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5 Team-Building Ideas That Don’t Suck

Topics: Work Culture

There’s a reason why you find those t-shirts at thrift stores that read “Team Building ’94!” or “Company Outing 2007” — their previous owners wanted them out of their sight. Often team building is almost as pleasant as a root canal: it’s required but it makes you talk funny for a few hours. There are ways to take the sting out of “Mandatory Social Gathering 2016.” Here are a few ideas that you can take to your supervisor before the summer really heats up.

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(Photo Credit: Seeds_of_Peace/Flickr)

1. Learn Something Together

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Instead of some musty ropes course in the woods, why not gather together in a warm kitchen or classroom and get your learning on. Your team can learn some basic adult skills like how to roast a whole chicken or mix a proper cocktail. You could even have an expert come in to the office and teach an afternoon lesson on something special, like the Heimlich Maneuver or dog massages. You never know when a new skill could come in handy.

2. Spend the Day Outside Together

Not everyone enjoys organized sports, even less when you’re an adult and the idea of sweating and puffing in front of your supervisor (or the interns) fills you with a sense of dread. But, I’d suggest that getting a paid day off to spend outside in the sunshine (or the shade of a nice tree) can be invigorating for the spirit. How about an afternoon just lounging around reading some good books together? You can set up some checkers and chess sets and play some games in the fine summer weather. Outdoor time doesn’t have to be kickball and team competitions. It can be a true unplugged vacation from your cubical worries.

3. Eat and Drink Together

Sure, team building at a restaurant or bar isn’t new, but have you ever actually gone somewhere with co-workers that you’d also go … without co-workers? Being able to experience a popular new restaurant or that “everyone’s talking about it” new bar is a wonderful way to build a little camaraderie in the trenches. If you’re tasked with finding a spot for the summer’s outing, try researching with Yelp or your local restaurant review websites or newspapers.

4. Choose Your Own Adventure Together

Too hot to go outside? Seek solace at the movies … with all of your co-workers. Go together, and you can all get a movie ticket to something you’d like to see at the local movieplex. Everyone can pick whatever movie that they’d like to see (within the same time frame that afternoon) and nobody gets to be (too) disappointed. The best part is you’ll all have something to discuss around the water cooler the next day at work. You can even get some jujyfruits and munch to your heart’s content (not like during that stockholder meeting).

5. Volunteer Together

Whether it’s adopting a stretch of road and cleaning up trash one afternoon, reading to cats at an animal shelter, or helping out a soup kitchen — there’s a lot you can do as a group to give back to your community. Maybe next time an outing has to get planned, you can mention to your boss how much your favorite charity could use some help, even just for the day. It’s a great photo op for the company, plus, it’ll be something you can all feel great about in the morning (unlike Team Building 1998).

Tell Us What You Think

What was your best/worst team building experience? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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