How to plan a team building event that doesn’t feel like team building.
Don’t team build on an empty stomach.
Avoid bringing leftover chips and cookies from the last office party. Impress your coworkers with your snack choices! Select something new for everyone to try, and make sure to include items that non-drinkers or those with food allergies can enjoy as well.
Don’t forget to bring pre-chilled beverages to any BYOB venue. Your guests won't want a warm beer and, unfortunately, no refrigerator or bucket of ice will cool your drinks down immediately.
The right Kind of Activity.
Say goodbye to trust falls and human knots. Give your team the chance to have some genuine fun, and trust that the team building can happen organically.
Send around a poll to vote for people’s favorite options. Speak with another team in the office to get recommendations on what has worked well in the past for them. Don’t be afraid to try something new or out of the box - experiencing something for the first time as a group is a great way to connect naturally and create shared stories that will have people in the office buzzing for months.
Remember that personality test you took on the first day of the job? Carefully consider the various personalities in your group and find something that can truly engage everyone in the room. Even if the group performs the same job function don’t assume they all thrive in the same environment outside of work.
Get Out of the Office!
It’s hard to let go of thinking about emails when your computer is 20 feet away from you! Branch out of your space and take your group somewhere outside of your typical routine.
Consider setting up an Out of Office email auto-response to let clients or colleagues know you’ll be unavailable for a short period of time. Think of it as a mini-vacation and do your best to let your mind escape work responsibilities for a while.
Keep it Competitive.
Friendly competition strengthens bonds by getting teams to work together towards one goal. Competition is also the best motivation for guests to stay engaged and participate in the activity the whole time you’re out.
Game Night Out’s unique mix of friendly/approachable, yet competitive gameplay highlights each individual's strengths and provides everyone a chance to contribute and have fun. It’s Anyone’s Game.
Time it Right.
Make sure you plan your event for the right day of the week, time of day, and for the right duration.
Events after a hard day at work can be rewarding, but time it right so people don’t feel rushed and arrive stressed out. Leave enough time to travel to the intended location and give them plenty of time to settle in and get out of work-mode.
Also, be conscious of people's time and other commitments. Be respectful of commuters, parents, and travelers. What time do people need to leave to catch the train, beat traffic, or get to sleep before an early morning flight?
Consider a mid-day event as an alternative to a happy hour or after-work outing, so that it doesn’t take away from your staff’s personal time after work.
Get to know each other.
Don't overthink it or try to force the connections. Simple shared experiences are always best at creating memories and forming relationships that don’t have to do with work!
Find out what your coworkers are like outside of the confines of a cubicle by keeping your activity as organic as possible. Even though many team-building events allow people to interact on a surface level, some activities are better than others at providing your group with stories they can reminisce about for weeks.
Who’s in the group?
There’s a sweet spot between too few and too many people to attend a work outing.
Hoping to unwind outside of the office after a hard busy season? Consider keeping it to your immediate team.
Hoping to expand communication across teams? Consider involving multiple divisions of people who don’t typically interact in-office. Plan ahead to find unique ways of avoiding cliques developing at your event, otherwise, a large group event can unintentionally transform into multiple small group events. The right choice of activity can make all the difference.
Try your best to flatten the company hierarchy while you're out with your team. Defer decisions to be made by team members rather than the boss. Give the team a chance to interact with their managers as equals.