4 last-minute ideas for healthier end-of-year team building

As things begin to wind down for the summer break, many businesses of all kinds and sizes arrange end-of-year events to bring their employees together before parting ways for the holidays. Here are some ideas beyond the usual booze-up.

While most people will always enjoy a standard, run-of-the-mill party with lots of drinks and music to celebrate the end of the year, it can also be worthwhile to look at the broader picture and add another dimension to the end of year festivities: growing team spirit.

If you are able to instil a level of togetherness among your team through activities that foster productivity and growth before the end of the year, not only can it bring a positive feeling to your team members as they head off for the summer break, but it can also give them the energy to return with excitement and commitment once the new year begins.

Having worked for several organisations in a range of different roles, I have both taken part of and organised many such year-end, team building activities and have put together a list of some of the best ones that I’ve experienced.


1. Escape rooms


A good way to build teamwork and morale among the crew can be achieved by taking them to an ‘escape room’.

Escape rooms are basically events spaces where a group of people get locked into a room for a set amount of time and left to figure their way out.

Within each room, there are all sorts of themed clues and props designed to help the group unravel a mystery and make their way out of the room.

Such an activity builds communication skills, teamwork, problem solving and spirit among co-workers and (assuming you don’t get too claustrophobic) it is always a lot of fun.


2. Raft building


Yes, you read it correctly. Just like on school camp or in scouts, raft building is great for bonding and, at this time of year, you’re likely to get good weather for it.

These activities often take place on the shore of a beach or a river bank. The team is given pieces of rope, planks of wood and empty drums as well as a 20-30 minute time limit in which to build something to keep them afloat.

Aside from the teamwork and communication skills this type of activity helps develop, another big benefit of raft building is the fact that it teaches the team how to physically survive as a group – and if a group can learn to survive together, they can learn to thrive together as well (just be sure to check with the local water authority and that conditions are suitable for the activity).


3. Exploring the great outdoors


Sometimes, all you need is a bottle of water, a pair of sneakers, some sunscreen and beautiful scenery in order to run an end-of-year activity that brings your team closer together.

One experience that I’ll never forget is a hike I did with a team in Los Angeles, California.

We got up before daybreak and hiked up unbeaten track, which led us all the way up to the famous Hollywood sign. During the hike, our team bonded over stories and jokes while working up a sweat and taking in the breathtaking views.

It doesn’t matter where you are geographically, or how fit your are, spending time together while enjoying scenic views will always bring a work squad closer together.


4. Volunteering for a good cause


Another wonderful team-building activity that can help wind up the year on a positive and meaningful note, bringing your team together to spend a day volunteering their time to assist people less fortunate than them ticks all the boxes.

In a previous role, I arranged to take our team to a local community soup-kitchen and we spent the day cooking, packing and delivering food to families and individuals who, for whatever reason it was, really needed it.

Once the day was over, the feeling of fulfilment, positivity and meaning among the team was palpable, and our team never felt closer than they did that day.

So, if you’re still deciding on what to do with your team as an end-of-year activity (even if it doesn’t happen until January!), and if you can find a way to add an element of depth and meaning into those plans, you are likely to see even greater returns than initially anticipated.

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