Published on Mar 29, 2018
On the surface your employees may seem to get on with each other but it is in your best interest to ensure that they truly bond. Once they do, they will find it easier to work together – which will help them grow in their role and, ultimately, be incredibly beneficial for the business as you reap the rewards from a motivated and productive workforce.
It may be that your employees are so busy they barely get the opportunity to talk to those they sit with, let alone members of the team on the opposite side of the office, or a different floor. But, this doesn’t mean they won’t need to work closely together – they may even have done so on a regular basis but just over email or the phone rather than face-to-face.
This is why you need to come up with some team bonding ideas which will enable them to step away from their desks, to a more relaxed environment where they can talk about something other than work and get to know each other a bit better.
As well as become closer and perhaps even forming friendships that will take them beyond small talk in the staff kitchen, team bonding will help to boost morale and happiness.
As they become more comfortable with each other, their productivity will increase and they will feel more motivated to jet the job done. If they’re happy at work, they’re also less likely to be looking for jobs elsewhere.
Getting on ‘as people’ will strengthen their relationship as colleagues.
Companies are recognising the importance of team bonding and as a result are now spending an average of £305 on activities per employee.
The issue, historically, with team building is that some employees have seen it as ‘forced fun’ where they are placed in a team alongside people they perhaps don’t feel comfortable with, taking part in an activity they would not do out of choice and having to make small talk at the same time.
However, traditional team building activities such as assault courses are now being replaced with more creative days out such as cooking and baking.
These activities take employees away from just sitting around in a stuffy meeting room playing icebreaker games and allows them to do something that they will actually be excited to participate in. So it is vital that you think of fun team bonding ideas – events that they will want to tell their friends and family about. It’s good PR for you as an employer too.
It is also important, when choosing team building activities, to take into account the various ages and backgrounds of your employees – you don’t want to alienate anyone or you will achieve the very opposite of what you set out to do.
You can always ask for advice – give your employees the opportunity to make suggestions or options to choose between so they can have some input.
Make some changes to the working environment – this might be very dependent on the company that you run but the working environment can make all the difference to how well your team bond with each other. A more relaxed, open plan environment – that has space for people to meet both while working and socially – will help break down barriers between your employees. Likewise, you might want to consider investing in a football or snooker table, for example, so employees can have a screen break while enjoy some bonding time. This is also great for occasional competitions/tournaments to get the whole office involved.
Encourage your employees to socialise regularly – opportunities for the team to bond need to be ongoing – people move on and new starters join all the time and you need to ensure that they get the same opportunity to create friendships with their colleagues. Likewise, your employees might not be able to attend all of the events you put on but they will hopefully be able to join in with some. This might be a trip to the local pub on a Friday after work – or even drinks in the office before you all head home. Of course, there are also ways to socialise at work, so you might want to consider organising some lunchtime activities.
Organise a team building day – a few times a year, perhaps for a seasonal party, organise a dedicated team building day. A day away from the stress of the office where staff can relax in a fun environment. This will also be an opportunity to pick up skills that they can take back to the office – such as teamwork, responsibility, communication and leadership.
Here are a few of team bonding activity ideas that we offer, to give you some inspiration:
Haka Tribal Dance: after watching a Maori expert do the haka, guests will learn the historical significance and background of it while experiencing the tribal chanting and rhythmic movement patterns as they learn to do it themselves.
What’s Cooking: your employees are transformed into chefs as they learn core skills from experienced chefs before creating their own culinary masterpiece with mystery ingredients.
Urban circus: your team will learn circus skills from street performers – such as juggling, stilt walking and low wire walking – before bringing it all together for a final show.
TV commercial: you will write, direct, film and star in your own TV commercial using gimmicks, slogans – with costumes and props. Use the opportunity to promote the company, product or service.
Now you understand the importance of team bonding to strengthen employee relationships it is time to make a few changes. Begin in the office, where you could start by purchasing a football table or breaking down the literal barriers that stand between employees, then move onto the diary and add in a few social events throughout the year such as drinks at the pub or a bake off in the office. Finally, it is time to organise that team building day – coordinate it with the summer party and ensure it is something that your employees won’t want to miss.