Team building is an area of employee development that is often and easily overlooked, but one that is worth the time and effort. One of the best ways to strengthen your team’s interdependence and familiarity is to do so off-site, away from the day-to-day activities and environment of the workplace.
Building company culture
According to David Wither, a team and startup management coach, most companies say they want an open culture where everyone feels part of the same campaign, but few follow through with it. Going off-site provides people with a safe zone where anyone can share ideas without fear of judgment. “A good off-site can translate to the office because people are able to gain confidence for the first time,” Wither wrote in a July 2016 article for Entrepreneur. “They now know their bosses are serious about being able to say whatever you like.”
He adds that off-site team-building exercises provide employees with the opportunity to come together in ways that would not normally be possible. For example, even in smaller companies, the people at the bottom are unlikely to get the chance to interact with the people at the top. “An off-site serves as a time where people who don’t normally speak can connect,” Wither stated. “This can lead to a closer and more connected company.”
Off-site team building helps break down the wall between management and employees below them, challenging the formality that comes with the traditional corporate structure that many companies are striving to reduce today.
Improving communication and morale
Leaving the office provides opportunities to work on creative and sometimes even messy team-building exercises and projects that would normally not be possible. Unconventional activities help break the routine and engage employees to work together in new ways. “Strange team-building exercises, such as building a contraption to catch an egg from a two-foot drop without it breaking, seems funny at face value,” Kimberlee Leonard wrote in a June 2018 article for the Houston Chronicle’s Small Business. “However, the creative solutions come with whacky ideas, often laughter and a combined competitive spirit.” She explained how this carries over into the work environment, connecting people and improving morale — and thus productivity. In addition, it helps coworkers to learn more about each other’s skills, talents and history, possibly improving the way they communicate toward one another in the future. “A diverse workplace where people respect each other’s backgrounds and opinions lead to better communication and fewer misunderstandings or conflict,” Leonard explains.
Off-site group activities, especially competitive sports, reveal individuals’ true character. “When you put a group of people together that don’t normally have a reason to work with one another, you see natural personalities rise to the top,” Leonard wrote. This provides a unique opportunity to get a better picture of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses than repetitive office tasks ever can, offering insight into their integrity, competitive spirit and ability to solve problems and set goals. “It also allows those with natural leadership abilities to step up and take charge of the activity,” Leonard wrote. This can help you cultivate existing leaders and mentor new ones.
These are just a few of the benefits that come with taking team-building activities off-site. Taking your employees off the work site not only provides a refreshing break from daily routine but is also an important tool to help your employees — and thus your business — grow.