Let’s face it, team-building events can be a bit… meh. And for many people, happy hour after happy hour isn’t exactly how they want to hang out with their coworkers. The thing is, it’s healthy to hang out with the people we work with. Research suggests that managers should be spending at least six hours a week with the people who report to them because increased manager interaction could lead to higher levels of engagement, inspiration, and general team happiness. So how do you spread those good vibes to your own employees? Throw more events that aren’t lame.
Start running payroll and benefits with Gusto
To give you some ideas of what to do, we collected a few fun, quirky, and non-alcohol-related team events that you’ll wish you thought of first.
10 ideas to help you plan your next team event:
Hit up a museum (but make it your own)
Take your team on a good old-fashioned field trip. Science museums, aquariums, art museums, and other institutions are all perfect spots to choose from. Many museums offer group discounts, along with activities designed for large groups like art classes and guided docent tours. Call up a museum that’s close by and see what’s going on. And don’t forget the gift shop! A fun idea is to give each employee a little stipend to buy a souvenir, just like they did in grade school.
Go for a walk. And sure, you can call it a hike.
Hiking can also be a synonym for walking, and it’s a perfect way to give your team some fresh air. Find a local hiking spot and pick an easy trail to tackle. The easier the better, since it will allow more people to bask in nature without having to overexert themselves. Stock up on lots of water, snacks, and sunblock to make sure everyone is comfortable throughout the trek.
Create your own personalized card game
Love Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity? Then create your own version that incorporates your team. Include inside jokes, people’s names, and any funny events that your employees can relate to. Send out instructions before the event so people can get familiar with what they’re about to be doing.
Sign up for a team cooking class
Everyone eats, and by that logic, everyone can learn how to cook. During a cooking class, participants all have to create the same dish, meaning that they have to work together to reach that common goal. Choose a class that teaches your team how to make a dish they can use at home. For example, a creative dinner class might be more useful to people than a cookie decorating class—but ask your employees what they’re interested in. Throw in aprons, chef’s hats, and other cooking costumes for a fun photo op at the end.
Throw an international-themed potluck
What better way to spark discussion about people’s backgrounds than by eating together? Each participant should bring a dish that they grew up with and provide an explanation of why it’s important to them. Send out a simple spreadsheet beforehand so there aren’t any repeat dishes. Another idea is to turn the recipes into a mini cookbook afterwards so people don’t have to swap recipes. To increase participation, you may want to compensate people for the cost of the ingredients.
Host a podcast club
If reading a book is too much of a time commitment for your hard-working crew, throw the traditional book club model on its head. Instruct everyone to listen to the same podcast, and then schedule time to chat about it. Come prepared with discussion questions, similar to what you’d prepare for a book club. You may also want to bring food inspired by what they listened to. For example, if you’re listening to S-Town, you could have Southern treats for folks to nosh on.
Visit a guilty-pleasure restaurant
This one is too good not to do on the regular. Survey the team and find out what their top guilty-pleasure food spots are. Think McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen… you get the idea. If there’s one place that comes up a lot, take a field trip and indulge with the crew.
Throw hatchets. Seriously.
Hatchet-throwing is like a more primal version of darts. This new(ish) event craze is exactly what it sounds like. It’s simply a spot where people can throw a large tool at a wooden target and eat food while they’re at it. Folks dig it because it taps into a primal instinct. Plus it’s fun to watch from the sidelines and cheer people on.
Visit an escape room
This event is like a video game that jumped off the screen. Participants have a set amount of time to crack a series of puzzles that eventually lead them to open the door of the room they’re in. For instance, you might get a word puzzle to solve that then leads you to a corner of the room with another clue that takes you closer to unlocking the door. Do a quick Google search to find a venue near you.
Attend a murder mystery dinner
This event allows the team to work together to solve a fake mystery. People usually don costumes and search for clues throughout the event in order to find out who the “killer” is. Do a quick search to find one near you. If you really want to up the theatrics, consider hosting your own event.
When you want to bring your team together, alcohol doesn’t always have to be in the mix. As long as your shindig has a few key elements, the experience should be memorable for everyone involved. So grab some inspiration above, and throw an event that your team will be talking about for ages to come.