Oh Dread! Another Team Building Activity!

What comes to mind when you get a “Mandatory Team Building Activity” email? Excitement? Nervousness? Dread? Gratitude? Memories from the last team building activity? All of these are common feelings shared by people across  the country. Multiple activities have been successful for employees; however, many activities have left employees feeling frustrated, upset, or even more stressed. Here are some insights and ideas for hosting your next team building activity! 

#1 – Nobody wants to come to work outside of work hours, so it’s crucial to have your team building activity during work hours. 

After you have identified the activity, set a time at least two weeks in advance. Set the expectation that the activity is the priority for that time and that other tasks should wait.  Leaders, set the example for this! If your activity is planned over lunch, definitely  provide food!

#2 – Help your local community!

People tend to feel a sense of accomplishment and good value when they do something to help others. Perhaps you could partner with a local food pantry, shelter, or youth organization to support your community.

#3 – Everyone should be able to participate!

Not every employee will be able to go bowling or build a house. Consider the health and physical conditions of your entire team to make sure the chosen activity is conducive for everyone! Asking your employees if they would have any concerns with the activity is always a good idea.

#4 – Go offsite!

Go somewhere that’s ‘outside’ the office! People tend to be more relaxed when the activity doesn’t feel work related, and an offsite location can help accomplish this. If you partner with a local nonprofit for your activity (see #2 above), you may be able to go to their facility.

#5 – Get feedback.

The day following the activity, be sure to follow up with an anonymous survey to get feedback. Every activity has the potential to be a great learning experience that helps shape the next one.

The best team building activities are well planned, inclusive, meaningful, and enjoyable. Set the expectation that the activity is the priority. Do something that helps others. Make sure everyone can participate. And when possible, take it offsite! Finally, make sure you solicit and learn from the feedback. Then, when employees receive the next “Team building activity” email, they’ll be more likely to receive it with great anticipation!


Nate Wesley is a passionate Chelsea F.C. fan and works as an Operations Manager at The Pack Shack in Northwest Arkansas.

He can be reached at nate@thepackshack.org.