Team building is part and parcel of the corporate business world. The exercises employees are expected to do are as much part of the job as the job is itself. The world being what it is though, it’s a jolly good idea to essentially have a day off work, get paid and to do ridiculous things that you would never pay to do yourself. Or quite frankly couldn’t afford to do even if you wanted to. Have you checked out the price of paintballing recently? There is also the benefit of having a captive group as it were. Trying to organise a round of gold with friends can take weeks of planning as weddings happen, in-laws visit, and romantic breaks get in the way.
No-one escapes the team building days courtesy of the wage payer, so there are always more than enough people to play a game of Victorian theme poker. Or twister. Corporate events that build colleague morale are an ideal way to keep a lid on office politics and keep workers feeling like humans. Being able to socialise and have a laugh with the people you spend most of your waking hours with is essential bonding. There are lots of different packages out there to entertain a group from five to five hundred and plenty of companies that can guide you through the maze of packages available. From days at the races to game show competitions, there is something to suit all tastes and abilities.
One of the most memorable and productive team building exercises I have taken part in was a Takeshi’s Castle type affair crossed with It’s a Knockout. Enduring a two hour coach drive to a field in the middle of nowhere was a great way to build up enthusiasm and all that sitting down provided plenty of energy to burn off. Given that all of us worked in an office environment, the most activity we all got at the same time was raising arms in unison whilst having a mid morning coffee. And obviously exercising the lungs with a quick gossip by the water cooler! We knew this was going to be a novel experience as well as a physical challenge.
Once we arrived we had to split into teams of four and get swaddled up in protective head gear and plenty of padding. This more or less acted as the ice breaker between us all, putting us all on the same level of looking less than sophisticated. The challenges arranged for us were Sumo wrestling in inflatable sumo suits, jousting an a spinning slippery padded pole,go cart relay races and the like. Tiring stuff especially as the laughter is inevitable. These activities definitely worked to bring colleagues closer. As we plotted and schemed and planned our tactics, we formed a bond and understood a little bit more about each other.
I can definitely see how this can transfer to the workplace in as much as realising fundamentally where each person is coming from, how they perceive a challenge and hoe they formulate a plan to achieve a goal. Understanding personalities comes out too. With no professional image to keep up, which is difficult when you’re covered in foam and trying to stay on a bucking bronco, hair was let down and laughter flowed.
Outrageous things were said and jokes were made. Trust was found and friendships were formed. We really got to know one another, and I suppose that is what you need in a team that has to work together on a daily basis. Contrary to my initial beliefs, corporate team building exercises are not just about appeasing office minions; it is about giving opportunity a great big kick start to make everyday life a more pleasurable place to work.