Choosing a team building activity that works

We’ve all been there – the email inviting you to the annual team building activity arrives in your inbox and rather than enthusiastically pressing ‘accept’ you desperately submit an annual leave form in the hope you may not have to attend.
 
When people are not positive about participating or reluctant to get involved in a team building experience it is difficult for them to see the value of attending. A badly planned team building experience can often be counterproductive resulting in negative attitudes being fostered within the team.
 
So before you even attempt to Google “team building activities” check out our helpful tips below that will guide you to choosing a team building activity that works.

Setting an objective

A successful team building activity is planned with a clear objective in mind. All teams can benefit from participating in team building activities, but to really get the most from your investment, make sure you design your event around a clear objective. 
 
Consider carefully what challenges your team faces. Here are a few suggested challenges that your team might be experiencing from online training providers, Mindtools

  • Are there conflicts between certain people that are creating divisions within the team?
  • Do team members need to get to know one another?
  • Do some members focus on their own success, and harm the group as a result?
  • Does poor communication slow the group's progress?
  • Do people need to learn how to work together, instead of individually?
  • Are some members resistant to change, and does this affect the group's ability to move forward?
  • Do members of the group need a boost to their morale?
Once you have established a clear reason for hosting a team building activity you can start to consider what activity would be best suited to achieve the objective.

Finding the right type of team building activity

There are literally thousands of team building activities to choose from. From games that can be played in a meeting room, through to elaborate weeklong adventures overseas - the sky is the limit. Obviously budget and time will be key factors when choosing, but there are a few things you should bear in mind when coming up with your shortlist.

1. Choose an activity that fosters healthy competition

Wining is fun, but losing is not. Having an activity that divides a team into winners and losers can sometimes be bad for morale and create hostility in a team environment. There are a lot of team building activities that include competition, e.g. sports, scavenger hunts, trivia and these are all fabulous if planned well. Encouraging people to be driven and work together to succeed is great, but remember to keep the competition light hearted and fun. It’s all about participation.
 
And remember, if your objective is to resolve conflicts between certain people, competitive style team building activities may not be the best option!

2. Choose an activity that does not exclude anyone

If you have lots of part-timers in the team, make sure you choose a day and time that everyone can attend. Do not exclude people based on their ability either, e.g. do not choose rock climbing for a group with elderly team members who may not be able to participate.

3. Choose an activity that does not expose a fear or the fear of failure

Making sure people feel comfortable and supported is a number one priority when looking to foster trust and motivation in a team environment. Choosing an activity that challenges people’s comfort zone can be delicate – yes, it can help challenge and motivate people, but in some cases it could alienate people and make them feel attacked. Challenge your team without setting them up to fail or terrify them.

4. The activity must have a learning element

Planning a trip to the pub or having a party is not a team building exercise, it is a social event. Social events are great and can form an element of the day, but remember a team building activity needs to meet your objective. Give people an opportunity to learn a new skill, attitude or working method and make sure they have something to think about post-event.

5. Follow up post-event

You spent the time and money on your team building activity, now make the most of the experience. Having a post-event strategy in place will help determine the true success of the activity. Facilitating an open conversation about the key objective following a joint activity should be relatively easy – team members have bonded together and will be more open to contributing to a healthy and helpful discussion. 
 
Take on all the feedback and create an action plan for addressing and implementing new ideas, skills and practices.
 
Sharing photos, videos and stories following the experience is also a great way for the team to bond over the funny, challenging and rewarding moments. 
 

Some team building ideas!

We’ve gathered a few awesome team building ideas that you might like to consider…
 

ACTIVE, FUN & CHALLENGING 

1. Bubble Soccer with Giant Inflatable Arena

This one is not for the faint hearted… if you have a team that needs to get active, be challenged and work together, then Bubble Soccer could be a hit! Sure, it’s a sport (8 per side battling it out), but we’re certain that no one will be a pro at this to begin with – football player or not! Roll around, giggle and perhaps, after a little practice, you might even score a goal!

For more information on active inflatable style team building activities check out Bubbling with Energy.

Bubble Soccer with Giant Inflatable Arena

2. Wild Ropes Challenge – Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo’s Wild Ropes Course is not for the weak-kneed, but we are assured it’s a lot of fun. It is also not as scary as you might think and you will find it at one of the best locations in town! Use the nearby Taronga Centre for the learning element of the day to create a successful team building activity.

Get in touch with the team at Taronga Centre for more details. 

Wild Ropes Course for team building at Taronga Centre


CULTURE & FOOD

1. Behind the scenes art & food experience at Art Gallery of NSW

This is a fabulous idea that combines art and food in an inspirational setting and is a great idea for those who are not keen on getting sweaty and want something more cultural. Take a guided tour of the Gallery’s key artworks, followed by a cooking demonstration in the Chiswick at the Gallery Restaurant. Then your guests will learn to make a cocktail and then enjoy a feast together in the restaurant as a team. 
 
Get in touch with the team at MorSul at the Gallery for more details. 

Behind the scenes experience with MorSul at the Gallery

This style of event can easily be created at other galleries such as, The National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

2. Cooking classes

Cooking classes are a fabulous way for people to learn to work as a team and also gain new personal skills. It is an activity that everyone can get involved with and the added bonus is the feast at the end of the session!
 
Check out some of our favourite cooking schools that host private events:
Sydney -
Melbourne -
Spice Bazaar


LEARNING ON THE MOVE

1. Werribee Zoo’s ‘Race around the Zoo - Gorilla Mission’

If you want to get your staff out and about, why not consider a scavenger hunt or roving activity? One great idea is Werribee Open Range Zoo’s ‘Race around the Zoo - Gorilla Mission’. It is a fabulous day out and combines team work and problem solving, along with a great day at the zoo.

Get in touch with Werribee Zoo Events for more information.

Werribee Zoo Gorilla Race Team Building event
 

RELAX & STREGTHEN

1. A day at the beach with Barzura Cafe | Restaurant | Bar

If your team is feeling burnt out and needs to refresh after a busy period, consider planning a day that will give people an opportunity to learn healthy relaxation techniques. A day at the beach, yoga and good food should do it!
 
The team at Barzura Cafe also manage Livingroom Yoga School Coogee Beach and can arrange for teams to enjoy beach activities and/ or yoga sessions combined with a hearty breakfast or lunch overlooking the ocean. Nothing like a little fresh air and light exercise to get people reenergised and ready to tackle the year ahead!
 
Get in touch with the team at Barzura for more details.  

Relax and invigorate your team at Barzura
 
We could go on and on with ideas, but instead we invite you to list your favourite team building activities below. We can’t wait to see what you suggest!