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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

4 Off-Sites You Should Plan to Build a Strong Team

friends eating ice cream
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While you may spend a lot of time at work, and with your co-workers, how well do you actually know your team?

Yes, there are the day-to-day pleasantries and chit chat, but what do you really know about the person that sits to your left for 8+ hours a day? Maybe you know their coffee order, or that they have three kids thanks to the photo on their desk.

But it’s time to dig a little deeper. Spending time outside of the office is a great way to get people to loosen up and bond over common interests, find out more about each other, and share in new experiences.

So, whether you’re a team leader looking for ways to boost morale, or you just want to get to know your colleagues better, here are 4 ideas to get you and your team out of the office and bonding:

Keyword: short. Plan a jaunt where you can get there and back in an afternoon. Maybe its to a beach and boardwalk where you can spend a few hours eating ice cream and soaking up some precious Vitamin D. Or maybe its to a hike a mountain (or hill) that’s just a quick train ride away.

Wherever you live and work, we’re willing to bet there is someplace worth exploring within an hour or two. Go there, enjoy being out of the office, and get to know each other in the great outdoors.

Want to spend your team bonding day doing something good for the community? Well, you’re in luck because there’s no shortage of opportunities to give back. Assemble at a nearby park or beach and clean up debris. Volunteer for a day with Habitat for Humanity. Work with English as a second language students on their reading and writing skills.

See what’s needed in your community and then check in with your team. Someone could already have an affiliation with a group that needs help for the afternoon, or a team member may have an organization in mind that they’ve been meaning to reach out to. Start there, and see where you’re philanthropy takes you.

Rally the troops for an out-of-the-office activity and get the blood flowing. If your team is big enough, organize a sporting event that can be done at the local park (and make sure to allow people to be cheerleaders, too!). Or plan an outing to a bowling alley or Top Golf, where you don’t need a certain number of people, or to be any good, to have fun.

If you’re not the sporting type, try Escape the Room, or a similar challenge-based class which requires no athletic ability.

Depending on the size of your team, try bonding over a shared interest. If you’re a marketing team, check out a class on social media. Or if you really want to leave work behind consider a hobby-type class. Maybe you’re a team of 4 and everyone wants to improve their photography skills. Class options are endless, so there’s bound to be something that excites everyone.

Here are a few more ideas:

  • Fitness class (yoga, spin, boxing)

  • Painting class (they usually include wine, too!)

  • Cooking class

Bonus: Put Together a Scavenger Hunt

So, this one will take a bit more planning which is why it’s a bonus!

Consider having everyone on the team choose one thing that people must find out in the wild (or city, town, park). Or, appoint a commissioner who is in charge of planning and enforcing the rules on the day of. Once the parameters are set, let everyone loose armed with their cellphones to take pictures of their findings. Set a final meeting point and time, and award a prize to the winner. Bonus points if your scavenger hunt has a theme.

Tips for Getting Everyone Onboard (and Excited!)

If everyone on the team feels included, it’s much more likely they will be excited come outing day. So, suggest a few ideas at your next team meeting and see what sticks, or send out an anonymous survey so people feel comfortable sharing their opinion.

Bottom line: you want this to be for your team and not another thing that they have to do, so keep their interests in mind. And don’t forget to plan your chosen activity with at least a few weeks in advance, especially if it requires time outside of work hours. Now, get planning!