Companies are constantly singing the praises of team building. Team building helps your employees bond. It makes them better at working cooperatively and more understanding of each other in the work environment. Team-building activities can be fun, educational and morale-boosting.
All of these things are true. But not all team-building activities are created equal. If you’re planning team-building activities for your manufacturing workers, there are a few things you want to keep in mind:
- You should be able to cut loose a little bit during a team-building exercise, but you still have to respect boundaries. These are colleagues that have to work together every day, so no activities that violate personal space or privacy to an inappropriate degree, and nothing that will humiliate anybody.
- Be careful about performance-based or athletic competitions. Nothing too complicated that will make people feel inadequate. You want the team to shine — not the individuals.
- Employees often like it when they can relate the team-building exercise to their actual work. You can get creative, but keep your audience in mind.
With that in mind, here are some team-building activities you might want to avoid.
Spider Web is an inexplicably popular game where workers are put inside a web of strings and they have to get out without touching any of the strings. It takes forever, can lead to injury and incidental inappropriate touching and bores everyone to tears. A variant where workers’ limbs are intertwined and they have to free themselves without touching each other can be even worse.
Whether it’s climbing a rock wall or actually going out in nature and scaling a cliff, this is the kind of physical activity that can leave some people out in the cold. If you want your team to get back to nature, a nice, short hike is probably better.
Pitting employees against each other in Olympic-style games like tug-o-war or relay races may sound fun, but it can create a spirit of competition rather than cooperation. If you feel strongly about doing team exercises where multiple teams compete to complete a task the fastest or the best, don’t divide them by department. Mix them up into teams of people who don’t normally work together, or at least who don’t work together closely.
If management is involved, make sure they are sprinkled evenly throughout the teams as well.
So what does that leave when it comes to team-building activities? There are still plenty of options. You can take your team to an Escape Room. You can go camping. You can paint together. You can do a minefield exercise, where one person is blindfolded and another person has to guide them through a room or hallway. You can challenge employees to build something, like a tower made of office supplies or the farthest-flying paper airplane.
You can even take suggestions from your employees. Let your imagination run wild — just not too wild!