What Makes A Great Team Building Activity?

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The modern office relies on teamwork but in order for your team to succeed people need to understand and make use of each other’s skills. To that end, team building activities are very popular with offices – they offer everyone an opportunity to get out of their usual setting, try something new, and build a sense of closeness and camaraderie. This trend has created a vast marketplace of team building options, raising the question: which one is right for your team?

There are several factors you should consider when choosing a team building activity, including what kinds of skills you want to foster, what limitations your team has, and the overall attitude and culture or your workplace. Here are a few suggestions that can help you narrow down your options:

A Great Escape

One popular trend in group activities – both inside and outside the workplace – is the escape room. Escape rooms are essentially preset scenarios that require a group to work together to figure out how to get out of a secured room. Some people choose them as a thrilling leisure activity, but they also work well as a team building activity.

For professional organizations, escape rooms help reveal group dynamics by highlighting how people step into roles in unconventional situations. Some people are leaders by nature while others are mediators or especially creative thinkers. When put into the artificially tense situation of the escape room rather, natural inclinations are revealed.

What you see in the escape room setting can lead to reorganization in the workplace. For example, if one group has too many leaders and one is too passive, you might move a leader from one team to the other. This reorganization can help the whole office be more productive because teams work together best when they consist of a mix of individuals with varied skills. Team building activities reveal who possesses those talents.

Learning The Ropes

Ropes courses may be one of the most classic examples of a team building activity, but are they an appropriate option? It depends on a few factors.

First of all, while most team building activities aren’t required since they take place off the clock, they should be open to all team members. That means that you shouldn’t choose a physically demanding activity that isn’t accessible to staff members who may have disabilities, unless the activity can be easily adapted.

One team building game known as minefield, for example, involves setting up physical barriers and then having pairs lead each other through while one member is blindfolded. This type of task fosters many of the same team skills, such as trust, communication, and problem solving, that a ropes course resolves, but it’s much easier to adapt to include team members of all abilities. Remember, disabled team members already suffer from being left out in the workplace much of the time – don’t compound that with your team building activities.

Keep It Simple

Ultimately, team building doesn’t need to be complicated. Everything from a round of Pictionary to having coffee together as a group can help increase trust, help people communicate more effectively, and improve workplace morale. That means it’s okay to forego those big weekend outings or over-involved workshops. Remember: the outcome is more important than the path.