A Field Guide to Team Building

Jan 11


“Team building” is a bit of a loaded phrase when most people hear it. In concept, team-building activities are a great way to improve communication, efficiency and morale within a company and address interpersonal issues in a casual environment. After all, a team that works well together is ultimately happier and more productive—a win-win for all parties involved.

However, in practice, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie can be tricky since most people tend to find team building exercises cheesy or unnecessary. This is coupled with the fact that if the activities aren’t executed properly, they can actually have the opposite desired effect.

So where do you start? What are the best and most effective team building activities? Check out our suggestions to make your next day of team building worthy of your time and that of your fellow employees or coworkers.

Things to Keep in Mind

When you’re planning team building exercises, it’s easy to get lost in the details and forget to see things on a macro level. But in order to assure that the activities are ultimately constructive, it’s important to keep certain ideas in mind. For example, define your goals before doing anything else. Narrowing your objectives and having a sense of structure will help you pick an activity that not only fits your company, but also has the right design that targets the issues your team faces.

In addition, having some kind of challenge incorporated into the activity is vital since learning naturally occurs when people are pushed outside their comfort zones. However, comfort zones are also something to think about, especially considering the different situations and needs of your colleagues, whether that’s being parents, having specific health conditions, or anything in between.

After all, the underlying purpose for any team building activity is to have a positive experience. Consequently, inclusivity is essential for whatever exercise you choose. An easy means of doing so: picking an activity that fosters healthy competition.

All Fun & Games

There’s a reason why various team-building games come highly recommended. It also makes senses that a little bit of silliness is called for when doing something that may feel contrived, especially when doing it with people you spend the majority of the week with. Games like “A Truth and a Lie,” “Back-to-Back Drawing,” and “Minefield” are great ways to not only encourage communication skills and collaboration, but also cultivate team bonding as well as creative problem solving skills. Plus, a game like “Talking in Circles” inherently has a challenging component while a round of office-specific trivia can build a sense of camaraderie that’s distinctive of your colleagues. Moreover, these games can easily be done by small or large companies and can take place in conference rooms or studios, just like the ones at ACE.

Giving Back – Together

Another great vehicle for team building is community service. Volunteering provides a great way to not only promote solidarity among coworkers, but also to do some good for the community. And due to the variety of volunteer opportunities, you can easily pick a project or activity that appeals to your colleagues or reflects your company values. From serving at a soup kitchen to working at a community garden to participating in a charity race, there are tons of possibilities. ACE in particular already has programs like “Wheels for the World” and “Smile Kits” to choose from. Moreover, community service already involves collaboration and the positive cause only helps to boost morale and team bonding.

Work Up a Sweat

Other classics to consider: scavenger hunts and sports activities. A scavenger hunt is not only a great reason to get outdoors, but is also an activity that involves communication, working together, and problem solving skills. You can even bring it to the 21st century by setting up text messages, riddles, custom QR codes, and more to provide clues. ACE has its own scavenger hunt program where teams can solve customized clues while exploring our amazing campus. In the same vein, sports activities naturally promote team spirit; help create stronger bonds, as well as encourage physical activity.

Food for Thought

There’s nothing more universal than food, so what better way to bring your colleagues together than a culinary challenge? This activity is really team building at its finest considering the good-natured fun and team bonding that’s built into it. You can choose from an Iron Chef Challenge to your own version of Cake Wars or a Chili Cook-Off at ACE, whether during a company retreat or a conference as a fun way to break up the day with your coworkers between various meetings. The best part: eating the food, of course!

Whatever you end up choosing, team building can ultimately be both productive and fun. Just follow these guidelines and tips and you’ll be sure to end the activity with a closer and happier team.