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How to Keep Your Employees Happy: 5 Steps for Stress-Free Team Buildings

Claire Sheng on

“Anyone have any ideas for the upcoming Team Building?”

Silence and crickets follow.

We have all been there. Whether you are organizing or attending team buildings, you have experienced the silence and painful begging for ideas from your HR staff/secretary/founder.

Your team is bored. You’ve done everything in town. You are out of ideas.

You are thinking of cutting your team buildings down to once a quarter, instead of every other month.

DON’T!

Team Buildings are important. They open communication channels, (senior and junior staff have a chance to just chat), help new and old team members make friendships and give your team a chance to blow off steam.

Archery Team Building

Why should you listen to us?

We host team buildings every 2 months and try to keep it as open and vocal as possible between the team. We also host mini-team buildings every Friday by treating the team to lunch.

We are a sporty bunch so many of our activities involve sports, nature, open air and new places to explore. If the weather is bad (or the pollution is high) we like to go to places with music, food, billiards and darts. (Sometimes we even partake in some drinking, and occasional tipsy behavior). We have a very international team with different nationalities so we try to pick things that everyone enjoys doing.

Everyone is pretty happy with how our team buildings turn out and we plan them with these 5 easy steps.

Stress-Free Team Building in 5 steps

TOA Team Building

Step 1

Make a note of any persons that have any medical conditions that could limit team building activities (ie. food allergies, old sports injuries, etc.). This way you can make a note to talk to them personally if there is a potential condition that could conflict with the activity.

Step 2

Have a running list of Team Building ideas in a wiki or notepad (we use hackpad), this way you can avoid the crickets in your scrums by offering up the suggestions. Also people can add to the list as they come up with creative ideas.

Step 3

Pick a date and make a budget. We favour Friday afternoons because Team Buildings are a great way to kick start the weekend. Try to allow 2 weeks for your planning so you can get a headcount of who can come. We budget of 250 RMB per person (~40USD), but we often are under budget (more for the next one!).

Batting Cages

Step 4

Once the date is set send an invitation to all the team members, and add it to the your shared calendar. We also create a GitHub ticket with three potential activities and put it to the vote. A week before the date, close the polls and confirm if any girl/boyfriends, or spouses will come. You are ready; make the reservations and book any travel (taxi) accommodations one to two days in advanced.

Step 5

Enjoy! You’ve planned a great team building. Make sure to get feedback from your team. We prefer just to ask on GitHub.

Friendly Advice

Team Building in Berlin at Hermanplatz

It is important to consider the routes, transportation, environment and detailed activity plans in the team building. You don’t want to suffer from tough traffic jam, a long line or unexpected downtime (ie. we were surprised that our Mister X (escape room,) only took 30 minutes per room). Luckily enough, these are easy to plan for with quick phone calls or a search on google maps.

If you do anything that helps your team stay happy share it on Twitter with us.

Here are 33 Team Buildings that your employees won’t hate.

33 Team Buildings that your employees won't hate