it a cultural theme
Bringing cultural themes into your team building event is an easy way to actualize your transformation initiatives. It creates the perfect venue for team members to experiment with work-related principals in a casual environment. For example, we recently hosted a team whose cultural theme was accountability. It was amazing to see team members finding creative ways to help themselves and others be accountable throughout their visit.
If you are looking for more ideas to plan the ideal event, please drop us a note! You can also take a look at Team Building Package, which includes our future tech escape rooms in SF, event space for food and drinks, VR lounge, and more!