In a recent NY REPORT survey, we asked readers what types of team-building activities they engage in with their staff. While the most popular response was going out for happy hour or dinner, we received some unique ideas.
“We keep a foster dog in the office and that continues to be a fun experience [for us]... especially getting to know the idiosyncrasies of the dog. We often walk the dog in pairs, which is simply wonderful. Knowing we’re saving a life, and enjoying doing so, is an empowering and bonding experience. In the past few months that we’ve been fostering this dog, I’ve noticed a lot more laughing in the office, and there’s a general ‘lightness’ to the energy of the room.”
—Bara Sapir, Test Prep New York, New York, N.Y.
“One team-building activity I host for companies is a trip to the Apollo Theater in Harlem. After a tour, the group participates in a company ‘amateur night.’ Typically, only a quarter of the group will volunteer to get up and sing or showcase another talent, but the others get to know that fourth much better. And afterwards, the entire group takes the stage and they get to bond over this shared, and unusual, experience.”
—Joseph Rosenberg, VIP Tours, New York, N.Y.
“It gives all of us a more personal experience with one another, and when we are back at work it is always fun to refer to the more human moments we shared. Letting go and having some fun, such as taking a trip to the amusement park, is by far one of the strongest team-building exercises we do!”
—Mardy Sitzer, Bumblebee Design & Marketing, LLC, New York, N.Y.
“Here in Long Island, the power company sometimes asks businesses to close for a few hours once a year to conduct tests. On those days we get every department together for an interdepartmental game of miniature golf. It’s a great time for departments that almost never see each other to catch up and mingle. One specific outcome of these interdepartmental games has been the initiation of Production Appreciation Day. Every department complains about production, but during one of our golf games, we realized how demanding we all are of the production department. So we created a day where all the other departments wait on the production staff hand and foot.”
—Kathleen Gobos, Long Island Business News, Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
When asked to relate the craziest or funniest incident that occurred during a teambuilding activity, many respondents were hesitant about providing potentially incriminating details. Below is just one of the stories we could share.
“Years ago we decided to get people from the company together for a few rounds of pool, which we referred to as the ‘pool party.’ One employee, who was an engineer known for his lack of a sense of humor and general contentiousness, showed up at the meeting location, walked into the restroom, and came out in a pair of Speedos! Needless to say, we all had a great laugh. But, besides being a great icebreaker, it opened up a side of the engineer we’ve never seen before, and from that point on, people were less hesitant to approach him. It led to a much more open dialogue between the departments.”
—Ciro DiSclafani, independent management consultant, South Hackensack, N.J.