How to Facilitate Team Bonding Outside of the Office

Workplace culture is everything in today’s business world. One of the ways you develop a positive workplace culture is by helping your employees and team members bond in a healthy manner. And in order to do this, you need to get them out of the office.

Outdoor team building activities

Try These 4 Team Building Ideas

When most people hear the phrase “team building”, they immediately think about awkward and boring activities where a manager attempts to weave in forced leadership principles. And, in many cases, this is exactly what it looks like. It doesn’t have to be so uncomfortable, though.

“Despite its reputation for being, well, lame, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people,” entrepreneur Brian Scudamore believes. “It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz.”

The key is to get employees out of their comfort zones and involve everyone in a shared experience where they’re forced to communicate and rely on each other for support, guidance, and strength.

Whenever possible, you should get your employees out of the office. By removing them from their physical comfort zones, you have a much greater opportunity to bring them together.

Not sure what to do? Here are some practical and effective ideas that successful startups and corporations frequently use to create movement in this area.

1. Outdoor Activities

Paddleboarding bunny

One of the most natural ways to facilitate bonding is by putting your employees in situations that force them to exert energy. Adventurous outdoor activities can be a great way to challenge your team and force them to work together.

In the warmer months, try a water activity – such as paddleboarding.

“Paddleboarding excursions are awesome for a number of reasons,” Kona Boards Australia explains. “For starters, they force people outside of their comfort zones and allow people to bond over a shared experience. Secondly, they typically take place in beautiful locations, which heightens the sense and emotions.”

In the colder months, you can take “outdoor” activities inside. Indoor rock climbing is an idea.

“Your team members will pair up, one person on belay, supporting and observing the climber, providing the type and amount of help the climber needs—the other in a harness scaling the wall,” Adventure Associates suggests. “This dynamic carries over to the workplace in the form of strong mutual support and trust.”

2. Company Field Day

Team building activity creates bonds among employees
photo credit: UW Health / Flickr

Outdoor activities are more about engaging people physically and teaching them to trust in one another. If you think your team would benefit more from healthy competition, you may think about starting an annual company field day.

A company field day is great because it encourages competition and rewards performance – things that are paramount in the workplace. It also includes a lot of different activities, which means people will be forced to embrace both strengths and weaknesses.

3. Trivia Night

Trivia night
photo credit: Josefjer / Flickr

Competition is good, but you don’t have to use physical activity to bring people together. If your employees tend to be more intellectual than athletic, a trivia night may be better suited for your team.

A trivia night takes advantage of many of the same principles as a field day. It allows you to form teams, test skills, and help employees bond over the pursuit of similar goals.

4. Out-of-Town Conference

TED Conference
photo credit: TED Conference / Flickr

There’s something about sending your team to an out-of-town conference that really forces them to bond. They stay in the same hotel, attend the same sessions, eat the same food, and share the same experiences.

Industry conferences can be expensive to attend, but if you view it as both a learning opportunity and a chance for your team to bond, the return on investment becomes clear.

Take Charge of Your Team

There are certainly times when team bonding organically occurs as a result of situations and shared experiences that happen within the natural course of day-to-day work. But if you really want to provide a jolt, get your team members out of the office and try something different. You’ll learn new things about your employees and they’ll feel closer than before.