team building at workWe spend most of our daily lives day in and day out with colleagues, so is it any wonder team building is so important? We look at the four main ways it can benefit your business – and we give you seven ways to do it without walking on hot coals…

Four ways team-building can benefit your business

1. Productivity
When teams pull together with a common goal, everything runs more efficiently. A clear common purpose means less time-wasting, and more hands on deck to get the right results.

2. Creativity
Team members are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones. When you give them free reign to use their imagination and initiative, original ideas and solutions can potentially turn underperforming areas around.

3. Motivation
Team building exercises can improve confidence in your colleagues. Most importantly, they can help develop trust and a rapport, helping deepen their commitment to achieving results together.

4. Solutions
Getting teams out of their usual silos and into the mix can help promote collaboration. Teams that don’t normally talk to each other will feel much more inclined to share knowledge and skills to solve problems better.

Seven tried, trusted and cost-effective team building ideas

1. Team-building lunches

Treating all team members to lunch at a nice restaurant is a great way of getting colleagues to know one another. Don’t just wait for Christmas – during the summer, get out for a 2-hour picnic, or bring new starters out for a welcome lunch.

2. Company away trips

It doesn’t have to be a five-star resort, but simply organising outdoor group activities away from the office such as walks, bike rides, or other fun sports, can nurture the old team spirit.

3. Company-sponsored events

Whether it’s a run or a sports competition, planned sponsored activities can promote a positive vibe among the team. It’s a good way to get involved with local causes and charities – and social awareness is good karma for your business.

4. Local community volunteering

Following on from point 3, getting involved with volunteering schemes are a powerful boost not just for your business, but for colleagues who wish to contribute to humanity. With Christmas (yes, we know) not so far away, it’s a good time to ask local shelters and charities if you can lend a hand.

5. Fitness and hobbies

Getting a trainer in for group fitness classes such as yoga, running groups or the like can be fun but also a great way to unwind after a hard day’s work in the office.

Likewise, it’s not all about sweat; meditation sessions can help bring calm to a busy company gearing up for the peak period.

You can also run scaled-down ‘meetup’ or special-interest groups that are into photography, books, films, gaming and crafts – anything that brings people with common interests together.

6. Employee shadow day

When the time allows, get members of one team to visit another department so they can ‘shadow’ other colleagues doing their job for the day. It’s easy to forget how complex other people’s roles are – and how complex your own might be. Breaking out of autopilot and explaining your job to someone in a completely unrelated field can help you understand each other better, and you might come away with some new ideas!

7. Group mentoring

Mentors aren’t easy to find, but there are plenty of good ones in your business – they just need the outlet! Generally, you get a team to sit with a facilitator (say, someone in a senior team or leadership role), or together. Whether you’re looking for solutions or to learn something new, the idea is that you create a supportive environment where colleagues feel free to share knowledge and experience, which helps solve problems.

At its core, team-building is all about developing trust, rapport and collaboration between team-mates for a happier and more motivated workplace. It’s one of the few things that’s as good for soul as it is for the bottom line.