Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Team Building Ideas

    Posted 08-11-2022 12:08 PM
    I work in a small company of 14 people. We really enjoy getting together, having lunch, etc but every once in a while we try to have a fun team building outing. For the past couple years we've held a quarterly golf outing. Half our staff does not play but the other half does. We make teams so its fun and enjoyable for everyone. I'm curious what other team building events you've experienced in your career. Which ones seemed most effective and which ones kinda flopped?

    Nicolai Oliden P.E., M.ASCE
    Roadway Team Leader
    ETHOS Engineers
    Tempe AZ

  • 2.  RE: Team Building Ideas

    Posted 08-14-2022 12:31 PM

    Hi Nicolai,

    My office is about 35 people (though our company is 1000+), I handle all the fun activities and am the "fun committee". 

    My favorite event is bowling. It's indoors and I don't have to worry about weather. Our biggest numbers one has been going to a local baseball game - we can rent a section and get a buffet and then seats. We've gotten 50 people there (with spouses and/or kids). That could depend on how much the local baseball rental spaces are… or if you even have a local minor team. We've also gone kayaking on the Buffalo river past two years with about 20 people (could y'all do the Salt River in AZ??). We did an escape room once when I first joined but we did get to do it during the work day and charge time for it, so I don't think we would have another successful turnout after hours in free time. 

    For in office activities, I've started doing a social calendar. I put birthdays, first days, volunteer events, and then try and sprinkle in fun activities (I look at "national days" a lot for ideas), then I email it out to the office at the end of the month and print it for the break room. A new one that people have liked is a games lunch. So I think once a month I'll bring in board games and people can BYOL and we can play games. 

    we also do the occasional potluck, though that's varied in attendance, with like a cookie potluck near Christmas. And we do a bacon cook off once a year - instead of a chili / specific food cook off, we do bacon so we can get a variety of dishes. I do awards for "healthiest", "most creative", and "best overall". 

    my least successful event is happy hour. I have a heck of a time getting people to attend after hours events casually. I think a part of it is, a lot of our staff lives out in suburbia so they don't want to get home even later. Also I live in the Bible Belt, so we have quite a few non drinkers (though I always pick places with food and apps so I'm not sure how much this factors in). 

    Katie in Little Rock 

    Katharine Bryan EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Graduate Civil Engineer
    North Little Rock AR

  • 3.  RE: Team Building Ideas

    Posted 08-15-2022 10:47 AM
    I've noticed where I work that the best team building ideas weren't actually originating from team building ideas or intentions. Often, coworkers who are already friends decided they wanted to do something, and put an event together.  In the past, I had friends from work coordinate bowling, tennis games, rock climbing days, ski trips, hiking trips, "podcast happy hours" (listening to a podcast and discussing it at the bar), a summer biathlon. I think these were the most effective simply because they were all things the staff had in common and wanted to do anyway.  Granted, this does not include the entire company or a full representation of any one group from the office, but rather just those of us who shared those hobbies (and usually were younger and did not have kids to be responsible for). 

    I would definitely agree that whatever the event, people are more likely to go if it is on company time. Like was already mentioned, a lot of parents (and non parents) have child or spouse-related responsibilities after work that they're going to prioritize over an optional work event.  That being said, I don't think every team building event needs to cover everyone you work with either. It can be okay to tailor a few different events to a few different people who already have things in common or gravitate to each other already. 

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer