Three team building ideas that have not yet lost their charm

Here are three excellent examples of ways to improve your team's cohesion.

Team building can be an important part of shaping your business. The better your team knows each other, the more productive it is going to be. Trying to complete important projects in a stressful environment where no one knows each other leads to more conflict than growth. You need a fun environment with no real life pressure to learn to work together.

However, over the years, team building has been overdone, to say the least. Youth organisations, internship programmes, and corporations all see the value in it. Which means that by the time a person gets to your team, they’ve seen it all before.

Furthermore, people dread team building exercises because many of the traditional ideas are just plain awful. They build a team that knows how to complain, more than anything else!

But not all team building ideas have lost their charm. Some are still fresh, and inventive enough that they don’t get worn out.

This doesn’t mean they haven’t been done, but that they’re effective the second, third, or fourth time around. Here are three excellent examples.

1. Escape rooms

Escape rooms are everything you want in a team building exercise. They stick people in a restrictive environment and force them to work together. They require out of the box thinking. They make people competitive, but not against each other. And they reward all of those things.

This is the sort of idea that does not wear out. It creates a real situation – even if the team knows they’re going to get out no matter what, how soon is up to them. And their are many different variations of the theme. There is an increasing number of Escape Rooms in London. Meaning that there’s plenty of choices for difficulty level, scenarios, and type of thinking required.

2. Cooking classes

One reason that the term ‘team building’ tends to elicit a collective groan is that corporate versions of it are often so (excuse the term) lame. It smacks of out of touch bosses trying too hard, patting themselves on the back for coming up with something more juvenile than fun.

For this reason, cooking classes are perfect. They put everyone in an environment that is organic, not generated for a corporate purpose. They give the team the chance to mess up in a low pressure environment – an environment in which everyone wants to see each other succeed.

3. Uplifting community service

Community service is often used for the purposes of team building, but it can go wrong. You don’t want to take your team somewhere that they can do minimal good, showing them just how helpless they are to help. So, while visiting a homeless shelter may be admirable, it’s not going to do much for your team.

Taking them to a more uplifting place – institutions for special needs kids, orphanages, animal shelters – where they’re faced with real problems along with adorable smiling faces, makes them want to help as well as feeling good about helping. They also get to take back shared memories of the good work they participated in and the children they helped.

Further reading on team building

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Team building

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