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For many of us, working from home has been an eyeopener. It’s made us re-evaluate our priorities and, in many cases, spend more time with family.
Add to that, the newfound flexibility and ability to work from anywhere with an Internet connect… at times, working remotely could be (dare I say it?) fun!
But as they say, the fun must eventually come to an end… or does it?
Now that companies are opening their doors once more, and employees are finally returning to meet each other face to face, it’s time to get those good ol’ office dynamics back into play! After all, there is something to be said for peer bonding.
So how can office managers break the ice and get back into rhythm when everyone’s been so comfortable working from behind the screen for so long? The answer is outdoor team building activities, especially in the warmer months.
Why Team Building?
These activities have long been recognized as helping foster teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace setting. (Even kids in the school setting can benefit from this.) Allowing your team to interact with each other in fun, but competitive, scenarios can help build trust and improve dynamics with each other – which they can later apply to how they work together.
Why outdoors? Well, why not! It's always good to have fun under the warm sun and fresh air. In fact, Vitamin D is a natural mood enhancer.
Need some inspiration? We’ve got your covered with our list of outdoor team building activities to get your juices flowing and the bonding started!
13 Outdoor Team Building Activities That Aren’t Lame
1. Beach Cleanup
This is a surefire way to get your team working together for a good cause! Beach cleanups are great because you all have a common goal to work towards.
It's a simple enough task, but with all hands-on deck, it can be fulfilling to see everyone accomplish the goals you set. Plus, Mother Nature will thank you for it too.
2. Cardboard Building Challenge
Technically, this can be done indoors as well, but why stay cooped up inside when you can be outside? Plus, you'll need all the space you can get too.
The concept is simple. Using only a cardboard material, along with tape and scissors, the teams should race to build a structure. It can be a house, a boat, or a table and chair– it's up to you to assign which one they will do.
As long as they build it within the set time, and it withstands the strength test, they will emerge victorious. Communication, delegation, and cooperation will be put to the test.
Not everyone has mad golf skills, true. That’s why a big corporate outing isn’t necessarily essential. Mini golf is a great way to have fun while staying competitive.
You can add special awards to the program, like Best Swing, Best Team Outfit, Most Creative Sun visor, and others. Go big on the mini-golf fun!
4. BBQ Potluck
BBQ is always a great idea! No better way to build camaraderie among colleagues than a relaxing potluck at the park. Gather everyone and their families (if you want) for good food and see them loosen up with each other in no time.
You can also incorporate a little program like an ice breaker, just so you all get a chance to interact with each other.
Here's one that will surely pick up the pace. Ziplining is an adventurous activity, so not everyone might be up for it. But you can still try!
After all, there's still an opportunity for teamwork here, what with all that “Conquer Your Fears” mantras and all. The good thing about this is that you can buddy up.
So those who may not be as cool with it on their own can get up there with someone else. It's a shared experience they can enjoy together!
6. Tree Planting
If that's way too exciting for many in your team, then go for something with less of an adrenaline rush. Like the beach cleanup activity, tree planting is a great way to get everyone involved in the community.
Just make sure to coordinate with your local environmental organizations so you don't randomly plant trees in non-viable areas.
7. Archery Tag
Fire up a little bit of the team's competitive spirit! Release pent-up tension and work up a sweat with a friendly game of tag, but with a twist. This is not your basic game of tag; it's archery tag.
Rules are pretty much the same, except that you'll be using bows and (TOY!) arrows. Points are earned by shooting an opponent, or even catching it midflight.
Score a win when you hit the goal target at the base of the opponent. This means that someone should be defending yours at your camp too.
8. Sports Day
Nothing screams outdoor team building like a classic sports day. You can even extend the invitation to your staff's family members! The games don't even have to be all too physical and athletic, either. Simple relay games, team puzzles, and a main obstacle course can already complete the program.
It's a love/hate thing when it comes to paintball. Whatever their opinion is about it, there's no question that a round or two of stealthy paintball is sure to fire up some friendly competitive spirit for rewards and survival.
10. Charity Walk/Run
Here's another one that's for a good cause. With your chosen charity of choice, your team can hold a charity walk or run event one weekend.
Whether they prefer to run, job or walk, the goal should be to get everyone involved and participating… not only to achieve something together as a team, but also to spread awareness about your chosen charity or advocacy. So thing up a clever team name and start the fundraising festivities!
11. Feed the People
Giving back to the local community is always a great team building exercise. Through a feeding program, your team can have a shared experience of helping those less fortunate.
Outings like this open up awareness to what's going on in society, while at the same time helping fuel one's gratefulness and appreciation for what they do have.
12. Scavenger Hunt (Amazing Race)
Have you gone on a scavenger hunt out in the city? It's not exactly the globe-trotting adventure you imagined a la The Amazing Race, but it's the closest you can get to at this point.
This one takes a lot of meticulous planning, especially involving the clues and the chronology of the tasks. The clues can't be too far apart, otherwise it would be impossible for anyone to complete the race.
But it certainly would be one amazing team building if you pull this off!
Another thing you can all do either individually or in twos is kayaking. There's nothing competitive about it per se, but sure, feel free to stage a race of sorts for those looking for some friendly competition.
The point is for you all to get out there and enjoy some time in the waters. It can be done in the ocean or a calm river, stream or lake.
It's easy enough as a leisurely activity, simply bobbing up and down in the calm waters. It's a good way to get everyone relaxed and loosened up for the weekend.
Stress management is a crucial aspect of being able to produce good work, after all.
Final Thoughts on Outdoor Team Building Activities
It's a great time to be back out and about, so make the most out of it with your team! These outdoor team building activities are meant to foster camaraderie and teamwork that will hopefully translate in the work environment.
This is something that can't be replaced by any virtual activity there may be, as fun and convenient as they are. You can also check out these 15 Leadership SMART Goals Examples for Your Workplace to help you improve the work environment and dynamics… for when the weather isn’t conducive to being outside!