You see your employees almost every day, and some of you probably spend more time with them than with your family, friends or significant other.
But beyond all those company brainstorming sessions, marathon meetings and group lunches, you still may not know much about your employees. To change that -- to break the ice and create some common ground -- many companies turn to activities to help their staffs bond and build camaraderie.
The trouble is that those activities foster strong relationships -- an important part of building a successful team -- at a price. Reason: Many of these bonding activities involve snacks and meals that are less than nutritious, and many revolve around alcohol.
And, sure, junk food feasts and trips to the local bar may put your team at ease and facilitate conversation, but there are many alternative activities that can inspire collaboration and bonding without sacrificing health. Here are a few ideas that are fun, productive and healthy.
1. Host healthy office potlucks.
Rather than order a pizza or stock the office kitchen with chips and sweets, consider hosting a monthly office potluck and encourage employees to prepare nutritious homemade dishes and share those wholesome eats for lunch. Kick off a conversation by having employees talk about their culinary contributions, and motivate them to come up with creative, healthy options for the whole group.
2. Volunteer together.
Volunteering can be a great way to bond with colleagues in support of an important cause or worthy organization. Take a poll of employees’ interests and vote on an opportunity that can unify the team and benefit others. Websites like Points of Light and World Vision can help you find an event or opportunity that works for your team.
3. Start a sports league.
What better way to relieve stress, boost morale and have some fun than to team up for a group sport? Pick activities everyone can participate in: From kickball to bowling, team sports can motivate employees to work toward a common goal and experience together the highs and lows of competition. Form an office team and join a local recreational league, or simply create smaller intra-office teams to spark some friendly rivalry.
4. Participate in a walk-a-thon.
Walk-a-thons are an ideal way to bond with coworkers, squeeze in some exercise and contribute to an important cause. If organizing an offsite volunteer opportunity isn’t feasible, your organization can still do some good by planning or joining a charity walk and encouraging friends to pledge donations. Organize your own walkathon or check out this list of charity walks and sign up as a team. (helpful note: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)
5. Organize group fitness classes.
Hitting the gym after work for a solo sweat session can seem like a chore, but group fitness is a lot more fun -- especially with friends. Many gyms now offer an array of group classes ranging from cardio kickboxing to cycling to dance. Calendar a weekly or monthly meet-up for employees to get together for a healthy sweat session either during lunchtime or after hours.
6. Plan a field trip.
The excitement of field trips shouldn’t be reserved for the under-12 set. Getting out of the office and heading to a destination that’s educational, historic or just plain fun can be a great way to engage in new learning opportunities and experiences. Visit a museum, sign up for a city tour or head to your nearest amusement park to give your team a day to bond and get to know one another better.