Team Building: Thinking Outside the Box

Employee Recognition Ideas

Teamwork Poster by PaperDirectThese days, the words “team building” is more likely to elicit groans than excitement from employees.

Many times what spring to mind are silly games or trust exercises. Plus, it can mean rearranging deadlines and interrupting already packed work schedules.

However, when done right, team building can be a powerful tool to improve morale, create camaraderie and increase productivity.

When developing a team-building program, ask yourself what the ultimate goal is. Is it to strengthen the bond between coworkers? To encourage creativity or spark new ideas? To work on a company problem or issue? Focusing on the goal will help determine which exercises or activities will best accomplish it.

Next, ensure that you provide a safe environment. It’s okay to ask participants to step a bit outside their comfort zone. But if an employee is terrified of heights, for instance, group bungee jumping can be hugely counterproductive.

Finally, try to think outside the box and escape from the predictable, worn out team-building exercises of years past. Pleasantly surprising participants with a non-traditional activity will set the tone and get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Here are a few fun and quirky ideas to inspire you:

Scavenger Hunt

As a kid, you probably participated in scavenger hunts at birthday or Halloween parties. Little did you know you were learning how to work together and problem-solve.

Turns out, grown-up kids like scavenger hunts, too! The hunt can take place in your office building, a nearby park or your entire city.

Break the group up into teams and give them a list of items to find. Include word clues, pictures, brain teasers, etc. Each “find” is worth a certain number of points and the team with the most points wins!

Team-Building for Good

Great-Job-CertificateWhat could be better for employee morale than giving back to a worthy cause? Choose a local charity for your company to support. Then ask employees to bring in donations that will benefit the charity. For instance, non-perishable food items for a food bank or clothing for a women’s shelter.

Teams will use these items to build or make something (without destroying the items, of course). It may help to come up with a central theme like “Great Buildings of the World” or “Paris Fashion Show.” Award points for ingenuity, design and overall creativity. Afterwards, disassemble the “building blocks” and deliver the donations together.

All in the Family

Micro Prize Wheel from PaperDirectWork-life balance is crucial to employee morale and productivity. Overwhelmingly, employees crave flexibility and time with their families, even more than money or benefits. So why not include their families in team-building activities?

Organize a Family Fun Day complete with face painting, a bounce house, sack races, food and drink. Have a smaller budget? Opt for a good old-fashioned ice cream social. Hold a charity raffle or give away door prizes from other local businesses. And be sure to host the event during work hours.

That way, employees get extra time with their families, instead of having to come to work with their families during the hours they should be off.

Swirly Stars Casual Certificates by PaperDirect

No matter which team-building activity you decide on, remember to recognize your employees’ accomplishments. PaperDirect has a full selection of awards and certificates that say, “Job well done!”