What are your work colleagues like? You know, the people in your office – are they OK? Do you all get on well, have fun together, laugh at lunchtimes and join together on a Friday night in the pub for banter and a weekly de-brief?
It’s true, office dynamics can be complex and tricky to negotiate, the skills of a charming and insightful diplomat are frequently needed by managers. How do you get all those different personalities pulling together in the same direction? There will always be natural competitiveness, some people will be louder and more noticeable, others quieter, but equally talented – how do you manage all that? Are there ways we can facilitate smoother running of our office teams and in turn better our results?
The answer is Yes! These strategies to aid team bonding have more than their fair share of fun attached. Read on for tips on turning warring office factions into total team-playing treasures…
Start a work sports team
As team building strategies go, this is one of the best. Ask members of your team to enrol in a social sports league for regular matches. One of the most popular choices are 5 aside football leagues in London. What’s brilliant about 5 aside football leagues in London is that there are places that do all the organisation for you, all the team players need to do is turn up. This frees up your office team to really relax and enjoy the leisure time together away from the office politics, sharing in a joint sporting venture they all want to win. For bringing staff members closer, encouraging cooperation, empathy and communication, playing five aside football is simply the best.
Choose charity or volunteer together
Maybe your office team prefers less sporty endeavours. That’s OK, there are other ways to bond with co-workers in joint pursuit of shared goals. How about doing charity work or volunteering together? Get together with work mates and decide upon a cause you all feel strongly about supporting, then go for it. Organising charity events, doing sponsored activities and devising new and original ways of raising funds is a fun team challenge, but when it is not connected with work performance/results etc, there’s no pressure. This makes the whole process more fun for the team, puts all staff on an equal footing and creates that office feel-good factor that comes from doing good.
Happy staff make better teams
Take a look at the design of your office space – is it conducive to team work? Open plan office lay outs promote far better engagement and communication between staff. Cubicles are known to stifle creativity and heighten staff feelings of dislocation and disengagement. Hot-desking has been shown to introduce fresh dynamics in the work space, helping to nurture new relationships and connections amongst staff. Don’t let office seating plans become stale, move people around, mix things up and wait to see what happens.
A recreational area that doesn’t feel at all like a corporate space is a great idea. A room to chill out on sofas, watch TV, put together a snack, do yoga stretches – what ever you want to do, will be warmly welcomed by staff. Keep petty signs for staff to a minimum and when you do have to use them, keep them light and amusing in tone. A place where all people feel able to relax, talk and laugh together without feeling overlooked or judged will foster feelings of comradeship that translate into positive team benefits.
Consider making a monthly date with your team. Whether it’s a picnic in the park, the latest blockbuster movie, an art exhibition or something else – there’s no shortage of exciting diversions in London, so a monthly event is simple to arrange. Make a few ground rules at the beginning – everybody has to attend, if there are absentees move the date to a convenient time for all. Open up the choice of dates and activities to the team, taking turns to choose hobbies, themes or interests close to their heart. This not only enables us to learn more about fellow team members, it opens us up to fresh avenues of learning which is never a bad thing.
Turning your office team into winners is not rocket science. As their manager it is your responsibility to listen hard, set up ideal conditions for optimum communication, idea sharing and forward momentum – because that’s what keeps winning teams at the top.