Office Team Building Exercises

There are many different kinds of office team building exercises that can be used to help improve your company’s internal communications, morale, trust, and cohesiveness. Team building exercises are undertaken in a spirit of fun, but also play an important role in strengthening your ability to function as a unit.

Team building exercises can be used occasionally, such as to augment your annual general meeting, or on a more regular basis to help maintain productivity. They can also be used as a form of crisis management, such as to help address fears during a period of change, or as a response to a need for radical restructuring in order to meet the challenge of a new competitor, for example. Team building is useful for introducing new employees, strengthening ties between existing staff, or as a fun way to bring together individuals who don’t often interact.

Having your team members work together in any endeavor that takes them out of the ordinary office realm can be an interesting exercise in communication and cooperation. To facilitate this, consultants often organize activities that use arts, sports, games, or any structured form of interacting that requires teamwork. In some cases this creates a visible, or otherwise tangible example of what you can accomplish together – such as each person playing a percussion instrument that all together creates a piece of music; linking arms to create a chain that demonstrates the importance of each individual link, and so on. In other cases, the activity requires brainstorming and the combined effort of all to solve a problem.

The dual purpose of having fun and learning together makes for a day that is relaxing and enjoyable in itself, as well as providing lasting results as you develop your skills as a team. A large amount of research has gone into the development of specialized programs, books and services that can help your company achieve its productivity goals and improve employee relations. The wide variety of creative solutions offered includes everything from cooking together, to outdoor adventures, scavenger hunts to simulations of extreme sports… Take some time to explore the possibilities and find new ways to enhance your office environment.

Browsing the websites of consultants is a good place to start to find some fun ideas you can implement yourself, or with the help of a professional. Most programs are designed for maximum flexibility and can be tailored to meet the needs of almost any group, large or small. Incorporate some creative team building into your next boardroom meeting, or be extra adventurous and arrange for some outdoor activity. The return on investment is not something to take lightly. The benefits of maintaining an enjoyable work atmosphere includes improved mental and physical health, higher productivity, and more. Find out what the right team building exercises can do for you.

Office Team Building Exercises – Waste of Time Or Valuable Tool?

I called on a client earlier this week to determine how I could help them during the balance of the year. He told me his Senior Vice President had cut all training funds and specifically those related to team events at their upcoming annual meeting. Her position was the meeting would focus on the fundamental needs and she did not intend to spend any money on “fun.”

This mindset about team building being superfluous and extravagant in this difficult financial climate is simply wrongheaded. It clearly fits the proverbial saying “tossing the baby out with the bathwater.” A study published on EducationNews.Org found the average attention span in classrooms is ten minutes. This certainly generalizes to plenary sessions at large meetings. Team building exercises do not necessarily waste time and money.

Here are three specific steps that will insure your meeting is successful and not just inexpensive.

1. Specify Goals – Decide what you want to accomplish over the course of the meeting. Make sure your goals are specific and achievable in the time allotted to the meeting. Here is the important part of this process. Share the goals with your team. We call this WIIFM? Your audience must know “What’s In It For Me?” By clarifying the goals, the audience sees the value in the meeting. The more specific the goals and the payoff for achieving them, the more the audience will be invested. The sharing of the goals should occur at the beginning of the meeting. Take and answer questions about them. It is vital that your audience understands where you intend to take them and why.

2. Deliver Material in Chunks – Avoid death by PowerPoint. Break up the session with Q&A, or discussions at each table, or problem solving challenges. Get the audience involved with the material. If they understand why the material is important (see #1) and they have an opportunity to interact on that material, they will become more involved. This “break” in lecturing or presenting should be built in every 15 to 30 minutes. We are not suggesting coffee breaks. These are working breaks. It is important that they share their findings or the result of their work with the general audience. Have wireless mics available in larger groups so everyone can hear the reports.

3. Use Activities – Get them moving. A qualified team building company can work with you to design activities that will directly address the material and move your team closer to the goals you specified. The provider who understands your goals will get your team physically active in moving toward them and (spoiler alert) having fun. Hire a company with skilled, educated facilitators, a company that understands the business environment. Screen potential vendors by telling them your goals and listening to how they believe they can help you achieve them.