When the words ‘team building’ get mentioned at work it can often come with sighs and eye rolls as your employees fear what activity they will be forced to do next. Silence the moans by planning a team building event that both managers and employees will look forward to being a part of. Here are a few ideas for enjoyable team events for all kinds of businesses.

Volunteering

Spending a day or an evening away from the workplace and helping a good cause in the local community can be rewarding in many ways. Your employees get to enjoy learning new skills or sharing their time with others, and they will feel closer as they work towards a common goal. While there are many organizations that specialise in organising volunteering days for groups, you could also contact a local charity or non-profit organization directly. It could be a great idea to ask your employees which project they would like to help most.

Cooking lessons

This is a great activity for your team if you think they don't have much in common or they are reluctant to work closely with others all the time. While we all have different likes and dislikes, most of us enjoy eating so arranging a cooking lesson for your employees could be a great way for them to each focus on their own task but in a group environment. They'll also be learning valuable skills for the workplace; following instructions, patience, working under pressure, multi-tasking. Your employees will really enjoy making new dishes that they can then take home and impress their families and friends with... or they'll enjoy laughing at how awful their food tastes!

Getting active

Taking on a physical challenge in a team can be a great way to see a new side to your colleagues. Whether it is signing up to run a half-marathon together, taking part in an organised assault course or doing something a bit extreme like parachuting or zip-lining, supporting each other through the challenge will help employees feel closer and will boost individual self-esteem. Training evenings can be a fun way of extending the team building beyond one day, and don't forget that not everyone needs to do the challenge; supporters and cheerleaders during training and on the day are just as important.

Treasure hunt

Children love treasure hunts or Easter egg hunts because they have mystery, excitement and you use both your brain and your body to complete challenges and find the treasure. Adults can enjoy them for all the same reasons! While there are professional organizations that arrange treasure hunts in cities, towns or public spaces, organising your own could be part of the fun. Split your colleagues into different teams to who they would usually work with and see new friends form with a bit of healthy, competitive rivalry. It's also a great idea to have prizes at the end for all participating teams, not just the one that found the treasure.

Workplace quiz

A quiz could be seen as predictable and boring, but the right kind of quiz can easily add some comedy and camaraderie to the "same old" working environment. Quick and easy to organise, a quiz is a perfect spontaneous team building event, especially if you link questions to your workplace. Questions like ‘How many windows does the office have?’ or 'What colour is the back door?’ don't rely on people having lots of general knowledge so this will make employees more comfortable rather than pressured to know a lot. Extra points should always be awarded to the best team names, of course.

Murder mystery weekend

If you're looking for something completely different, try a murder mystery weekend. Imagine a real-life game of Cluedo where everyone dresses up and adopts different personas but works together to find out whodunnit. This is a great way to encourage employees to come out of their shells and to completely forget about the workplace for a while - something that has many positives! - and afterwards they will have something to talk and laugh about.

What team building events have you enjoyed being part of?

About the author

Jen Lowthrop is Findmyshift's own all-star writer and a blogger. With more than a decade of experience in volunteer management and marketing, Jen also ran her own local deli/cafe. When not writing for Findmyshift, Jen blogs about her travels at She Gets Around and can be found talking about travel, branding and business on Facebook and Twitter.