In 2023, it's widely accepted that employee motivation is vital in the workplace. And while many businesses attempt to incentivise their hard-working employees with free lunches and novel perks – these forms of reward and encouragement don’t always have the desired effect. Enter team building activities!
Fight Burnout With Team Building
One in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work due to feelings of stress, anxiety or depression, according to The Australian Bureau of Statistic's National Mental Health and Well-Being Survey (1). Rachel Clements, Director of Psychological Services at the Centre for Corporate Health, describes burnout as the following: “the person must have three components: they are emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted”. Unsurprisingly, burnout is attributable to long working hours, lack of breaks and unrealistic deadlines (2).
Due to the stigma surrounding burnout, employees may view it as a reflection of their weakness or incompetence. Many struggling employees feign cold and flu symptoms in exchange for sick days, and while this provides momentary relief, it ultimately leaves the problem unsolved. The lack of dialogue between employer and employee promotes a vicious cycle that may have dire consequences on both work and home life.
The onus, therefore, is on the employer. In an effort to curb burnout in the office or at home, employers should attempt to establish trust and open communication, which is easier said than done. When team members have learnt to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment around burnout, speaking up is difficult.
Meaningful Group Activities
As an alternative to awkward one-on-one conversations, employers can seek to open up dialogues with unhappy employees via group workshops, allowing everyone to have a say alongside their peers. A group activity has the potential to introduce colleagues to a stress-free environment that promotes bonding, boosts confidence and supports trust-building.
Project Management, Training and Communication Specialist Anna Keavney from ‘Elemental Projects’ suggests that employers should lay out objectives for team building events beforehand, such as seeking to resolve conflict, boost morale, enhance productivity, develop skills or improve team communication. Anna similarly recommends investing time in activities centred around communication and problem solving, which are designed to enhance teamwork, task-associated skills and emotional intelligence, and subsequently, drive productivity in the workplace, rather than those limited to ‘fun’ (3).
Team building activities that are intended to be purely entertaining, often and unfortunately, err on the side of awkwardness. Preoccupied with thoughts of all the work yet to be finished, these team activities are nothing more than comical group tasks. And while building tower out of paper cups might be fun for some, the lack of seriousness hurts the desired outcome: improving co-worker relations and general work ethic. You can see more meaningful virtual team building activity ideas here.
We offer an alternative, replacing cringe-worthy ice breakers with genuine workshops headed by professionals from a variety of fields, including chefs, artists and craftsmen, to promote bonding between colleagues. Embark on a Japanese ‘Superfood Sushi’ class with Yoshiko Takeuchi, who has frequented some of the top kitchens in Sydney and authored two health-food cook books. Experiment and taste top quality Japanese ingredients, following traditional methods replicable at home. Form mounds of sushi rice and delicious nigiri and nori rolls while sipping on Japanese tea. Alternatively, embrace the art of ‘mixology’ or cocktail making workshop with bars like Della Hyde or The Roosevelt. Mix, muddle and shake alongside colleagues outside the office environment, whip up Cosmos, Margaritas and Mojitos to drink and prepare at future events. You can see all our team building workshops here!
- Australian Bureau of Statistics National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007.
- Corporation, Australian Broadcasting. “ABC Health & Wellbeing.” Surviving Stress at Work - Health & Wellbeing, ABC, 14 July 2010.
- Keavney, Anna. Team building strategies. Training & Development, Vol. 43, No. 2, Apr 2016: 26-28.