5 Offsite Team Building Ideas That Don't Suck!
Apr 04, 2023 · 8 mins read ·Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Employee Retention
Team building. Two little words that can fill an employee with fear. But, truly, team building doesn’t have to be something that everyone dreads. People shouldn’t have to automatically go into flight or fight mode and try desperately to think of an excuse to get out of it. But how do you make sure your people embrace your company’s team building exercise with open arms?!
You might have already read our blog post 5 Team Building Ideas To Do in the Office That Don't Suck! In which we gave you some fun and easy ideas for ways to get your people to bond without having to leave the office.
These included games, brain teasers and challenges where people have to work as a team, as well as a good old fashioned team lunch - with a difference.
So off the back of that, we thought it might be a nice idea to look at some other cool team building exercises that will take you further afield. Let’s get into it!
5 offsite team building ideas that don’t suck!
Let’s face it, as HR, you put a lot of time and effort (and the company probably puts a fair amount of money) into team building exercises - especially if they’re offsite.
Read more: 9 Awesome Ideas for a Team or Company Day Out
And the last thing you want is to hear people complaining about having to participate. Or even calling out sick that day. After all, the entire purpose of team building is to bring people together, to encourage employees to bond and for everyone to have fun.
So what doesn’t suck?! Here are a few ideas you might like to think about the next time one of your organization’s leaders utters the sentence “Can you think about arranging some team building exercises…”
1. Airbnb experiences
We’ll be the first to say it, Airbnb is coming under fire of late - mainly for some of the ridiculous demands made by its hosts, which include everything from excessive cleaning fees to guests being fined because they didn’t leave the pillows nicely arranged.
However, one thing that you might like to try is Airbnb’s experiences. You can pick your country and then search by city - or just browse all and see what’s on offer. For example, in the USA, you’ll find everything from kayaking at night in Fort Lauderdale to Las Vegas club crawls.
The other great thing too, is that if you’re fully remote but still want to create an opportunity for your team members to bond, Airbnb also offers online experiences, meaning everyone can log in and follow the same activity - cookery classes seem to be a popular one!
2. Company BBQ or picnic
This one is as old as the hills, but it’s a classic for a reason. It’s relatively simple to throw together too. Decide upon your guest list: A specific team? A department? The whole company? And then consider whether or not you want to open it up to their immediate families.
Then pick a place. Maybe it’s somewhere close to the office. Or, if you have multiple locations, choose an area that’s roughly equidistant so that hopefully everyone can make it.
All that’s left to do then really is decide whether you want the event catered or if it’s to be a potluck style picnic, or if people should bring their own meat, meat alternatives, sides and drink for a BBQ.
3. Escape rooms
Okay, how can we not mention escape rooms? While no longer the fad they were when they first hit the scene, escape rooms can still offer a great team bonding experience.
In fact, they’re pretty much perfect as a team building exercise as they check all the boxes. Escaping from the room will quite literally require coworkers to collaborate and they’re great for allowing all personality types to shine too.
Many employees will throw their hands up in horror at the thought of an outwards bound course, ziplining or obstacle courses - and that’s fair. Not everyone is athletically inclined. Plus physical exercises aren’t exactly inclusive. The escape room, however, gives everyone a chance at cracking the mystery.
4. Food trucks
Who doesn’t love a food truck? Whether tacos are your thing or hot dogs float your boat, renting a food truck for the afternoon is a great way of letting people blow off some steam, enjoy some great food, and get to know one another.
Best of all, this is really easy to arrange. All you need to do in HR is Google some local suppliers and book them for a couple of hours to come park up in your company parking lot.
Pick a day when you know the weather should be good - preferably a Friday afternoon when everyone’s feeling a little more related anyway. You could also hire some benches or bales of hay so people can really relax.
5. Volunteering projects
By now it’s a well known fact that millennials and Gen Z like to work for companies that they feel their goals and ethics align with. They like businesses that give back and have a purpose other than just turning a profit.
So what better way to get this demographic to bond with their coworkers than organizing a community volunteering project? And it’s not just limited to your younger members of staff - employees of all ages will enjoy the warm and fuzzy feelings that doing good brings - all without having to give up their own time and money to do so.
And let’s face it, being involved in community projects isn’t going to hurt your brand image either. Potential clients or customers will be impressed, suppliers and partners will be lining up to work with you and potential candidates will view you as a great place to work.
Why is team building important?
Strong teams bring about better results. Team building might be fun and while escape rooms will encourage people to work together, even something as seemingly ‘frivolous’ as a pizza slice truck in the parking lot has its benefits.
Employees who’ve never really interacted might find themselves in line together and may spark up a conversation. It could be about something personal - and they might find they have friends or interests in common.
Or it could be about work - and the seeds for a great new idea could be sewn right there and then.
When your team building efforts are a success (because they don’t suck!) the end result will be happier, more engaged and more productive employees. And that’s good for your employee retention rates and for your bottom line.
I'm a UK-based content writer here at Hezum. I've an interest in all things HR and company culture.