Arranging an effective team building day out of the office provides opportunity to improve relationships between team members, letting them work more efficiently once back in the office.

However, its not uncommon for employees to be put off by the idea of a team building away day. The prospect can be daunting. Wyboston Lakes, providers of conference venues in Milton Keynes, have revealed their 4 top tips to ensure your team building away day is fun yet effective:

1. Being clear on outcomes

There are numerous benefits that came come out of team building away days, but you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. If not, your efforts may well be wasted.

Common aims include:

• Encouraging employees to work better together towards a common goal.

• Helping employees to understand one another.

• Allowing employees to learn about each other’s strengths.

• Improving employee communication between one another.

• Understanding team dynamics.

• Addressing sensitive issues within a company.

• Preparing employees for the introduction of a new project or changes to the company’s vision, mission budget and/or values.

Concerned that you will struggle to keep the day concentrated on the issues that you want to target? Have an independent facilitator on hand throughout the experience and they will be able to ensure time is well spent and every employee participates fully in the event.

2. Less is more

Activities do not need to be massively complex and expensive to be productive. While it is recommended that you choose a setting that encourages a peaceful and relaxing mood — think a countryside retreat — the activities involved can be free and easy enough to organise.

3. Do the circle of questions activity

Great for… an icebreaker

For groups of between… 6 and 60 people

Duration of the activity… 15-30 minutes

Step-by-step guide to setting up the activity…

1. Split the group into two equal teams and name them Team A and Team B.

2. Ask Team A to stand in a circle facing outwards, before asking Team B to form a slightly larger circle around Team A which is this time facing inwards.

3. Once formed, each colleague in Team A will greet the colleague that they are facing in Team B before asking a pre-determined question. These queries should always be open — there should never be any right or wrong answers — and examples could be:

 How did you get to the team building away day?

 If you weren’t at the away day, where would you likely be?

 Who influences you in your work?

 What is your idea of success?

4. Once the question has been asked by Team A, the colleague in Team B will have a maximum of 30 seconds to give a response.

5. After this time, the colleague in Team B will ask the same question to the colleague in Team A. They will then be another 30 seconds maximum for a response to be given.

6. Following this, Team A will move one place clockwise while Team B will move one place anticlockwise. Steps 3 to 5 will then be repeated, asking a different question at each rotation.

4. Do the blind wine waiter activity

Great for… team building and improving communication

For groups of between… 6 and 60 people

Duration of the activity… 30 minutes

Step-by-step guide to setting up the activity…

1. Split the group into teams of at least six people and ask each to elect a leader.

2. Every person bar the leader of each team should then be given a blindfold, which they are to put on before the activity begins.

3. Once all the blindfolds have been fitted, each team leader will then take a seat that is close to the rest of their team and sit on their hands.

4. Safely position one bottle of wine, one wine glass and one corkscrew per team at various locations.

5. The goal is for each team to locate each of the three items and then pour their leader a drink, while abiding to the following rules:

 The leader can direct the other team members to items, but they cannot move from their position or use their hands at any point during the activity.

 Each team member is only allowed to use their writing hand throughout the activity.

 Each team member can only complete a maximum of one task from:

• Bringing the bottle of wine to the leader.

• Bringing the wine glass to the leader.

• Bringing the corkscrew to the leader.

• Task 4 is for the bottle of wine to be opened, the wine poured into the glass and the drink to be consumed by the leader (as the leader cannot use their hands and each team member can only use their writing hand, two team members will be required for this task).

6. The winning team is the one who’s leader successfully tastes the wine.

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