Teamwork is crucial to almost every business and events, activities and outings which help boost teamwork are big business and very popular.
So what is team building.
Team building is a job design philosophy where the individual employees are instead viewed as part of a structured team and the building of these team is accomplished through various activities, training and events.
So what are the main team building activities and how do they help build better teamwork. We can break the different activities into a few key categories, these include outdoor activities, indoor activities and work based.
Outdoor team building activities tend to revolve around some energetic exercise based activity and are very fun focuses. The idea is to get the team relaxed and having a good time and breakdown the barriers so the team are more comfortable co-operating. So examples of outdoor team building activities are.
- Raft Building
Raft building is a challenge often done competitively with another team where by each group is given a pile of materials and has to race to build a raft and get across a river of lake. This activity focuses on teamwork under pressure and the fast paced action often makes people forget about who’s idea something was and just focus on if it is a good or bad idea. This can be useful in teams where peoples views are often ignored because of their ranking or role in the team. In the raft building everyone is equal and hopefully the team brings that away with them after.
- Go carting
Go carting is often used for team building events even though it does not involve much teamwork at all but it does perform a useful role and that is of bringing people together over a shared experience and a bit of rivalry. Teams often talk about the experience years later and it works really well as a bonding activity.
Soccer can be a one off buts works best as a regular teamwork event, maybe the company can join a 5 a side over full 11man team for weekly matches. This both improves teamwork in the members involved but also boosts moral and bonding for the rest of the company and works as a good icebreaker the day after a match. Just don’t force anyone into it, this one really only work for people who are up for it.
Paint-ball is similar to go carting except it involves a great deal of teamwork too and is by far my favourite of the outdoor team building activities and I believe the most effective too.
Indoor team building activities tend to focus more on building communication understanding and trust. The idea is to let people really find out about the colleagues and build a bond between the team. Teams often dread the idea of doing any activities like these but after they have done them they usually feel they were worth it and maybe even quite enjoyed them. Here are some of the popular indoor events.
- The Apprentice
This one is quite new but gaining a lot of popularity among business. The idea is the same as the show, 2 teams set and challenge and set them loose. If done right this gives team members an opportunity to show off their skills and knowledge in something not directly related to their job and show the team that the people they work with are not as one dimensional as work can make them seem.
- Bake Off
Another team challenge where teams compete to make the most and tastiest cakes and treats. This works best on teams that don’t work in the food industry so any team hierarchy becomes out of place and people can work together on an equal footing.
- Who Done It
This one is a classic, trying to work out who the killer is people are forced into communication with everyone on the team and the fun factor and the mystery help build strong team bonds.
- Building Challenges
This is similar to the raft challenge but on a smaller indoor scale, often using straws, small pieces of wood or mechano the teams compete to build structures. These structure must either perform some role or task such as a bridge or just be the tallest without falling over.
Work Based Team Building Activities
The work based activities are usually on a smaller scale to the indoor and outdoor activities and typically only take a few hours of the working day. These can be done more regularly and work well in topping up the team building effect from one of the larger activities. Work based activities are so varied I could not really give any good examples as it is often done to the corporate culture of the business and you will find each business has its own take on team building activities. Some of these can be very effective while others can have a negative effect on the team and this comes down to the knowledge and experience of whoever is planning these activities.