Here’s the thing about team-building activities: Outings like ropes with trust falls might have made them a bit of punchline, but they’re actually pretty vital to creating a strong, cohesive unit.
Of course, you’re not going to take time every week for an offsite activity, but there are things you can do weekly or even daily to make your team as solid as possible. Let’s take a look at some of your options:
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1. Standup meetings
If you’ve never had a standup meeting and you aren’t sure what they are, well, they’re exactly what they sound like. By design, these gatherings are meant to be brief (10 minutes or fewer) and efficient, and they’re a great option for things like daily status updates.
2. Laptop-free meetings
Sometimes it’s helpful for everyone to bring their computers to a meeting, and other times it’s just a huge distraction, making things take longer than necessary because no one is fully present. Instead of a regular one hour long meeting, try planning a 30-minute, laptop-free huddle where you and your team can plow through your agenda without interference.
3. One-on-one check-ins
If you’re only getting together with your team members as a group, you’re missing out on an opportunity to really get to know what’s going on with them. By holding regular one-on-one meetings with each of your direct reports, you can get a better sense of issues they’re facing (whether it’s with a project or a coworker) and how they’re feeling in their role. It’s also a less intimidating setting to discuss ideas and just get to know each other better. (And it’s a great employee retention tool.)
4. All-hands meetings
As companies grow their staff and expand their reach, it can be difficult to keep up with what everyone else is doing. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, regular all-hands gatherings are great for getting the whole staff up to speed on company news and initiatives. Plus, having everyone physically gathered together, learning about plans and accomplishments, can be a powerful morale booster.
5. Team-building activity
Again, it’s not just ropes courses. There are tons of options for out-of-the-office activities (like citywide scavenger hunts and escape-the-room games, to name a few) that boost teamwork and hone problem-solving skills while helping your employees get to know each other better.
No matter what activity you choose, the important thing is that you leave your place of business. There’s something about getting out of that environment that helps people relax and see each other in a different way.
6. Social outing
Sometimes the best way to strengthen your team is to just have fun together. Whether it’s a trip to a museum or the park, or just a lunch or happy hour at a local establishment, it’s important to give your team the opportunity to get to know each other outside of the work environment. Try to find something that everyone will be interested in (you want them to be excited about this and not see it as just another work obligation), and try to keep things light.
7. Service project
Creating a strong team isn’t about being totally insular. Find a local charitable organization whose mission resonates with your team members and your business’s brand or mission. Then work together to come up with ways to help, whether it’s a one-day volunteering event or a longer-term project. No matter what you choose, having your team members look outside themselves and their daily routines will give them perspective.