If you are starting to notice drooping shoulders around the office, especially after a busy season, it’s likely time to plan an impromptu team event to breathe a little life into the workplace.
Believe it or not, team-building activities are one of the most important investments you can make. They reduce conflict, encourage communication, build trust, and often result in a happier and more productive workforce. A team that works well together is more efficient and engaged, which is great for company culture and your bottom line.
However, planning an office event means factoring in deadlines, budgets, and choosing activities that will induce more high-fives than eye rolls.
Employee bonding does not have to involve trust falls and cheesy icebreaker games. These activities also do not require hefty planning or significant cuts to your budget. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do locally that will provide memorable experiences and meaningful connections.
Next time you are planning an office event, scratch the cheesy ideas and get one of these on the calendar instead:
1. Team Cook-Off
Spark some friendly culinary competition with a cook-off, bake-off, or dip-off. Creating new dishes together requires everyone to put their creativity and leadership skills to good use. Divide your staff into smaller groups and challenge them to create delicious dishes within a certain food category.
To spice it up even more, challenge everyone by giving them an obstacle. For example, each team can only use one pot to make and plate their entire dish.
You can even make commemorative T-shirts to mark the occasion and give prizes for the winners.
2. Office Trivia
For a simple team-building activity, come up with a list of funny trivia questions about your workplace to test your employees’ knowledge. Questions about the picture hanging above the Keurig or how many lights are in the breakroom will drive your team nuts as they try to remember the details. Office trivia is a quick activity that fosters collaboration and will bring out the laughs.
3. Game Tournament
Bring out the competition with a board game or courtyard game tournament that can be hosted over lunch or throughout the day. Research a few fun board games that would resonate with your audience, or take advantage of your outdoor space with cornhole or bocce ball. Be sure to have snacks and drinks, so the hour off turns into a mini happy hour for your employees.
4. Not-Your-Typical Scavenger Hunt
When the weather is nice, take to the outdoors for an urban social media scavenger hunt, finding clues and completing challenges within a few blocks of the office. Include a designated hashtag for the event.
For a trendy twist on this idea, download an app like MetroDemic, a virtual outdoor game that challenges your knowledge of the Dallas Arts District. In MetroDemic, Dallas is being ravaged by a deadly epidemic and each time has 90 minutes to save as many people as possible. With the MetroDemic map loaded to your smartphone, your team will walk on foot to several “outbreak sites” within a three-block radius of the Dallas Arts District. At each site, you will have to answer trivia questions on topics like the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, Barney the Dinosaur, Vanilla Ice, and more.
5. Karaoke Night
Mix things up! Although everyone loves a good happy hour, give your employees a chance to let loose with a trip to a local pub or brewery on karaoke night. Award prizes, and don’t forget to pick up the first round. Assign a great hashtag for this event too, as it will likely be a trending topic by morning!
Promote Employee Happiness
Team-building activities are not just about boosting productivity; they can also help employees get to know each other and really connect over laughs and new experiences. If your employees trust each other and build friendships outside their work, they will learn to work together more efficiently. Create both planned and impromptu office outings as one of the best ways to promote employee happiness and nurture a great company culture.