Teambuilding event ideas

One thing that I’m often asked is “what teambuilding activity is best for my team”? When it comes to choosing an activity, I recommend asking your team what they’d be comfortable doing but already having a list of potential options available.

Indoor Skydiving (Picture copyright: Emily Luijbregts)

What works?

Within the different projects and teams I’ve worked with, I’ve taken a few things into consideration:

  • Cost (per person/ per event)
  • Composition of team (male/female/senior/juniors etc)
  • Physical ability of your team members
  • Proximity of activity to work location
  • Time available

Getting the buy-in of your team is critical to the success of any teambuilding event. I’d recommend putting some budget aside at the start of the project to facilitate team building events during the duration of the project. If no budget is available, the cheaper you can do an event the better! Previously, I have done my own “treasure hunt” in a city and paired the team to work on it.

One of the first things that I do before the project begins is research what is possible / feasible and go from there. I’d recommend asking colleagues for what has been done before as well as googling potential locations. In recent years, Escape Rooms have become very popular but you can also work with organisers to create something unique. If the team is located in different locations, you can use the Team Kick off meeting as an excuse to get everyone in one location and to build the team relationship during this period.

Timing and Duration

Ideally you should have teambuilding events on a regular basis but definitely at the start of your project and the end to celebrate the project and it’s deliverables.

The duration of an activity can depend on the number of People involved, the time of day and what’s feasible. I’ve normally done events lasting anywhere between 2hours to an entire day. If we needed to take longer or the event would go occur during working hours, I would get full support and agreement of the sponsor/management to take people out of their working environment/project responsibilities.

What can we do?

Day activities:

  • Go karting
  • “Official” teambuilding activities
  • Escape room
  • Treasure “hunts”
  • Attend conferences
  • Geocaching tournament /exploring the local area (Great for cities)

Evening/ after work activities:

  • Indoor skydiving
  • Go karting
  • Learn how to make something (food workshop)
  • Game night (boardgame or computer)
  • Dinner at a restaurant
  • Karoake
  • Rock climbing (switching out who climbs/who is the belayer)

What makes a successful team building event?

For a successful event, you need to make sure that you have planned it properly and that everyone is aware of the activity, what it involves and what they need to bring as well as the duration of the activity. I’d also encourage you to not make anyone feel embarassed/ unable to join in a particular activity (e.g. if they are physically unable to do something, do not do an event that is physically straining)

How to plan a teambuilding event:

Here’s a quick guide for how to create a good teambuilding event:

  • Research what’s available in your local area/ project location. You can also ask secretarys/PMO teams what has been done with other teams.
  • Align with Senior Management/sponsor about budget/timing/impact on the project (if any). I’d recommend including the sponsor in any teambuilding activity as it can help bridge the gap between management and the project team
  • Create a doodle and send to your team with possible dates
  • Confirm with the chosen location, agree on date and communicate to your team
  • Remind your team before the event for what is going to happen / expectations
  • Hold the event
    • Take pictures!
    • Ask the organisers to support you with hosting the event
  • Follow up after the event to check if the event was well received or not

What about virtual teams?

Virtual teams have their own set of complexities when team building. Here are a few ideas that might work for you/your teams:

  • Video gaming event (over the internet)
  • Baking competition
    • Each location hosts their own baking competition and there is a winner per location. This can be done in conjuction with local fundraising activities
  • “Coffee morning”
    • Using video conferencing share a coffee with your team. I’d recommend sending biscuits or cake to the virtual location for the event.
  • A Live “Company TED”
    • Present different topics of interest (this can be non work related) to everyone in the team/organisation to share something about yourself or a passion you have. This could be a hobby that you have, information about pets you own etc.
  • Team Buddies
    • Create a Buddy system within the project between onsite/remote.

Conclusion

Whatever you choose to do for teambuilding, I’d recommend that you take the time within your projects to build a meaningful relationship with every member of your teams.

Team Dinner. Picture copyright: Emily Luijbregts

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