Top reasons why companies need teambuilding

Good for employees, good for managers, and good for the company – team building isn't going anywhere, but there is an art to it. We asked Danny Horwood from Foxtrail London, who offer an innovative scavenger hunt designed to get groups working together, to share his insight into effective team-building and its many benefits.

Companies are spending around £305 per employee on activities designed to boost morale. Not sure whether team building is worth the investment? These are just some of the reasons why team building exercises work, and why you can't afford not to get involved.

Getting to know each other

Although we spend 3,507 days of our lives at work, it can be difficult to get any quality time with the people we're there with. This could be due to the company being divided up into different teams or spread across multiple floors, making face-to-face communication difficult. It could simply be down to us having such busy workloads. Either way, work can be a lonely place without friends.

Team building time is an opportunity to talk about something other than work and get to know each other's likes, dislikes, and personal interests. While it can be tempting to centre team building exercises around developing professional skills, it's just as important to socialise. Bonding this way boosts morale in the office, which can have as much of a positive impact on productivity as training sessions. Staff that have time to bond find it easier to work together because they can collaborate on issues, finding solutions to difficult problems by utilising each other's strengths and weaknesses rather than tackling them alone. Plus, they won't be as scared to ask each other for help — it's much easier to ask for a favour from a friend.

Try this: Make team building feature regularly on the office calendar by having out-of-office meetups little and often rather than just one scheduled event in the summer. It keeps the positive vibes going and means that there are more opportunities to attend, which is good for new starters and employees who have commitments outside of work.

Getting to know management

Just like asking a co-worker for help, team building can make it easier for an employee to speak to someone higher up if they're struggling. They're much more likely to access training or support that can help them overcome an obstacle if they feel comfortable talking to management, and team building is a great way to break down barriers between employees and employers.

If a team gets to know management better on a personal level, they may also be inclined to work harder. Their commitment to their work can increase if they're more aware of the repercussions and rewards that might not directly affect them but apply to their managers instead, as long as both parties feel respected.

Try this: Involve staff in the planning of team building events. Effective team building exercises can feel like a reward given in return for hard work, especially if they're fun and take everyone's preferences into account.

Get to know company culture

A company's approach to team building and the types of activities it chooses help employees to understand its mission, values, expectations, and goals. By working regular team building into company culture, employees think of themselves as integral parts of the company and as such become invested in its success. By incorporating fun and social elements, you are creating a workplace people look forward to returning to on Monday morning — which also helps with staff retention.

Try this: Avoid the dreaded 'forced fun' aspect of team building — activities that are awkward, embarrassing, or otherwise uncomfortable — by getting creative in your ideas and finding something that attendees will want to tell their friends and family about. Instead of tacky assault courses and discos, try something new like an escape room or scavenger hunt. Plus, organic posts on social media of employees having fun is good for PR.

Team building allows us to get to know each other better, understand each other better and, ultimately, work together better. By understanding the reasons why companies value team building so much, you can prepare for more effective activities in the future.