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‘Team building’ has become something of a buzzword in the corporate industry. Just the simple phrase sends groans around the office, with everyone suddenly deciding they need to go on a tea break.
Here are some ideas for innovative corporate team building that are sure to have your colleagues engaged without having them execute living clichés.
Have that tea break
Surprisingly enough, if you want to create a strong team, one of the best things you can do is enable exactly what people want to do: have a rest and a chat. There’s possibly no better way to go about this than to have a tea and coffee break. A break on company time shows your employees that you care about them and that their wellbeing is important to you. Socials outside of work, while normally well-intentioned, can often lead to accidentally resentment as people don’t want to feel pressured into work commitments outside of paid hours. A tea break is low cost, it’s effortlessly natural, and, most importantly, it’s social. There’s no better way for your employees to get to know one another on their own terms and in their own time.
Personalise your approach
One of the most important things you can do when creating a good team dynamic is personalising your approach to your team. Nowhere will this come across more than in your team building activities. You want to tailor your activities to those which are natural to you, your area, and your employees. For example, if you are a company based in Scotland considering team building activities, you might want to consider events that incorporate part of the local culture.
If you’ve got a particularly young group, you might all be interested in going to the pub or participating in an adventure activity. If you’ve got an older group, however, you might want to try something like going out for a meal. All of these are stereotypes, of course, but the point is that the type of group you have will help you decide what kind of activity you want to perform. A personalised approach is far better than a one-size-fits-all activity which won’t do the job properly for the people you’re directing.
Treat them like adults
Why don’t people like team building activities? Above all, because they’ve become cliché and forced. Providing a natural environment will go a long way to making your technique work, but it’s also important to avoid rote activities which have been done a million times before. Not only are these unimaginative, but they’re repetitive, and if they’re used only to demonstrate a single point (the importance of working together, for example) your employees can quickly lave feeling patronised.
Similarly, nobody likes feeling forced into an activity. Adults, in particular, will not like to be made to do an activity they don’t want to do, particularly if they cannot see an obvious point to it. In a high-pressured work environment, time away from the desk can quickly feel useless. Although you should encourage your employees to take sensible breaks as and when they need them, forcing them to take time out when they don’t want to is never the answer – and taking them out to perform an activity you say is best for them will quickly build up feelings of resentment.
Not making your employees do seemingly pointless activities in order to demonstrate their eagerness to jump to your commands – as many employees feel they are implicitly made to do – will go a long way to earning their respect as their boss. Trust your employees to find their own way towards working together well as a team, air any differences in a mature, professional, and discreet environment, and you will have a unit that works as one with minimal fuss.
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