Cost-effective ways to build bonds at work
Happy employees are more productive employees.
This feels such a well-accepted facet of business these days.
Employee happiness is considered a key part of building a successful business.
In fact, it almost feels like that statement doesn’t even need a statistic to back it up. Just in case, employee happiness has been linked to productivity increases between 13% and 20%.
This puts employee productivity at the same level as AI assistance and ‘no meeting’ days. And working with people they like makes for happier employees. This will also help you hang onto employees for longer.
Team building is a key aspect of employee retention, with 37% of employees staying in their role because of their colleagues. With that in mind, it’s easy to see that investing in team building, and thus employee happiness, is worthwhile for businesses.
But even with a clear business case, it isn’t always easy to find the extra money to fund ways to bring colleagues together. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of some great team building ideas for small businesses that won’t cost you anything but time.
Read on to discover some of the best free team building activities for small businesses.
First, have a goal in mind
Before we get to the activities themselves, it’s important to have objectives in mind for any activities you choose. Not all team building activities are equal and what’s effective for one business might not work so well for another.
Consider what issues your employees experience at work, or if there are particular skills that you could all do with sharpening up.
Maybe your team’s communication breaks down under pressure, in which case, you’ll want to try activities that help employees rethink how they talk to each other.
Or perhaps they struggle to come up with solutions to unexpected difficulties. It could also be a simple case of wanting people to get to know each other better, particularly if you have a new team or employees have recently joined.
Whatever your aim, prioritise team building activities that will work on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Let’s dive in!
There are plenty of fun and free ways to help your employees connect and learn more about each other.
Rankings is a particular favourite among some of the Findmyshift staff. Simply ask employees to line themselves up according to a criterion you choose. It could be as simple as birth month or as complex as fewest to most countries visited.
Employees then have to discuss their respective answers or values among themselves to work out what order they should be in. This gets people talking, swapping stories, and having a laugh together.
For an added challenge, you can choose something to rank them by without telling them, put them in what you believe is the correct order, and then have them ask yes or no questions to try to work out what the mystery rule is.
Penny for your thoughts
Another simple but fun way to get to know employees is to put a bunch of loose change in a container and have employees draw a coin each. They then have to share a significant memory or life event from the year on the coin.
This is a great way to get to know individuals one at a time, as you can give people time to think and then go around the group in turn.
Team building activities that specifically improve communication can reap dividends in the workplace, and they’re usually hilarious as well!
There are endless possibilities here, but the premise is simple. Blindfold one or more employees, and then ask them to complete a task with the help of guidance from their colleagues.
It could be simply navigating around the office following left and right directions (make sure to clear any hazards out of the way first) or completing a more complicated obstacle course. They can even try a complex activity like putting up a tent to see who can communicate best.
A classic seen everywhere from primary schools to corporate events for a reason, this will get people moving, laughing, connecting, and working together. Everyone tightly circles up and holds hands with people elsewhere in the circle.
Then they have to untangle themselves into a clean chain without letting go of the hands they’re holding. It won’t be easy, but it will bring them together to solve the problem!
Being part of a work culture that they agree with and have helped to define can have a huge impact on productivity and engagement.
Define your purpose
Get everyone together to discuss what your business’s purpose is and how each role contributes to that aim. You can also explore questions like what aspects of the job appeal to people, what motivates them, and how they work best.
Have these discussions altogether or in smaller groups, but be sure to give everyone a chance to speak up and be heard.
We hope these free team building ideas give you plenty of inspiration to take the next step and build a happier, closer-knit team for the success of your business.