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Why team-building is so important

Does your team feel engaged? Are they delivering within their roles? Are they interacting with their teammates? Just because things are “going back to some kind of normality”, we shouldn’t assume that people feel safe, engaged or happy. 

Studies show that “More than half of workers admitted to being nervous about returning to work.”

So, you need to focus on reengaging and reconnecting with your team. And providing some team-building activities can help you do it. 

First and foremost, it will allow you to spend time with your team and understand how they feel and how you can help support them through the transition. Second, it’s a way to ensure that people feel supported and valued during the process, whether it be remote or onsite teams. 

Our story

At Optimist Performance, we had our first in-person meeting a couple of weeks ago. Naturally, we wanted to see each other personally, but we also wanted to evaluate how everyone felt. 

We started our morning by focusing on people’s strengths and how we could help each other to reduce workload and stress. Based on this, we created a strategy to optimise people’s strengths and time. 

After a productive morning, we moved onto the fun part of the day. We spent the afternoon out in the river and enjoyed our first lunch together… finally! 

Gif of an amusing scene from 'The Office', employees throwing crisps into each other's mouths with the caption 'Teamwork makes the dreamwork'.

It wasn’t a crazy team-building activity, but it still brought us closer together and allowed us to catch up, break bread, re-engage and get to know each other better. 

The reason to share this story is that we have seen firsthand how getting the team together for some ‘out of the ordinary’ activity can help productivity, performance, teamwork, and even mental health. 

Benefits of team-building activities

Team building activities can have many benefits, but it’s essential to have a clear purpose. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish will help you plan a suitable activity for your team. 

Once you know the purpose of the session, it’s important to communicate what you intend or hope to take away from the experience, whatever that may be.   

These are some of the benefits and purpose of team building activities:

Reconnect with your team

Three young women enjoying each other's company on a bench.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

According to a Microsoft study, our networks have shrunk during the pandemic. Team-building activities or events are an excellent way to build new connections and strengthen the ones you already have. 

Why not explore organising an event for every team in your organisation? An opportunity to help people build connections outside their immediate teams and reconnect with each other and the company after such a long time away.

Improve productivity and innovation

Changing our scenery can be hugely beneficial to innovation. It gives people a different perspective and can help to bring new ideas to the table. 

Any activity that gets us out of our comfort zone can spark our innovation and creativity. Even games that make our inner-child flourish are great to inspire innovation. 

Enhance teamwork and collaboration

Collaborating outside the office environment can help people to recognise and value each other’s strengths. In addition, it will make it easier to apply these strengths to the workplace and make people more confident about asking for help. 

Organising an activity where people need to work together towards achieving something, be it big or small, can help boost teamwork and collaboration. 

Improve communication

Two men and a woman talking on a riverbank.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Sometimes, it can be challenging to find the time to have a conversation with a colleague during work hours. If you’re new to the company or a more introverted type, it can be complicated to start conversations at work, even more so if working remotely.

Team building activities allow everyone to talk to each other in a more relaxed environment that feels less time-constrained or work specific. 

Take advantage of our newfound freedom and try to get everyone together for an in-person activity. It’s a lot easier to talk to different people when we are next to each other. 

Develop a better work-life balance

Investing in these kinds of activities is a great way to show people that you care about their work-life balance. Of course, we all want our teams to be productive, but it’s important to let people know that not everything is about numbers. 

By providing a fun activity and environment for your team, you demonstrate the value you give to work-life balance. 

Create a sense of belonging

Everyone likes to feel included, but for some people, it can be challenging to interact with others while working remotely. Being part of group activities allows more accessible interactions and can help people feel part of the team. 

The more varied, challenging and, in some cases, extreme the situation, the deeper and stronger the bonds can be. It’s common sense but often isn’t common practice.

When you spend an extended period of time with someone or overcome a challenge together, it creates a memory. That memory prompts you to feel more connected to that person, which in turn builds trust, and trust helps to foster long term, sustainable and more productive partnerships.

Person driving in a UTV in the desert and getting launched into the air over a dune.
The moment Emily from accounts realised she’d gone too far on team-building day.
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Thankfully for you, life-changing experience and creating great memories is one of our areas of expertise! 

Team building activities have many benefits, and they can help reinforce your company values; unfortunately, they can’t produce miracles. 

If your company values aren’t aligned with and underpin the event’s purpose, then the whole thing just becomes an excuse to have some free time and a jolly. Either way, it loses its value and undermines the entire intention of it and can end up being a waste of time and money. 

Latest insights

Skye Robertson – “Choose courage over comfort.”

Show Notes: (3:52) The story behind Escape the City (6:02) Biggest challenges people face when desiring a career change (8:02) Generational attitudes to work and career (9:53) Common reasons for people to make career change (11:40) How to find meaning in work (16:01) Can you learn to be an entrepreneur, or is it something innate? … Continued