As a manager, you know that teamwork is very important. However, with so many responsibilities to handle on a daily basis, it’s easy to get caught up in your work and neglect to foster a team atmosphere among your employees. When you do think about it, the first thing that leaps to mind is usually team building exercises. Unfortunately, employees are finding these forced group outings to encourage teambuilding, such as a taking everyone in the office to a ropes course for the day do trust exercises, trite and tedious. How do you encourage team building in a way that is appealing to your employees and will actually help them to bond?
One way to foster a team environment is through a formal team building setting. If this is the way you want to go, it’s important to being your planning by deciding exactly what objectives you will have for the session. For example, you may be trying to foster interdependence or improve communication amongst your staff. Whatever your goals, you will want to choose an activity that will help you achieve them. To ensure this, you should consider if you want to hire a professional team building facilitator to design, run, and debrief the session for you.
If a professional facilitator is not in the budget, there are plenty of informal ways that you can improve communication among your employees. For example, people often bond around food. Set up a date once per quarter where you have an office-wide potluck lunch. When the weather is warmer, you can even move the event outside and turn it into a picnic for everyone. Another idea is to start a birthday club, where each person who signs up will bring a cake for the person whose birthday is immediately after theirs. In the hot summer months, buy popsicles or ice cream bars for the entire staff and have a little cooling off break. All of these activities will encourage your employees to mingle and get to know each other better, making them more comfortable working together in the future.