A Guide to Team Building

Teambuilding is a useful and effective tool for bringing disparate teams together, to achieve better working relationships and bring camaraderie into the work place. The Venues Collection partner with teambuilding professionals Off Limits to provide teambuilding activities at our venues, either as standalone events or as part of a business event or conference.

We caught up with Off Limits Director, Martin Stephens to gather some expert advice for organisations who may be thinking of holding teambuilding activities this year.

Why is team building important?

“Whatever we do the virtual world will never give employees that face-to-face experience; they’ll never get to know the characters of the individuals they are working with. More and more companies are offering their teams the option of homeworking at least some of the week, so bringing teams together in real life to connect and bond is more important than ever.”

Where do I start?

“An organisation should start by considering who the audience is; what events they enjoy, and how they may react to the team building activity. The first five minutes of any team-build is the most difficult time; employees may be feeling quite cynical and thinking ‘why are they spending this money – what is the point of this,’ or be reluctant or hesitant to join in. This is where an expert facilitator is worth their weight in gold as by the end of the activity, they will have everyone feeling what outstanding value the team building event was for everyone involved!

“Then consider what you need to achieve from the activity, what your desired outcome is and your business objectives. You may just want your team to have some fun, or you may have business objectives or issues to address. Consider how you choose your teams – you may wish it to be completely random, or you may wish to pre-arrange them in order to bring departments together or to break down barriers.  Do try to avoid the internal politics of staff over thinking and assuming they have been put with people that they don’t get along with.

Consider what the company and the teams have done before; is teambuilding an annual activity? If so, what worked last year? How have the teams changed and how have your objectives changed?”

Can I do it myself?

“Of course you can, but you may underestimate how long it takes to organise, and how much experience and detail goes into planning an effective, well-orchestrated activity. We have found that the person who gets allocated the task of organising will suffer with a huge amount of stress, and they will be pulled away from their day job which usually has a negative impact on the business. It’s not cheaper either as the time taken to organise is a big cost to the business, and it may just result in an inferior activity that then doesn’t have the impact required.”

How long should I allocate for a teambuilding activity?

“I think the key thing is that you don’t want it to last too long, because you need to ensure the interest is still there. In general, two to two and a half hours is a nice time for an activity. If a company wanted to hold a full day’s team build, I would suggest that the activity is spread out over two days.”

I’d like to include teambuilding within a conference – when should I schedule it?

“Think about your audience, the event and where you need the energy to be. Distance and home pressures may mean that your delegates arrive late and miss the coffee and bacon rolls and then coming into the conference hungry, stressed, tired and feeling pretty negative about the whole event. The MD’s welcoming address may not go down very well, but if we then storm the room with a high energy activity, get everyone up on their feet and laughing then the day is going to be far more positive. It may be better to finish the conference on an energetic high rather than to finish with a positive note. Just as you would plan speakers and conference activities to help delegates stay energised, fitting team building activities into the most effective places with in a conference is a skill. I’m always happy to chat through ideas and solutions with companies.”

One last piece of advice?

“Don’t make your budget for team-building the smallest budget of the day, because it can have the biggest outcome.”

Thank you to Martin for sharing his expert knowledge and advice. Our knowledgeable team are happy to help and to discuss your team building and conference needs, please contact them on: enquiries@thevenuescollection.co.uk

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