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If you’ve ever worked in an office environment and looked around at your colleagues and wondered what they’d be like away from the confines of a rather beige environment then you’re not alone.
I often find myself wiling away a wistful couple of hours considering how my work mates would fair in the outside world bereft of suits, computers and spread-sheets.
Of course, the ritual of ‘end of the week’ drinks at the pub presents a minor insight into a colleague’s life outside of the office although, it’s usual that people tend to stay within their roles i.e. the MD buys the drinks and everyone else laughs at his/her jokes.
Perhaps the only chance that might present itself, that takes you out of the office and some of your colleagues out of their comfort zones, is the prospect of the infamous team building day.
Now, for the uninitiated, a team building day is a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ event which aims to get co-workers out of their usual environment so they can bond as a team and forge new skills, such as: leadership, communication and empathy.
Of course, this still usually involves the MD buying the drinks and everyone laughing at his/her jokes however, there are a lot more activities which often provide some quite hilarious results.
So, if you ever catch yourself wondering what Larry from Accounts would look like dressed in combat fatigues or what Susan from Marketing would do if she was stuck in the middle of some deep, dark forest then check out the team building ideas below as you never know when that email from HR is going to land in your inbox – good luck!
This is an absolute classic in the world of team building and a must for anyone who’s ever wanted to shoot their boss in the face with a semi-automatic weapon. Most of the bonding occurs within the team environment so make sure you get to be on the same side as the movers and shakers. That said, a lot of banter often ensues during combat and many an intern has turned heads after they’ve leapt out of undergrowth and captured the opposition’s flag pretty much single-handedly.
Hoisting, scrubbing and tacking are all essential for a day spent messing about on the water but if you’re really going to bond as a team then make sure you listen to the skipper and do as you’re told as Caribbean bareboat charters these ain’t. Nine times out of ten if you mention team building and yacht in the same sentence then you’re going to find yourself trapped in very close quarters with dodgy Dave from IT somewhere off the coast of Portsmouth. Maybe better to stick with proper sailing vacations with the family instead.
Similar to sailing but you have the chance to escape overboard if things get a bit too ‘bondy’. Raft building basically involves creating something that floats and then making it float in freezing cold water. I think the bonding occurs through lifting empty barrels, tying knots and keeping a tiny hip flask of whisky just in case anyone’s suffering from hyperthermia. I did this once dressed as an old lady – it was the best work-related event, ever!
This one usually sorts out the weekend territorials from the Sunday league footballers and if you get the chance to shout ‘just get your leg over Carol’ then mark it up as a point scored. This event is usually army-related which means there may be a lot of adrenaline-fuelled shouting and don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the top of a cargo net wondering what on earth you’re doing. Aching muscles, bruised limbs and battered egos – that’s team work!
Drinking and karaoke
If all else fails and you have a particularly unimaginative HR department then an organised evening of drinking and karaoke will get you closer to your colleagues than you ever thought possible. From the girls in the typing pool singing a rendition of ‘I Will Survive’ to Martin from laminated flooring getting amorous with the karaoke organiser, there’s a lot to be said for an alcohol-fuelled evening to loosen tongues and let your team know exactly how bonded you wished they were.
Biog: Chris often finds himself wistfully thinking that HR is going to email him with news of a team building event involving sailing vacations in the Caribbean