No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it. – Halford Luccock
In a study conducted on collaboration and team dynamics, 54% of employees attributed a strong sense of community – provided by a healthy work dynamic with their team – to working for the same company for longer periods of time.
It takes consistent effort to build camaraderie between the members of a team and research indicates that these efforts, over time, add up to provide significant results that increase the overall well-being of the team and lead to better problem-solving skills, decreased burnouts, and increased productivity.
In today’s post-pandemic world, where hybrid workspaces have become the norm, many people are going back to offline modes of working after a gap of nearly two years. Team members, especially those who haven’t interacted with their colleagues offline during this period, might find it challenging to adapt to this change. Here are a few group activities that can break the ice and create bonding opportunities for people to get to know each other:
- Teams that eat together, work together. The act of sharing food helps increase trust and cooperation between people. From organizing bi-monthly potlucks based on a particular cuisine to planning monthly lunch or coffee outings with the team – get people to ‘break bread together.’ It’s an aspect of office social life that many people missed when they were limited to remote work during the pandemic.
- Score high on gaming. A study by Brigham Young University shows that groups who played just forty-five minutes of video games together were 20% more productive than groups who engaged in traditional team-building Playing together helps teams build greater cohesion. To get started, you could organize simple activities like sketching, acting, or singing games, which provide rich opportunities to build social connections. You could also plan a football or basketball match with your team to bring in the weekend on a fun note.
- Open up to the outdoors. In the aftermath of COVID-19, some people could be nervous about joining group activities conducted indoors. Ease their concerns by planning an outdoor activity. Organize a trek, a kayaking or fishing expedition, or even a day at the beach or the local park. If there’s enough time to plan ahead, you could also consider camping or a weekend bike ride. Such activities offer people the chance to unwind and build diverse experiences together.
- Spot the talent. While you’d like your people to bring their whole selves to work, the demands of the daily office routine leaves people with little room to discuss hobbies or showcase their non-work-related skills. Offer a platform to bring out the lesser known side of your people. For instance, LinkedIn’s open mic nights helped their employees to discover each other’s hidden talents and interact in an informal environment that encourages diversity. You could make such experiences richer by choosing a different theme each time, ranging from mental health to music.
Teams achieve goals when their people collaborate in an atmosphere of trust and empathy. Which other fun activities can teams take up to foster such trust and camaraderie amongst themselves? Write in with your suggestions.