Team building activities for technology companies
Author: Nicola Lumb | Date published: 31/07/20
Mention these two words “team building” at work and chances are people will sigh coupled with an eye roll, followed by an excuse as to why they can’t make it. That’s because team building activities are often forced upon us and feel like awkward fun. No surprise they have a bad rap!
However, research states that team building is a smart investment for leaders and employees alike, with positive outcomes including:
– Building trust
– Encouraging communication
– Increasing engagement
– Creating happy workers
– Shaping company culture
– Improving group dynamics
– Strengthening morale
– Identifying strengths and weaknesses for individuals
Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks. For technology companies there are many advantages to having a strong and unified team. As well as increased productivity, stronger, tighter teams are harder to break up, and in this battle for tech talent it’s more important than ever.
One single person, no matter how talented they are, can’t possibly cover every part of the organisation; there is no such thing as a Rockstar programmer, but there is such a thing as a Rockstar team.
Don’t create a work-only environment. It’s important to have a little fun too!
Traditional team building activities may not work for your employees, so open the floor up and allow them to provide their own suggestions.
We asked some of our clients in the technology space about the team building activities that their team enjoyed. Here’s what they suggested:
Office trivia quiz
Fundamentally, it’s about seeing who knows the most about your office space. You create a bunch of cards, each containing a question about your environment. It can be simple (what is the coffee machine brand) or requiring some serious recalling (how many drawers are there in total?). It’s a guarantee to get people talking, debating, and ideally, sharing a good laugh about something neutral, yet engaging.
Group size: no limit
Duration: around 30 mins should be good
Best for: breaking up a long day, introducing new employees to the office
Materials: pens, cards
Timelines are a great visualisation tool, and they can also turn into a cool collaborative exercise. By drawing a long horizontal line on a white or pin board, you let people mark important dates for them and their relationship with the company. It can include the day they were hired, their first success at the company, or what they’d like to see happen in the future. Putting time in perspective will highlight different generations, and spark conversation about people’s relationship with the company.
Group size: 2 – 10
Duration: 60 mins
Best for: sharing personal stories, building employee engagement
Materials: pinboard, whiteboard, pins, marker pens
This one might take some serious planning, but it’s a great way to take an afternoon or day out while boosting company morale at the same time. Here at IntaPeople, we created this for our 25th Anniversary, creating a list of things to do and capturing every moment with a photo as evidence. For instance, taking a selfie with a stranger, or guessing clues that lead us to a certain place.
Group size: 3-10
Duration: half day or whole day
Best for: boosting morale, improving employee relationship, discovering the area you work within
Materials: mobile phones for taking pictures, list of tasks
Come dine with me
Just like the TV show, you can recreate the fun and laughs in your office, it doesn’t matter if you have a fancy kitchen or just a fridge and microwave. You can work with the resources you have. In small groups each person makes and prepares a lunch for the rest of the group, depending on your facilities cooking and prep can be done at home beforehand. Everyone eats together and gets to know one another better. You give each meal a score and the one with the highest total wins. How you organise this is up to you; it could be one meal on the same day for a few weeks or a lunch a day for a week.
Group size: 4-6 (but you could organise it like a tournament with multiple groups and the winners from each moving on to stage 2)
Duration: lunch time
Best for: getting to know each other, improved communication
Materials: food and drink
Weather permitted, a sports day is a fun way to get out of the office and have a laugh. Challenge your team to an egg and spoon race, or three-legged race. Depending on the size of your company you could spilt into smaller teams and award points for success in each event. You might find someone has a secret talent you didn’t know about like Jon can balance a beanbag on his head while running blindfolded, or Hannah can do an amazing two-footed long jump. While people’s competitive nature might come out this doesn’t have to be serious, it can just be fun.
Group size: no limit
Duration: half day or whole day
Best for: boosting morale, improving employee relationship
Materials: team colours, hoops, skipping ropes, egg and spoon, cones etc. If you don’t have cones you could always use paper cups.
Team building activities, when done well, can increase team morale and consequently improve productivity. The better people know and understand each other the more effectively they can communicate, which only has positive effects on your business. If you’re struggling to retain your tech employees consider implementing some team building activities to boost motivation. These work best if the employees have input into what the activity is and when.