More and more research is showing that by developing psychological safety within the workplace, the more productive and impactful your team will be. Recent research by Google, in fact, suggests that this sense of safety and comfort in a team is more important than the skills that each member bring to the table. Yet, very few workplaces invest the time and resources needed to ensure that teams are able to bond outside of the office. Often companies aren't sure how to go about developing the sort of psychological safety needed to have effective teams. Luckily, with the rise of this research, more and more companies have emerged to help businesses foster team building in their companies. And if you think that they involve the same tired, old retreat games, you are wrong. There are many fun, fresh new ways to help your teams bond and become more effective at working together. If these were around when workd you bet your bottom dollar they'd be at the top of my team building list each quarter. The best team building experiences are those, which allow team members to work together to think critically about how to solve a problem that is completely out of the realm of their actual work. By working together to figure something out that is a little fun or silly, but challenging nonetheless, teams learn to let down their guard and trust each other. Here are just 3 innovative activities being used by companies in the U.S. to foster team building, which do all of the above.
Cooking is a great way to build community among your employees. Because cooking is probably very different than the work that your team is normally engaged in, it will get some people out of their comfort zone and give others the chance to shine in a new and, possibly, surprising, way. Many companies, such as Cozymeal (located in California), offer cooking experiences for teams, which allow groups to make a gourmet meal together, with guidance from a professional chef. The team must assign roles and set out a strategy to ensure that everything goes according to plan. At the end of the challenge, the team gets to sit down, relax, and enjoy the meal that they just cooked together. The activity can be customized to teams and incorporates a challenging goal, role clarification, strategic communication, and problem-solving.
For teams that are interested in more of a thrill, try an Escape Room team building activity. Escape rooms are all the rage at the moment and almost every major city has one. Many people go on their own with a few people, but you can arrange for large groups to come experience this fun activity as well. In an escape room, participants are locked in a confined space and must work together to find clues and solve puzzles that will allow them to break free. This activity encourages teamwork under pressure in order to reach the common goal of getting out. Often escape rooms are also filled with scary surprises and chilling music to give the atmosphere a spooky atmosphere and your team a sense of urgency. You can also have more than one group participate in a timed competition. This activity is a great way for teams to work together and have a good laugh once they are out.
For a truly action-packed team building experience, your company might consider an exciting scavenger hunt. Now, before you think that this concept is in any way antiquated, think again. There are a number of reputable companies that specialize in creating custom scavenger hunt activities for groups. You can find activities that take place in a particular city or neighborhood, museum, theme park, or zoo. You can even find pub crawl scavenger hunts! This type of team building activity will usually take an entire day and involve a lot of challenges. Most scavenger hunts involve a set of clues that teams must follow until they reach the end. Usually, teams compete to see who can finish first. There are also side competitions as well for best photos throughout the competition. For companies looking for a great day of active team bonding, a scavenger hunt is definitely the choice for you!
Each of these team building activities provides groups a chance to bond and foster psychological safety, which will translate into more efficiency in the workplace. Your teams will have the chance to do something out of the ordinary and come together in a unique way that will translate into results for your company.