It’s enough to strike fear into even the most hardy of explorers. An announcement goes round the office that your boss has organised a team-building weekend. In a field. In Wales.
It’s a sad state of affairs when events meant to bring us together do nothing but induce groans and rolled eyes. The intentions behind team-building exercises are generally good: a company that works together well as a team is likely to work more efficiently and have an improved relationship with clients. Good teamwork and inter-departmental communication also ensure low staff turnover, developing a team of experienced, knowledgeable staff.
It’s true that hardship – whether that involves a tricky problem-solving exercise, or traipsing through muddy fields – is a great way to unite people and build long-term friendships. Unfortunately, most people would rather eat their own foot than take part, and that hardly makes for good morale.
In a recent survey of over 1,000 people, conducted by Vodafone UK and YouGov, 54 per cent stated that undertaking more team building exercises would not help them work better with their clients. Most of these people felt that money would be better spent building a more supportive atmosphere at work.
There are plenty of other ways to improve teamwork and communication. At SilverDoor we hold regular staff events, from summer parties to ‘nights in’ at the office – themed nights with games, food and drink which are organised by members of staff. They lower inhibitions, create long-term friendships within the company and help contribute to our enviably low staff turnover.
But small-scale events can work just as well. The survey’s respondents felt that the most effective team-building exercises were social events, such as going out for a drink or a meal. Smaller organisations might find that just taking employees out for drinks now and again might be the easiest way to improve teamwork in the office. It would also be a lot more enjoyable for all concerned.