Why Are Fun Team Building Events Crucial to Building Happy Teams?
Every business owner’s goal should be to have a workforce that feels happy in their role and enjoys their jobs. You can’t guarantee this 100% of the time, but creating a culture where employees feel positive and engaged is very important, and team building is something that can impact this.
You can’t boost your employees’ mood with any old team building event however; you want to offer something fun that your workforce will be talking about for weeks afterwards. In this article, we discuss why team building is important in creating better, happier teams, and share some examples of fun events that you can organize for your company.
What Is Team Building?
Team building is the process of participating in activities with other people that are designed to bring you closer together, improve your communication skills, and facilitate situations where collaboration is necessary to solve problems. It can take place in established teams where the participants already know each other, or might be used to introduce a group of strangers and help them feel more comfortable working together.
A lot of people experience and participate in team building in a professional context, as it’s often used as part of personal and professional development to help people develop new skills and take on new roles within a group. Plenty of managers and business owners organize team building events to help their employees improve how effectively they can work together, and to bring an element of fun into the working environment.
Sometimes, team building events and activities can get a bad rep, often because the participants aren’t sure of their purpose or simply aren’t having a good time. This is why having clear team building goals is an important aspect of how successful it is, as well as ensuring that the participants are having fun throughout the event.
Why Is Team Building Important?
Team building isn’t just organized so that managers can tick a corporate box and go back to what they were previously doing. There are actually countless team building benefits for a business that are backed up by numerous different studies, the most important of which are explained below.
The first point about the importance of team building is that it can bring a team closer together. Many team building activities involve collaboration in order to reach a goal, often as part of a competition, and going through this short but intense period of working together facilitates relationships between team members and gives them a common experience that they may not previously have had.
Leading on from that point about closeness, it’s been found that familiarity amongst team members improves workplace performance. Team building can help employees to get to know each other better which in turn will improve how efficiently and effectively they can do their jobs, creating a more productive workplace (Source)
Another massive benefit of team building is that it can help to improve workplace communication. The kind of activities that team building usually involves will require a different kind of collaboration than employees are used to in the workplace, and this new experience of speaking and problem-solving with one another can open up new channels of communication and make it easy to work together again in the future. In fact, one study found that socializing with colleagues, such as in a team building context, can improve workplace communication by up to 50%. (Source)
Team building is an important aspect of workplace culture as it gives the workforce an opportunity to step outside of their usual roles and interact with one another in a different context. Groups may be mixed and professional hierarchies will be removed, allowing for new friendships to be formed and those that aren’t currently in a leadership position the opportunity to take charge. This opportunity to lead can help employees to develop new skills which will then improve their performance in their own role and lead to a more valuable and highly-skilled workforce.
Another aspect that links to the importance of team building activities is the impact they can have on employee retention. It’s been found that organizations which promote collaboration and communication through fun team building events are 4.5 times less likely to lose their best employees, as teams will feel engaged with their work and confident collaborating successfully with others. (Source)
Finally, one of the most useful team building advantages is that it can give employees the tool and experience they need to successfully manage and resolve conflict. Navigating the challenges presented in some team building tasks builds trust and demonstrates that conflict can be handled without negative consequences, making it easier to approach when back at work. The camaraderie created by team building can also make it easier to resolve conflict, as employees already feel more comfortable with each other and may be more aware of how best to deal with each other’s communication styles.
How Can Workplace Team Building Lead to Happy Teams?
We’ve talked about the general benefits of team building exercises, but what about the impact they can have on creating happy teams? And what’s so important about having a happy team in the first place?
To begin with, happy employees are much more productive, which means that more work gets done and resources in a company are used more efficiently. A study by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School found that happy workers are 13% more productive than their peers, getting much more work done in the same amount of time than those with lower moods. (Source)
If your company has a sales team, you may be interested to know that a report by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services identified that employee happiness can raise the level of sales that a business makes by 37%. When your workforce is happy, they’re not only better at their jobs, but they also make much better impressions on other people! (Source)
Not only will a happy team make your company more money, but it can also save you money. Happy employees take ten times fewer sick days at work than unhappy employees, reducing the cost of sick pay, healthcare compensation, and avoiding internal disruption due to illness. (Source)
It’s clear that there are countless benefits to keeping your workforce in a good mood, but then how does this link to team building?
Countless studies have found that team building can lead to improved communication, confidence, productivity and most importantly, engagement at work. All of these elements contribute to employees feeling happier at work because they enjoy what they do, feel connected to the outcome and feel appreciated and understood by their team. A company that cares about its employees enough to facilitate team building and development activities is also likely to have better workplace culture, which again leads to happier employees.
The purpose of team building at work can vary depending on what your goals are, but these outcomes are the same when you do team building right. So the real challenge is, how do you ensure the effectiveness of team building, and how do you make it fun for those participating?
What’s Fun Got to Do With It?
As we’ve already mentioned, sometimes the idea of team building can seem like a bit of a slog. Ideas of awkward icebreakers, trivial challenges and forced conversation with people you’ve only met in passing before can be very off-putting from some employees. And if that is what your team building session actually involves, you can pretty much guarantee that your workforce isn’t going to benefit from any of the outcomes we’ve discussed above.
Effective team building has a clear purpose and measurable goals, but it’s also a fun experience for the people involved. Employees that are having fun will likely be more engaged with the activity, which in turn will help them to properly reap the benefits.
Team building at work that is presented as a fun activity will hopefully mean that participants are excited about the event and approach it with an open mind. This allows them to get more out of it and also experience the benefits properly without feeling inhibited by any preconceptions.
Fun team building events and activities are also more memorable and will facilitate moments of genuine connection between colleagues. These connections can then be developed back in a professional environment and flourish because of their strong origins, with the added benefit that it can help employees feel more connected to their company.
Companies that organize fun workplace team building events may also improve their reputation as an employer. If your employees repeatedly share stories of their enjoyable experiences at work, your brand image will improve and more people will want to come and work for you so that they can appreciate this benefit as well.
What Activities Are Good for Team Building?
Not only is it clear that team building can help facilitate a happier team, but it’s also important that the activity involved is actually fun for the participants. If you’re looking for inspiration for fun team building activities, why not take a look at some of the suggestions below?
Cooking and Sharing Food
Encouraging collaborative working is often the purpose of team building activities, and cooking is a great example of how you can facilitate this in a fun way.
There are plenty of different ways you can use cooking as the basis for a team building event. For smaller groups, delegating the different tasks required to cook a meal might be enough, whilst larger groups could participate in a competition with individuals or teams working to finish a recipe first, cook the best version of a dish, or use a set list of ingredients in the most imaginative way.
Cooking as a workplace team building exercise is also a great idea because the team can then enjoy a meal together afterwards. Communal cooking and eating can help groups feel closer to one another, so you can consolidate the teamwork that will have taken place with a celebratory meal.
Trying Something Unique
We’ve already mentioned the benefits of a memorable team building activity, which is why organizing something unique for your team can be a really successful approach. Participants will all be on a level playing field for a new activity, helping everyone approach and enjoy the event from a similar perspective.
A fantastic example of a unique idea for a team building event is one of our pedal bike barge tours around the swamps and bayous of New Orleans. Our unique vessels have twelve bike pedal seats around a bar as well as additional space for fourteen more passengers, providing plenty of space for your team to bond and relax as the scenery of the bayou rolls by. You can also bring your own food and drink aboard our party boats, so everyone is catered for!
If you want to bring a team closer together then sending them out to enjoy an experience filled with adrenaline might be the ideal way to do just that. Activities such as a high wires course, ziplining, gorge walking, kayaking, white water rafting, rock climbing and go-karting are all great examples of this, pushing employees outside of their comfort zone and helping them conquer challenges with the help of their teammates.
Of course, you do have to be mindful that some employees might not want to participate in these kinds of activities or be physically unable to do so. But those who rise to the challenge will find that they learn new skills, bond with their colleagues and make unforgettable memories that help to deepen and strengthen their professional relationships with the people around them during the event.
Going into the Great Outdoors
A change of environment is an essential element of building a great team with an event. Employees will likely find it harder to step outside of their ‘office’ role if team building is happening in the space that they usually work in, which can limit their participation and impact their chances of personal development.
Organizing a team building event outdoors will ensure that a new environment creates a new atmosphere, hopefully allowing for more organic conversation and collaboration without any workplace influence. If you don’t have a huge budget for team building activities, this is also a great approach as you can arrange something like a team hike, bike ride or even an open-air swimming trip for a relatively low price.
For extra fun, why not arrange a company sports day or ball games tournament to encourage teamwork and get everybody active?
Getting employees excited and engaged with team building opportunities is a fantastic way to boost workplace morale, facilitate skills development and boost your reputation as an employer that cares about its workforce. At the end of the day, if your team building hasn’t been fun then it’s probably been a wasted effort, so put this at the top of your agenda and then let the impact speak for itself.
New Orleans is a city that is known for its lively atmosphere and wide range of fun attractions, so it’s the perfect place for your next team building event. New Orleans Pedal Barge pedal bike boat cruises make an incredibly memorable and enjoyable team building activity, so why not take a look at the tours we have on offer, or get in touch to start organizing a unique corporate event?