A few decades ago, before computers became ubiquitous, going to work implied, for the most part, interacting with a lot of people. Some had very physical and even dangerous jobs where trusting one another was crucial. Others were simply always on the move and the nature of their job implied a lot of face to face human contact.
Nowadays, we spend most of the day starring into the screens of our computers and when we take a break we stare into the screen of the smartphone checking Facebook or something like that. Even when we communicate we use e-mail, chat and maybe Skype or the internal chat app. That’s not much of a basis for great communication, is it? That’s not too fun either.
Yet we still need to communicate with ease, have amazing conversations and get to know each other better. It’s much more fun. So we need to become creative and actively organize teambuilding activities. We’re not too fond of the word “teambuilding” though. We look at it more as a way to relax and (maybe) make friends.
So what do we do to connect outside work and why?
- Karaoke – We try to organize as many Karaoke events as humanly possible and everyone is invited. It’s a very relaxing way to be a little goofy within the widely accepted social norms. At Karaoke you need to relax and to be yourself, there’s no room for the “office self” here. Don’t be fooled into thinking we are amazing singers. Only some of us were gifted by the Gods of music, but no matter how well or bad we sing, we always manage to have a laugh and – in between songs – we spend time together and chat about other things than our work. Also, one or two beers will help anyone relax.
- Camping trips – We’re just starting out with this one, but it’s already our favorite. It implies going a little bit out of the comfort zone and makes for superb stories afterwards. You get to enjoy beautiful scenery and some deep conversations around a bonfire. The downside is that not everyone is a fan of sleeping in a tent, so you might not get everyone out there yet.
- Board game / LAN parties & pizza nights – Oftentimes you don’t need fancy events or complex trips to have fun. After a hard week or even a hard day we just order in some pizza and some drinks and stay in the office for a few more hours playing board games like DIXIT (which we always try to have around) or video games like DOTA. Board games are great because they keep everyone engaged, but leave enough time for conversations and jokes, so get one or two for your office and you’ll be surprised by their effect. Video games are also engaging, as communication on the game’s messenger takes openness and creativity to a whole new, unexpected level. And, of course, who doesn’t love pizza and beer?
Sure, we do other things too, like going for a laser tag match, throwing small birthday parties or just going for a drink after work. What do you prefer to do as a team building activity?