If the company picnic only comes once a year (and sadly, that is a fading tradition), it’s hard to keep the buzz of bonding from the company softball game going for 364 days. Be confident in calling a flag on that play when the going gets tough. Blow the whistle and rally the troops to get outside the office. Make an impromptu outing to the nearby sports grill to watch the national playoffs, catch the opening pitch at the local ball field, or just find the closest pool hall. And, no, not everyone will participate, but the pressure is on to show up for the draft next time, once everyone is talking about the laughs, the funny comments made, and what they learned about their teammates. Missing out on this insider information on their compadres will ensure that they won’t want to miss the next field trip.
Did you know that there are a number of unexpected benefits that can come from conducting a team outing at work, such as exposing hidden talents, motivating employees to work towards a common goal, providing a fun mental-health break, increasing productivity, and creating an environment for team bonding?
I think we can all surmise what happens when employees don’t feel bonded with their coworkers or leaders; there is little to no trust or connection to organization, loyalty is minimal, and discretionary effort goes out the door. Add in a monotonous routine, which can put your employees into “auto mode” which increases mistakes and decreases productivity, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
As a leader, take it upon yourself to make sure there are ample opportunities for your team to bond, not only with each other as colleagues, but with you as their leader. After all, members of happy and effective teams share three traits: familiarity, communication, and trust. Find occasions to get out of the office together as a team to build that connection and add in an element of fun to their usual work routine.
This week, I challenge you to brainstorm ideas for different outings you can experience and enjoy with your team. You can keep it simple and check Google for interesting restaurants in your area and organize a lunch, dinner, or happy hour get-together. Or take it to the next level and book an “Escape Room” adventure, organize a kick-ball tournament, create a book club, or schedule a karaoke sing-off! If you’re on a budget, organize a scavenger hunt, set up some jig-saw puzzles in the break room for the team to work on together, or get everyone outside on a nice summer day for an old fashioned water balloon toss!
FUN FACT: The ‘Escape Room’ has taken off worldwide. It’s a hugely popular activity for families and office groups. There are over 2,800 escape rooms worldwide but it all started in Budapest, Hungary back in 2010 with Attila Gyurkovics opening the world’s very first escape room.