Planning the perfect team building excursion

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Date: 14 May 2020

A team celebrate on a team outing

Chances are your office team haven't seen each other in a while. It's likely they've been working from home for the past couple of months, communicating only through email and obligatory Zoom calls. Whilst you may be pleased with how you've managed to keep business running during recent events, remote operations simply can't replicate the experience and camaraderie of everyone working alongside each other every day.

We all know how draining video calls can be, and it's an often unacknowledged truth how helpful those casual desk conversations can be in solving problems, offering new perspectives, and sharing skills across projects.

Once you get back into the office with your team, your interpersonal skills may feel rusty. Those casual lines of communication that were once so easy may have become strained, and your employees might feel unsure how to handle themselves around each other.

Once circumstances permit, you should organise a team-building activity or day out. It may have awkward associations, but good team-building exercises are one of the best ways to quickly reclaim employee morale and reopen methods of communication that we all might have forgotten. But how can you plan the perfect team-building excursion?

Get out of the office

It may feel like you haven't been into the offices for ages, but returning straight to the familiar space of the office will soon feel like you never left. The best way to make a day feel special is to get out of the office and hold your teambuilding somewhere other than a spare meeting room.

There are plenty of companies out there who can host and plan a day of activities, and getting your employees out into the fresh air will be great for their mental health and help facilitate the bonding experience. Have a look locally and see if there is anywhere you can go that is easy to get to, but which will be relatively unfamiliar and offer a new experience to your office staff.

Ensure basic amenities and catering

If you are heading outdoors, take a minute check you will have access to facilities such as toilets, and that you're prepared to make sure people are well-fed throughout the day. Remember this is not a waste of resources, but an investment in the future of your employees, and it's no use having a fun day out if everyone ends up starving and desperate for the bathroom.

If you there's no public facilities, you can check out portaloo hire cost. You'll see they're not as expensive as you might assume, and definitely worth considering making sure the day is as comfortable as possible. You can encourage people to bring their own lunch but eating together is one of the most communal experiences possible. Getting a catering company to provide a slightly fancier picnic is a brilliant way to make a day feel more special.

Don't have defined goals

For business-minded and driven people, it's tempting to assign every activity a clear projected outcome.  After all, in other areas, a teambuilding event would be considered a great opportunity to practice great communication skills and work towards the same goals.

However, there is nothing that makes a team-building exercise more boring than knowing it is a team-building exercise. Chances are, even using that term will make your employees switch off. They will be expecting 'organised fun' and awkward games designed to create an artificial scenario in which they must work together.

Don't worry too much about defining outcomes and giving the event a specific purpose. Frame it as a celebration that you're all back together, or a reward for dealing with recent events, or even just an event for the sake of getting out of the office and enjoying yourselves! This will help people to relax and genuinely communicate with each other rather than doing it just for the sake of 'team-building'.

Personalise your outings

The best way to get your team on board and ready to enjoy the day is to tailor the event towards something that they will enjoy. For example, if you know a couple of the team love playing Call of Duty in their time off, you could organise a trip to paintballing.

If there's a band that people love, and tickets are a reasonable price, then take the whole team to one of their gigs. Another good way to get people excited is to present them with a few options and let them vote on which one to do. You could even keep the votes secret and only reveal which plan has won on the day of the excursion. If handled carefully, this democratic process can help employees feel like they have ownership and a stake in the day

Be ready to exclude yourself

This might be one of the hardest pieces of advice to follow. After all, if you've put so much effort into organising an activity, why shouldn't you be able to join in? Well, this depends very much on the size of your company and how it works - as well as the type of activity planned. If you lead a small team in a small start-up, then you should absolutely take part alongside the rest of the company. If your company hierarchy is bigger and more rigid, you may want to consider what you want to get out of this event.

On the one hand, devolving those hierarchies temporarily can be great for morale and allow you to get to know your employees as people (and the other way around)! On the other hand, depending on what activity is planned, some people may find it much harder to relax if they know their boss is present. At the very least you should consider the potential impact of your presence - and remember that for the duration of the day, you are not there to function as a boss!

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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