Team-building activities help workers learn about one another and bond. The hope is that the information gained and camaraderie created will positively influence daily office life. But not all employees are willing participants and may see "forced fun" as manipulative or a waste of time. Here's how to get more workers on board:
Hold activities during office hours
A weekend BBQ may sound like a good idea to you, but employees may not be thrilled to give up their free time for a work event. You may get a more enthusiastic response when people get to leave their desks for a Friday afternoon pizza party. If something is held during non-business hours, consider welcoming spouses and kids so that employees do not need to sacrifice family time.
Seek employee input
Work on a community project? Go on a weekend retreat? Bring in a motivational speaker? Instead of guessing what workers may like to do, simply ask. People are more likely to take an interest in activities they help plan, and generating ideas can be a team-building exercise.
Create natural scenarios for interaction
Some employees may feel awkward about participating in games or outings. Instead of turninginto a production, create situations where workers can come together on their own terms, such as a break room with comfy furniture, an ongoing jigsaw puzzle and a beverage-stocked minifridge. Hang a dry-erase board nearby for colleagues to leave one another friendly messages or map out a great idea.
Explain the activity's purpose
Remember that most employees feel pressed for time. Being taken away from duties to do something they see as silly can lead to resentment, so be sure to clearly state intentions. Let them know you think forming a team for a charity run will bolster community relations or that creating an online chat room for your group will encourage collaborative problem solving. Knowing that you are trying to further company goals can make participation more palatable.