Work Hard, Play Hard: 5 Activity Days to Let Off Steam with Your Team

Team-building days are a win-win-win. Your staff get a chance to unwind, the whole team can work on their skills and relationships, and everyone comes back feeling rewarded and re-energised. A well-chosen activity day will be a challenging opportunity to learn something new, without feeling like work at all.

If you’re planning a day out to bring your teams together, here are five ideas that will suit companies with all kinds of dynamic.

Treetop trail
photo credit: Loco Ropes / Flickr

1. Change your perspective with a treetop trail

Escape the office and head to the forest to take part in an obstacle course that’s 40 feet from the ground. Comprising of high-ropes, wobbly bridges and zip lines, your employees simultaneously challenge their own fears while cheering each other on. Completing the course brings a huge sense of achievement (and a rush of endorphins) that will leave your staff grinning from ear to ear.

Many centres offering treetop trails also provide team-building challenges at ground level, so you can all take part in group activities to improve problem-solving and communication skills.

If you’re an ‘outdoorsy’ kind of group but suffer from a little bit of vertigo then check out an experience day provider (like these team building days from Into the Blue) for more ideas the available activities around the UK.

Go Karting

2. Kick things up a gear with a day of go-karting

You don’t have to be petrolheads to enjoy putting pedal to the metal around a go-karting track (although it certainly won’t hurt), and an exhilarating spin around one of the UK’s best circuits is sure to burn off some energy.

Split your staff into teams for an endurance challenge where the team with the most laps in the fastest time wins, encouraging strategy and co-operative decision-making. Alternatively, let everyone work out their competitive streak in a head-to-head tournament with every man and woman racing for themselves.

Pottery workshop

3. Fire each other up at a pottery workshop

For teams that have an aversion to helmet hair but like the idea of getting their hands dirty behind a wheel, why not try a pottery class? A guided class is a great way for your staff to learn a rewarding new skill without the pressure of needing prior experience (or even a lot of creativity), plus, it’s pretty therapeutic to knead out some clay.

Over the course of the session, your staff can talk through a new process and learn techniques from each other, boosting communication skills and openness. There’s also a certain sense of achievement in being able to create a physical object and take it home (or back to work), and the calm, steady pace of clay work is perfect for releasing the tension in a team that’s been working at full-steam for a while.

Group drumming lesson

4. Get back into the rhythm with a group drumming lesson

When we say ‘group drumming session’, we’re not talking about tie-dye t-shirts and bare feet; we mean the fierce, energetic sizzle of samba. Transform your teams into a Brazilian ‘bateria’, and they’ll learn new ways to work together and feel like part of the bigger picture.

Just like pottery, learning a few basic beat patterns is simple but satisfying, requiring minimal initial skill but helping each individual to realise their part in a collective. It’s stimulating for the mind without being work-related, and incredibly satisfying to hear the final result – just think back to the spine-tingling percussive performance at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing.

Group drumming lessons are one of the few team-building exercises without a restrictive upper limit on numbers (they are usually aimed at between 20-150 delegates), meaning you don’t have to co-ordinate multiple sessions for everyone to participate.

Escape room

5. Unlock your team’s potential at an Escape Room

There’s a good reason why the craze for ‘escape rooms’ just isn’t dying down – they’re just so damn fun. If you haven’t tried one for yourself yet, the premise is simple: a group of 6-8 people gets locked in a room full of cryptic clues and logic puzzles, which need to be solved in order for the team to escape. Most rooms must be solved within an hour, but different locations will have various house rules that affect gameplay.

You’ll have to split into small groups for everyone to have a go, which is perfect for mixing departments up and encouraging colleagues to get to know new people. In terms of team-building, escape rooms provide the opportunity to exercise leadership, problem-solving abilities and communication skills in a short amount of time.

You can even incorporate some ‘90s nostalgia by signing up to the Crystal Maze Live Experience, which faithfully reconstructs everyone’s favourite game show. You and up to 31 of your colleagues can run around collecting crystals in teams of 8, completing challenges to work your way through the Aztec, Industrial, Futuristic and Medieval zones – just like the original show.