Team building is seen as an essential part of a successful company because it encourages employees to interact with each other and to solve problems. Many companies rely on these activities and exercises to remove barriers to communication and to improve efficiency. And yet some managers pooh-pooh team-building exercises as a waste of time. A Workforce Management article discusses team building in light of a recent court case.
And the Los Angeles Times discusses an exotic, albeit more expensive approach to team building.
But what can companies do to encourage team building on a smaller scale?
A recent book, 365 Low or No Cost Workplace Teambuilding Activities: Games and Exercises Designed to Build Trust & Encourage Teamwork Among Employees by John N. Peragine, highlights simple and easy team-building activities and exercises that can be adapted for use right now and for little to no cost.
The book includes step-by-step instructions and hints on what to do and what not to do. Whether you’re interested in eliminating stress and burn out with humor, helping your team get to know each other better, or attempting to establish a corporate identity, a book of team-building exercises might be what just you’re looking for.
However, if you’re looking for a more enjoyable type of team-building environment, skip water boarding or other forms of semi-torture and go for something laidback, like cooking.
Kgomotso Mathe writes in the Financial Mail about the growing trend overseas to stage team-building exercises in a common venue: a kitchen.
"The uShef Cooking School is gaining fame not only among corporates, but also food fundis wishing to sharpen their cooking skills. It is absolutely a place where good food and fun meet. It is owned by Gill Ostrowski, a qualified chef who has been in the hospitality industry for nearly 19 years. The place operates like a restaurant, except in this case you'll have to cook your own dinner."
Cooking with colleagues may sound daunting, but it actually provides a safe place for people to get to know each other and to chatter over tasks that aren’t stressful, but fun.
John Hollon of Work Management writes, "Team-building exercises [sometimes] are more about getting people to follow along blindly - to engage in groupthink - than they are in really getting people to work as a team. A better approach might be what [successful companies do], bringing people from all around the company together to get to know one another, swap ideas and break down barriers to collaboration."
Whatever activity you choose to enhance team building in your company make it fun and make it meaningful.