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How to get the most from team building days

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Matt Darvill Work Life, Work Life Balance, Work...

Do you often find that team building exercises are generally poorly received by staff members? Is the mere idea of a team building exercise met with excuses to be out and grumbles in the office? Well you’re not alone, but fortunately there are lots of things you can do to improve the response and reaction to an activity day.

Investigate

In advance of the day, prepare a questionnaire to ask your employees where they feel strongest and where they feel could do with some assistance. The intention of the day is to help to build a happier team, and you should communicate this to your teams to avoid any rumours.

Schedule the activity during work hours

There will be far more resistance if the activity is scheduled outside of work hours, particularly if it is a mandatory event. So if you can, timetable this during the workday, if it has to be at breakfast or lunch, provide food! Ensure that you carefully check pre-booked holiday dates as well, the last thing you want is a carefully planned event that half the office are missing for!

Make it accessible for everyone

Keep in mind that some staff members will relish a physical challenge such as orienteering or a sports day. However, this won’t be suitable for everyone, so be especially vigilant to include everyone and factor in health sensitivities. If everyone is able, then sports-based events can be a great way to instigate the teamwork and communication benefits that you’re looking for. Puzzles, mental challenges or even an escape room can also have the same effect without being quite so physically taxing.

Go Offsite

By leaving the confines of the office, you will help to get a better reaction from the team taking part. Even if a boardroom would be suitable, people may still be thinking about work due to the familiarity of their surroundings. Going offsite will create the impression that this is not just ‘regular’ work. Taking people away from colleagues and their emails can also prevent interruptions, and ensure that everyone is fully engaged for the duration.

Ensure management support

Not only is it essential that the topics and targets are agreed by everyone taking part; but it’s integral that the management and supervisors also follow up with staff on what they require. They also need to ensure that what is gained from the session continues to be implemented going forward. With everyone pulling in the same direction and ensuring that it wasn’t just a short-term idea, there can be ongoing, long-lasting benefits from a simple session.

Have fun and do it again!

Those taking part will be more engrossed if the session is fun for all. If you’re using an external trainer or facilitator, design the session with them to get the most out of it. The most important thing you can do is to run these type of events consistently. The regularity will not only ensure that the desired impact is achieved; it will also demonstrate a commitment to engagement and improving your corporate culture; a huge factor for many when looking at what employers can offer.