It is vital to any business that they have strong teams, outdoor team building activities, can help to shore up those relationships. Studies have shown that team members that are fond of each other are more productive.
It can be challenging to come up with unique team-building skills over and over again in the office. If you are struggling with what to do next to build those strong teams, it may be time to move outdoors and try some outdoor team building activities.
The Purpose of Team Building Activities
Team building is one of the most important training investments you can make in your business. No matter what industry you are in, team building is vital to the success of your business. Team building helps to facilitate communication, improve productivity, generate creativity, and improve problem-solving skills among other things.
Team building helps to improve wellness in the individual and helps to foster loyalty among employees. It is a worthy investment that can improve the workplace for the employee and improve the bottom line for the employer.
Closing the Disconnect
One of the biggest problems corporate entities face in the disconnect between employees and supervisors and management. Team building activities can be a great way to close that gap and help people to reconnect with each other.
Closing the gap in communication can help team members to look at supervisors as colleagues instead of as the “enemy”. It can foster a well-balanced workplace. The reward for the employer is an increase in productivity.
Take it Outdoors
Fun team-building exercises inside the office likely do not feel like fun to the employees. Being in the office space can make team building feel more like just another part of their job. When team members can leave the office and get outdoors, it makes the team building a lot more fun.
Outdoor team building activities get everyone out of the office and gives them an opportunity to see each other in a different capacity. They get to leave the stress of the office behind and engage in fun outdoor team building activities that feel more like fun and less like work.
Following a few simple precautions so no one winds up in the emergency room, and with a little planning, your teams can come back to work fully refreshed and ready to tackle the next project as a team.
A Fun Weekend Getaway That Builds Strong Teams
Ideally the more time your teams can spend together focused on team-building skills the more they will get from the experience. Planning a corporate weekend getaway can be just the solution that you need to bring all your teams together in one place and get them to really focus on building strong teams.
Planning a weekend for a little summer fun peppered in with team building activities will not only result in building stronger teams but will also show your employees how much they are appreciated. In today’s competitive market it is important that you make your talent feel appreciated.
Of course, if an entire weekend trip is out of the question, consider a full day of outdoor team building activities. You can still get a great deal done in one day.
Planning Tips for Outdoor Team Building Activities
The first thing you want to do is choose your venue to host your outdoor team building activities. The right venue is a vital ingredient in ensuring that everyone can be accommodated and that everyone enjoys their time away from the office.
The right setting will be visually appealing, safe, and able to manage your sized group effortlessly. Safety certainly has to be a priority. For example, the venue should be well cared for to avoid slip and fall accidents.
The right venue will keep up with activities like tree trimming and trail clearing to ensure that there are no hidden dangers. Managing a large group of people in an outdoor location successfully starts with choosing an outdoor space that is beautiful and well cared for. Of course, the right venue is only part of the equation (a very important part), there are other things that you should plan for as well.
Follow these steps for planning your outdoor team building activities:
- Hire a transportation service.
- Ensure that meals are arranged and include any special dietary requirements.
- Start planning early to give people to make arrangements, especially if this is going to be a weekend excursion.
Professional transportation service can make for easy travel for everyone that is going. It can be the best way to ensure that everyone arrives at the same time and gets back at the same time. It is also a safer option.
Keeping everyone from being on the road in separate vehicles will reduce the risk of mishaps, accidents, and latecomers. Arranging for reliable transportation that can get everyone to the venue can easily become part of the experience. You can use the time on the bus to do some team building activities before you even get to the event.
You will have to arrange for meals, and this could get complicated. Many people have special dietary restrictions that have to be considered. Planning to ensure that everyone’s dietary needs are met can take a little time.
Planning in advance can be a powerful tool in making sure that the plans come together perfectly. Of course, planning in advance also will give attendees enough time to make the arrangements that they need to make to attend the event.
Now Plan The Activities
Once you have all the details wrapped up about the what, when and where or your outdoor team building excursion it is time to plan the outdoor team building activities. There are plenty of activities that are available but you do want to take into account team members’ physical limitations. For example, fencing is a fun activity but the fact is not everyone feels comfortable with this type of competitive activity.
You will have to plan outdoor team building activities that everyone can participate in regardless of their physical limitations. When you are planning your activities consider the following:
- Is this an activity that requires special physical capabilities?
- Is this an activity that will make people uncomfortable?
- Does this activity give everyone an opportunity to participate?
Remember that the goal is to choose activities that are all-inclusive and that will not limit participation. You certainly want to choose some activities that require competition but you do not want to make the event so competitive that people leave angry with each other.
It really is a balancing act, which is why thoughtful planning is so important. You want the event to be enjoyable for every team member. You have to consider health issues and physical limitations, but even with limitations put in place, there are plenty of fun outdoor team building activities that you can plan.
Here are some easy ideas to help make the event great:
- Scavenger hunt- break teams into small groups, and make sure you assign a supervisor to each group, hand out maps to each person with a different “treasure” location that they cannot find without matching their map to the maps of other group members. This activity requires communication, and reliance on each other to find the treasures. The treasures can be coupons the team can turn in to get out of work early one day, or for a free lunch.
- The Rope Game-divide team members into a circle with a rope in the middle. Supply team members with blindfolds. Ask the team members to take a step back from the circle and put on their blindfolds. Then instruct circle members to pick up the rope and make a square shape out of it by holding it with their teammates. Ask several of the team members to remain quiet throughout the exercise. This focuses on communication and working as a team.
- Blindfolded Mine Field- for this activity you will need blindfolds and rocks or sticks or another element to set up a “minefield”. Break teams up into groups of two. One of the pair will wear the blindfold while the other member of the pair will direct the blindfolded participant how to navigate the mine filed. The objective of this game is to foster trust and to help people communicate.
There are plenty of training activities for team building that requires little to no physical capabilities and that can really make team building a lot of fun.
Getting the Hesitant Involved
Every group has people that really do not want to participate in the team building activities. Many times it is because they are afraid of failure or they do not want to draw attention to themselves. What do you do when you are dealing with hesitant employees?
There are ways you can get your teams on board with the idea that this is going to be an enriching experience. According to the experts changing the setting like moving your teams outside for outdoor team building activities can be a huge pull for employees to get more involved and more excited about the training.
Another recommendation that is easy to meet with outdoor team building activities is to help employees to recognize the value in participation. In the case of moving outdoors, some of the value-added prospects include, being outside the office, enjoying the weather, having an opportunity to reboot in nature, and of course to spend some quality time with their cohorts away from the office. Away from the office can be a tremendous selling point.
Document the success of the team building that has been done up to this point. It is important that people can see empirical results from past events to understand the connection between training and success with the company.
Should I Make it Mandatory?
It would be nice to say “it is mandatory that you enjoy these outdoor team building activities or you must attend” but frankly it is a little difficult to do that. Most people will be interested in coming just to put work on the shelf for the day, but you cannot force anyone to attend an event that is during off-work hours like a weekend retreat.
However, whoever is planning this event should make a mental note of who just refused to attend without good reason. The employee that is not interested in improving not only their own performance but that of the greater team, is a risky employee.
Make an exchange with your employees. For example, if you plan a weekend retreat, it can be an inconvenience for employees with families, you can compensate them by giving them a couple of days off over the weeks following the event to compensate for them giving up time with their family.
For example, if you plan a weekend retreat and people are hesitant because they do not want to be away from their family, offer the next two Fridays following the event off, or if that is not possible offer a couple of half-day Fridays to employees that attend.
The goal is to persuade people that they should attend the function without having to say that they must. Sharing some added value benefits from attending will get people on board. Ultimately the real value of self-improvement is often not enough for people to turn in their sheet with the yes box marked.
Take Your Teams To The Next Level
If you are running out of team building activities to do in the office, it is time to move outdoors. You can take your organization to the next level with outdoor team building activities.
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