The Fastest Route to Effective Team Building

It’s no secret that team building activities are a great way to increase employee engagement. While games and off-site activities are an important part of building a great team, if there’s no spark within the 4 walls of the office, your efforts to put a smile on everyone’s face may not add up to much.


A 2014 Gallup poll showed that almost 87% people are dissatisfied with their jobs. It’s never been more important to integrate team building activities into the daily office environment. Think it’s impossible? Think again!


The best companies approach team building from the inside out. They consider how to support and recognize employees seamlessly during the workday so employees need less ‘stuff’ and get excited by the prospect of work itself.


Here are 3 basic strategies to kick up the office environment and have a little bit of fun.



When employees are encouraged to take small breaks to play, great things happen. A recent study from BrightHR showed that employees who have fun in the workplace take less sick leave, are more productive, and actually work harder.


Just as there is structured work time, there should also be structured play time. Giving your team the chance to turn away from their screens to talk, laugh, and joke around can help everyone loosen up and blow off a little steam. Standing up to play hackey sack, batting around a beach ball, or an impromptu dart gun war can provide the most memorable team building activities out there.


Companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines know this, and use humor and fun as the foundation of their business culture. When you need your team to buckle down, consider prepping them for their work by lightening up the atmosphere with some planned fun time.


Create a flexible working environment

A physical work environment that gives employees the flexibility to work where they are most productive doesn’t require cutting-edge architects, designers, or a large budget. By providing cubes, tables, and alternate areas for employees to work during the day, employees can seek quiet when they need focus, or collaboration when necessary.


A 2013 report from architectural firm Gensler found that the most effective workplaces provide a balance of focus and collaboration, and offer employees choice as to where and how they work. The tax services company Ryan follows this example by adhering to a policy called ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) which allows employees to untether from their desks and work wherever they are most productive, as long as they are hitting their clearly defined work goals. By empowering employees to choose the environment that’s necessary to do their best work, they feel supported, empowered, and happy.


Implement a recognition program that works

It’s difficult to build a strong team when it’s unclear who’s doing what. Many workplaces strive to create a culture of transparency, or provide amazing events for employees but fail to reward them in ways that are actually meaningful for them personally.


Being recognized by a manager or leader for good performance is important, but often managers lack the insight of an employee’s peers. A SHRM study found that peer-to-peer recognition is 37% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.


When employees are empowered to recognize each other in front of their peers, a culture of transparency is truly born.


Recognition programs that work are organic and start from the ground up. With a tool like Bucket List, employees can recognize each other for their accomplishments, and companies can reward employees by helping them achieve their life goals.


Learn more about how to create a fun work environment by downloading the free Bucket List report on workplace happiness.

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