The Importance of Team Building Activities in the Workplace

April 24, 2023
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It’s common knowledge that high performing employees are essential to a successful business. As a manager, supervisor or someone in a leadership role within your workplace, improving and maintaining team morale can have a great impact on the success of your business. One way that you can do this is by understanding the importance of team building in the workplace.

In this article, we will outline what team building is and why it is important. We’ll also look into the different types of team building activities and how they can be used to increase the performance of an entire organisation.

What is Team Building?

Team building is a collective term used to describe various activities that encourage social engagement and teamwork between employees in a business. These activities often involve a collaborative element, which promotes cooperation within a team, as people work together for a common goal. 

We’ll go into more detail about the different types of team building activities later in the article, however, there are five categories of team building. These are:

  • Personality based.
  • Activity based.
  • Problem-solving based.
  • Skills based.
  • Social based.
A team of people gathered to work well together.

Typically, team building helps employees to feel more connected to their colleagues, through the bonds they create and strengthen during the activities. This, in turn, helps to increase employee relationships throughout the business and carries over from the social setting into the workplace itself.

Why is Team Building Important in the Workplace?

Team building has many benefits and, as a manager or supervisor, it’s important that you embrace them. The statistics for team building clearly highlight this too – with a survey revealing that 82% of UK workers want their workplace to provide more frequent team building events.

We’ve outlined some of the benefits of team building activities below.

Better communication

Good communication is essential for great team performance. Team building helps to break down barriers in communication, especially between management and team members. By showing you’re approachable, employees are more likely to come to you with any problems that arise.

Improved team morale

When people begin to communicate better, it dramatically improves team morale. Moreover, it gives staff the opportunity to have fun and relax with their colleagues, which will increase productivity when they return to their work.

For more information on how to increase productivity, check out our article, here.

A better workplace culture

Team building exercises help to break down barriers between management and team members. They also increase the level of respect that staff members have for each other. This helps to increase levels of trust, build better team relationships, and mitigate potential conflict. These all create a much better workplace environment.

A team celebrating.

Improved skills

Team building helps to develop your leadership skills and makes people more aware of their team roles. Certain activities, such as those that require problem solving, highlight both individual and team strengths and weaknesses. You can then use this information to delegate appropriate work tasks, which will improve overall productivity.

Greater confidence

Your employees will feel more confident to approach their peers once they’ve communicated with them. For example, a worker who’s shy and anxious about approaching new people will be more inclined to do so after talking to people during team building exercises. Staff will also feel more confident in their abilities and job role.

For more information on how to motivate your team, check out our article, here.

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Types of Team Building

As mentioned above, the five types of team building are:

  • Personality based.
  • Activity based.
  • Problem-solving based.
  • Skills based.
  • Social based.

Each category has different benefits. The types of activity will vary depending on the category you choose to pursue.

Personality Based Team Building

Personality based team building aims to recognise each member of staff’s personality type. All of your employees will bring different strengths to your team. While some people are more suited to being leaders, others are better matched to being creators or planners.

Understanding the various personality types is essential if you’re trying to bring an effective team together. Once you know the personality types of your staff, you can allocate people tasks that best suit their personality type. You should also discuss personality types with your team and develop the best ways for approaching tasks.

Activity Based Team Building

Activity based team building involves employees completing a series of activities and tasks. Often, teamwork is required from all members of the team to complete and succeed at these tasks.

The successes and the lessons learnt from these activities can be transferred back to the work environment. Furthermore, these activities create new relationships and a new level of closeness between colleagues.

A group working together on an activity for team building

Problem-Solving Team Building

This type of team building encourages people to work together and think logically to solve a problem. The members of a group will receive the problem and have to tackle its challenges together.

This prompts team members to rely on each other’s qualities and play to each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Skills Based Team Building

This type of team building offers employees workshops that help them develop certain skills. Employees are placed into teams to work on developing their skills, rather than being left to develop them in isolation.

These skills can then be used in the workplace and help to achieve the rewards mentioned previously, such as increased productivity.

Social Team Building

Social team building encourages employees to interact in a more social environment. This appears much less ‘try hard’ than other types of activity, and seems just like a social event.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that everyone has different preferences. For example, not everybody drinks alcohol. Activities need to be inclusive and accommodate everyone.

Team Building Activity Examples

There are countless team building activities you could choose to introduce to your team. However, to get you started, we’ve outlined some effective choices below and have categorised them into the different types of activities for your ease.

Personality Based Activities

Personality based activities could involve your team answering a Buzzfeed-esque quiz on ‘Which Shrek Character Are You?’ 

However, if you want to use the activity to better understand the personalities of your team, it’s best to use the verified assessments from professionals. A great example of a team personality test is The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Physical Activities

These types of activities are often outdoor pursuits and could include:

  • Obstacle courses.
  • Climbing, such as a climbing wall.
  • Kayaking.
  • Orienteering.
  • Zip wiring.
  • Trekking.

Problem Solving Activities

Problem solving activities could include:

  • Board games: You could get staff to team up and play a game of skill, such as Articulate or Cluedo.
  • Situational based discussion: These can be entirely made up scenarios. For example, ask a team to decide what three things they’d need in the event of being trapped on a desert island.
  • Cup challenge: For this game, team members must work together to stack cups into a pyramid, using nothing but string and a rubber band. Team members must cooperate with each other to figure out what to do.
  • Escape room: Although these are out of your workplace premises, the benefits are worthwhile. People are placed in teams and usually have 60 minutes to work together and solve a range of puzzles in order to escape the room.
Coworkers doing a card stacking game as a team building exercise

Skills Based Activities

For skills based team building, workshops are a great way to develop and learn new skills. The types of workshop you could offer are:

  • How to positively handle criticism.
  • Ways of delivering feedback.
  • How to deal with conflict.
  • How to host effective team meetings.

Social Activities

Some social activities you can do as a team are:

  • Going for a meal after work.
  • Going bowling together.
  • Attending a pub quiz.
  • Arranging a trip to the cinema.
  • Visit an activities centre such as indoor trampolining.

Again, if you decide on a social activity, be sure to be inclusive and accommodating to everyone on your team.

We hope that this article has helped to explain the benefits of team building. As a manager or supervisor, it’s crucial that you understand how important these activities can be for your team and wider business as a whole.

Further Resources