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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Team building activities for world-class companies

Team Building Activities for Growing Companies

Motivating a team to do their best work can be tricky. Providing the tools and resources to achieve is important, but many managers find their teams need an extra push to unleash that extra effort. When teams are given the opportunity to bond emotionally, they actually care about who they’re working with on a daily basis. Caring about one’s team often translates to caring more about one’s work. This leads to increased productivity, easier communication, and a higher level of performance. One of the easiest ways to create an opportunity for emotional bonding is through team building activities.

Different than the typical after-work happy hour, true team building activities allow employees to get to know each other within the context of day-to-day work and build the trust and closeness that makes their job about more than a paycheck.

Here are 3 Team Building Activities that will help you build stronger relationships with your employees and teams.

  1. Shout-outs and Stand-ups 

Shout-outs are simple meetings that let employees recognize each other in public. A simple shout-out meeting might take place at the end of the week. Every employee stands in a big circle, and everyone has a chance to recognize another employee for helping them do their work that week. Allowing employees to give each other shout-outs, in front of managers and fellow employees gives visibility into everyone’s work roles, and helps build trust, empathy, and understanding. A public thank you for a very specific reason can go a long way to help employees feel appreciated and valued.

2.  Recognition Awards

As companies grow and budgets get tighter, it can be difficult to find an impressive way to reward employees without breaking the budget. To combat this, try letting your internal teams recognize the outstanding efforts of their coworkers. Instead of rewarding employees with an impersonal gift certificate or a coffee card, let your teams create a unique ‘prize’ the employee can keep on their desk for the week. Keep things fun and simple, and let the focus stay on peer recognition.

3. Goal Setting Exercises

The best way to encourage your employees to set and achieve goals in the workplace is to allow them to integrate their personal goals into the process as well. Group goal setting exercises help employees share and support each other’s efforts, and help them get to know each other in an easy and relaxed atmosphere. Bucket List’s rewards and recognition platform is a great, low cost way for teams of all sizes to set goals and recognize and reward each other in real time.

Learn more about how Bucket List for corporate teams can be a seamless, low-cost, and fun way for your employees to recognize and reward each other in real time. 


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