Team building: what’s it all about?

Team Building

Wikipedia defines team building as ‘a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks.’

Correct, but let’s break it down a little more…

 

If we asked you to name three things you love about your job, chances are one of your answers will be: “the people I work with” (or something similar). Our colleagues play a huge role in our happiness at work, as well as our productivity. Just imagine how dull it would be if we turned up to work every day, did what we needed to do, and went home having no interaction at all? Boring!

 

A workplace tribe aren’t just a group of employees; they’re members of a family. If your tribe feel comfortable with one another, if they trust, respect and work well together, then your workplace is bound to be a happy and productive one!

 

But you can’t just expect your tribe to gel at the click of a finger or drop of a hat (if only it were that easy). You’re tasked with helping your tribe to connect‚ and that’s what team building hopes to achieve.

 

A team building activity could be anything that brings your tribe together in a sociable way (i.e., it shouldn’t have a work-led objective). A cookery class, an assault course, a quad bike safari, or a Tree Top Adventure at Go Ape, for instance.

 

Of course, for those activities to have the intended impact, there’s one key ingredient that needs to be added: fun! We once read a story about a downright disastrous team building trip, where each employee was made to tell one another what they didn’t like about them. Enjoyable? We think not. Deeply upsetting? Most definitely.

 

When done well (i.e. when employees don’t leave the room crying), team building can achieve many positive things. “What are those things?” we hear you ask. Well, here are three of the most important:

 

Morale = boosted

 

Engaging in activities with a feel-good-factor (such as swinging through the trees Tarzan-style) is bound to boost morale. It’ll put a smile on your face and get that adrenaline pumping, so you all return to the office feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

 

Relationships = strengthened

 

If your company’s on the larger side, chances are different departments rarely get the chance to interact with one another (apart from via email). Team building helps put names to faces ‚ rather, email addresses to faces. And that’s important because it’ll help employees feel more confident and comfortable with one another, which will help improve workplace communication.

 

Strengths and weaknesses = identified

 

Team building activities will require your tribe to do a number of things, including; problem-solve, think creatively, take control, and communicate well. These are all prized skills in the workplace, and so team building activities are a good opportunity to identify which members of your tribe are lacking in certain areas, and to tailor training to help them improve!

 

There we are, three convincing arguments for why team building rocks! If this has got you debating your next team trip, why not come and swing through the tree tops at Go Ape? With 30 locations across the UK, there’s bound to be a course near you!

Our favourite adventurous quotes

Motivation Mondays

Are you having one of those days? One of those can’t-see-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel days?

You’re sat at work, gazing solemnly at your to-do list, wondering how on earth you’re going to get everything done before home time. You can’t find the motivation to tackle even the most menial of tasks, and those five coffees you consumed in less than two hours don’t seem to be having any effect at all.

Does that sound like you? If so, don’t fret, because Go Ape is here to help! We’ve got something (or some things) to help you get out of that rut. What are they? Why they’re adventurous quotes, of course!

There’s nothing like a good quote to put you in a good mood, to inspire and motivate you, and to re-ignite that fire in your belly – don’t you agree?

We promise that the following quotes will do a far better job than caffeine at refocusing and reinvigorating you…

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T. S. Eliot

The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been. Albert Einstein

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls. –  Joseph Campbell

Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less travelled is sometimes fraught with barricades, bumps, and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. Have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect, nothing is and no one is and that’s OK. – Katie Couric

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.  Maya Angelou

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. – Michael Altshuler

I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the wind will carry you. – C. JoyBell C.

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you find you have crossed the mountain. – Anon.

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life and in change there is power. – Alan Cohen

A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are built for. – John A. Shedd

 

Pick your favourite, right it down or put it up next to your desk, and tackle your to-do list again – you can do it.

Take a break

Digital Detox

Are you a serial lunch skipper? You constantly tell yourself that you’ll break for 30-minutes, but the clock strikes 1 and you realise you’re a little behind on work…

…So you power through, scoffing half a sarnie as you smash the keyboard keys with immense speed.

Stop right there! You might think that you’re working more effectively by not taking a break, but in actual fact the opposite is true. Not giving your mind (and fingertips) a well-earned rest has a huge, negative impact on your productivity levels. You’ll actually end up getting less done.

Don’t believe us? Well, we’ve got the stats to prove it. DeskTime, a real-time tracking service that analyses productivity, conducted a study on the matter. It peeked into the behaviour of its most productive workers, discovering that they tended to work for an average of 52 consecutive minutes, and then take a 17-minute break.

DeskTime also uncovered that the employees spent most of those 17 minutes away from their computers. They took some much-needed time out from their screens and returned feeling ready and raring to go!

There we are then; conclusive proof that taking a break is good for you. Look at the clock – have 52 minutes passed? If so, here are some things you could do:

 

Put the kettle on

Time for a brew? Collect your colleagues’ cups en route to the staff room. As you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, why not do a few stretches?

 

Circle the office

A few laps of the office ought to perk you up. Plus, it’s a good chance to catch up with your chums, either about work or what they got up to at the weekend. Spending some time socialising at work will give your mood a boost, too.

 


OutdoorsGet some fresh air

Leave that stale, circulated office air behind and step outside for some fresh air! It may be invisible, but it’s incredibly beneficial to our health and well-being, aiding digestion, improving morale, clearing our minds and helping us to refocus!

 

Take a stroll

Head outside and stretch those legs! If you don’t think you’ve got time for exercise at work, then make time! A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees who exercised for 2.5 hours a week were overall happier with the quantity and quality of their work. Not only that, but they reported increased work ability and took fewer sick days than employees who didn’t exercise.

 

Eat!

There’s one golden rule to staying productive throughout the day: never skip lunch! Lunch re-energises your body and mind, raising blood sugar levels to combat fatigue and boost concentration. Don’t over-indulge though or you might feel sluggish. Wholesome salads, healthy wraps and homemade soups are good brain foods that will keep you full throughout the afternoon. And don’t forget some healthy snacks, such as fruit or some nuts.

8 little ways to make their day

Motivation Mondays

You know what they say: it’s the little things that count.

The smallest of gestures can have the biggest impact, whether it’s your partner cooking dinner when you’ve had a tough day, a friend buying the rounds when your funds are low, or a stranger offering you their parking ticket.

Of course, these small, often random acts of kindness can be just as effective in the office, too! We spend a lot of our waking hours working alongside our colleagues, so it’s important to make time for them whenever we can.

Work can be stressful sometimes, particularly when we’re faced with mounting workloads and pressing deadlines. And it’s times like these when we’d most appreciate a little pick-me-up; a small, kind gesture to put a smile on our faces.

Just imagine if every single person in the office made it their mission to carry out one random act of kindness every day? It would make for an extremely happy workplace and employee morale would be sky high, which in turn could lead to a boost in productivity and lower turnover in the long run.

So, most importantly, what could you do to make your colleagues feel good? We’ve put together 8 ideas to get you started…

(1) Say hello

Some people skip the niceties when entering the office and head straight to their desks, but that can make the atmosphere tense. Always say hello to the tribe when you walk through the doors ΓÇô and smile, too! (You could make like the French and greet your chums with a kiss on each cheek, but we don’t know how well that will go down…).

(2) Put the kettle on

The question, “who fancies a brew?” will be music to your tribe’s ears. Even better if you buy a couple packets of Hobnobs for dunking.

(3) Say thanks face-to-face

An email will never be as meaningful as genuine human interaction; so the next time you want to thank a colleague, do it face-to-face.

(4) Bake some treats

When it’s time for elevenses, surprise your tribe with some homemade treats! Banana cake is our fave, but your tribe might prefer cupcakes or brownies!

(5) Ask how they are

Take a sincere interest in your tribe by having a catch up with each individual and ask how they are, what they got up to at the weekend, and how they’re finding work at the moment. Small talk is never meaningless!

(6) Cover work

If you know your colleague’s schedule is jam-packed but you’ve got time to spare, offer to take on some of their work to help them out.

(7) Recognise and reward

If one of your tribe has gone above and beyond the call of duty, recognise their efforts (by thanking them or telling them “well done”) and reward them! Do you think they’d like an early Friday finish? Or perhaps they’d be more partial to a bottle of bubbly and a bunch of flowers?

(8) Surprise!

Who doesn’t love a surprise? If your tribe have put in a huge collective effort recently, it’s time to treat them! Organise something fun and let them wear their comfy clobber to work, put on a hearty feast at lunch, or take them to the pub for a post-work pint (provided they aren’t driving). Or, why not treat them to a trip to Go Ape? Swinging through the trees, Tarzan-style, while breathing in that fresh forest air…what’s not to love?!

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