5 Inexpensive and Effective Team Building Ideas

06/26/2014     

The benefits of regular team building are well documented, from increased productivity and better communication to more team support and less conflicts, but how do you make them a priority without breaking the bank? The standard of getting drinks after work can get old (and pricey) pretty quick. Not to mention, you can lead your co-workers to a happy hour, but you can’t make them mingle. Mix things up with some creative yet inexpensive team building ideas.

Volunteer as a team. Working together for a higher purpose not only lets co-workers see a new side to each other, but being able to give back can provide a strong sense of belonging within a company’s surrounding community. “I love the idea of combining a fun outing and giving back,” says Christa Foley, Senior Manager HR & Zappos Insights. “It’s the embodiment of doing more with less and building a positive team and family spirit combined. Having a great time doesn’t have to cost a ton of money.” Zappos encourages team building through Core Value #7, Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.

Do a scavenger hunt. Using local favorite places and pairing up people who don’t know each other as well can result in good times and good memories. Use white elephant gifts as prizes for participants as fun reminders.

Themed potlucks. Contributing to a potluck doesn’t have to cost much, and having a theme of favorite childhood food or best hangover cure usually coaxes out some great stories to get to know everyone better.

Host a game day. Having a team member host at their house adds a personal feel and more relaxed setting than the office or a restaurant. Card games or classic board games provide a (hopefully) friendly sense of competition. (:

Add a twist to an old favorite. There’s nothing wrong with a well-deserved happy hour or team dinner. Shake them up with previously collected trivia questions and answers about everyone. For the more daring, pair together actions with reactions. For example, every time someone uses their fork, someone else has to scream “TOUCHDOWN!” The results are unforgettable as team members try to decipher which action is triggering what reaction.  

Take turns picking an activityYou won’t always be able to please everyone, so letting each team member choose an activity allows them to express part of their personality and helps the team get to know each other in a new way.

Plan events during business hours when possibleIt may sound like common knowledge, but is a good reminder that while there are fun options outside of a typical work day, asking employees to participate outside of their schedule can add additional stress to already jam-packed weekdays and should be done sparingly. 

Author: Erica Spelman

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