After all, we are all part of the same company pulling in the same direction (in theory!); though I have had the misfortune of seeing what happens when different parts of a company go in different directions, and communication between departments is scant or non-existent.
Let’s just say that it often doesn’t end well that way – but a team-building day can make the world of difference.
The first thing to think about when planning a team building day is to decide on what your goals are. If, when you all return to the office, everyone goes back to the same small arguments… well the activity didn’t really help build the team. By picking the correct activity, with a purpose such as problem solving, creativity or strategic planning, you can turn a fun day out into something which can be a powerful way to unite your team, identify and build strengths and discover weaknesses. Mindtools.com suggests you ask the following questions before planning a day away.
- 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?
For today’s blog, I have picked five ideas for team building days in the UK which can help to bring your workplace together.
Effectively shooting each other in the woods? Don’t sound so surprised! My first recommendation take us out of the office and into the countryside, but things certainly won’t be sedate. Your team will be learning about active cooperation with Battlefield Live Pembrokeshire, used by everyone from schools and colleges, to corporations and sports teams looking to hone their team work. Set in a purpose-built wood in Pembrokeshire, Wales, Battlefield Live offers laser combat experiences through several military scenarios including ‘Capture the Flag’ and ‘Rescue the VIP’. You can even make it more challenging by visiting at night (night-vision goggles sadly not included…).
The building bit? Toria Dean, Operations and Business Director, explains:
“Battlefield Live Pembrokeshire Laser Combat experience is perfect for your next team building, leadership or cooperation meeting. Why spend all day inside sitting on a chair that becomes increasingly uncomfortable when you could be outside in the fresh air helping you and your teammates learn active cooperation with Battlefield Live Pembrokeshire? Sports clubs and teams visit us throughout the year to sharpen team awareness skills. Players soon learn that successful military simulation tactics on the battlefield are transferable to the sports pitch – with great results”.
Put simply, when people get excited together they tend to form bonds – something which will help in the office on busy and challenging days. It also has people playing a game within a set of rules. As a manager it helps for your staff to immediately see the results of your decisions – and to see that you can also lead from behind by listening to their ideas and input. As people’s skills are highlighted, it shows the importance of putting the right person in the right position to get things done.
Zooming past one another and pulling faces? Yep, go-karting might not be the first activity which springs to mind when you think about ‘team building’; it’s pretty much a case of every man or woman for themselves. But throwing your team mates in at the deep end with a Grand Prix at a track such as Cornwall Karting, it gives you the opportunity to see who performs best under pressure, a quality which surely helps when back in the office environment.
Cornwall Karting is set between the picturesque locations of Newquay and Padstow where they have a 1.3km outdoor circuit. Not in the South West? Then contact Team Sport, who have locations across England and Wales and specialise in creating team building days: they can offer a full team race during which your employees have to think about race strategy – including driver changeovers and pit-stops. The Corporate package also includes full conference and dining facilities (because you won’t just be hungry to win!).
One of the most natural ways to bring people together is over a good meal. It allows the conversation to flow in an informal setting, provided people aren’t too greedy! But why let someone else do all the work when you could have a bash yourselves? Instead of going to a restaurant, take the team to a cooking class such as those run by L’Atelier des Chefs.
You’ll need to work in small groups to prepare the two/three course meal, which you will later dine on together, providing an interactive way to bring people closer. In fact it’s an ideal team building exercise, as the tasks are very specific and give an immediate sense of achievement and reward (and some tasty grub at the end of it all). Taking your team to a class like this can help to strengthen working relationships and break down the divides; managers and staff will be working alongside each other and with people from different teams. Just remember to pass the salt!
The Team Building Company offer a range of packages for both indoor and outdoor activities, and so it’s back out into the country for my next suggestion, which harks back to the sports days of youth. My preferred suggestion is their Country Sports Day Package, as you’ll experience a range of outdoor team activities: bond over segways; have a bash at blind driving (yikes); hone your duck-herding skills (yes – you read that correctly!).
A Country Sports Day can be organised to offer a ‘free play’ environment, where several sports are laid on and you can rotate between them. This means that a wide variety of tastes are accounted for and no one should feel left out. Good news! Well, we can’t all be expert duck herders…
Hire a theme park
My final suggestion might seem more of a jolly than a team building exercise – and in this case, you would be right. But sometimes team building is about raising morale and rewarding staff for a busy period or better-than-expected results. My pick for a fun day out is Alton Towers, who offer a specialist Corporate Team Building pack.
The dedicated corporate team will help you plan a day which is full of laughs, thrills and chills – but also includes team building exercises and makes use of their excellent conference facilities. And don’t just take my word on it that it’ll involve more than a spin on Nemesis.
Rachael Cotton, Head of Trade and Corporate Sales, says:
“At The Alton Towers Resort we are incredibly well equipped to deal with the corporate market. As well as offering the UK’s number one Theme Park, we also have a wide range of facilities including a spa, indoor water park, two hotels and a first class Conference Centre. Our team is highly experienced and can efficiently organise events and team building exercises to suit any requirement”.
So what have we learned today team? Well, that team building days build better communication and understanding between colleagues, and between staff and management. They remove people from the work-place environment and provide a more even playing field across leadership levels where people can showcase their skills. You can develop your staff and business through effective learning and training, and find out who would most benefit from days like this.
Intrigued? Heck, with theme parks and lasers, fine dining and races, you’ll want to make that next team building ‘day’ a weekend away! you can find more information on group holidays in the UK in our great guide.
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