Many challenges and changes have taken place within the workplace over the past year and a half. One of the key challenges is the ability to drive authentic connections in a disrupted environment, where teams continue to be physically separated. As the future of work continues to evolve, leaders must find new ways to refresh their organizations’ workplace culture to promote healthy communication and collaboration.
While employees can get their work done outside of an office and stay connected virtually, a company’s culture will decline without occasional face-to-face time. Not having social interactions can lead people to feel a lack of belonging. The key is to find safe, stress-free environments and activities where teams can reconnect with one another and renew their bonds.
If companies can get together even for a one- or two-day retreat and teambuilding event, those interactions can be more meaningful and create a stronger sense of belonging than daily in-office touch points. Whatever the event, it should serve the purpose of reinforcing an organization’s core values, which in turn drive a company’s culture.
Trust is the greatest indicator of a team’s ability to perform well. Coworkers who trust one another achieve peak performance levels. Facilitating teambuilding activities that foster strong relationships within your team can enhance your company’s culture. They get your teams thinking, engaging, and collaborating for the long-term benefit of your company.
A ‘cardboard boat regatta’ is a great example of a trust activity for a company retreat. It is the ultimate “sink-or-swim” challenge. Participants are split into teams and given an identical set of materials and one hour to build a boat. Teams then race against each other in a pool or lake hoping that the engineering and construction they used working together produces a vessel that prevents their chosen team captain from having to abandon ship. This activity fosters great trust as teams rally around their captain, and it’s also a fun opportunity to practice business skills, communication, collaboration, and problem solving.
Fostering an attitude of care
It’s proven that team members work harder for organizations that they feel support them and foster a positive work environment. The more an organization focuses on their team’s well-being, the more everyone in the company’s ecosystem benefits. Everyone wants to know they are a valued member of the organization. Hosting events that bring teams together beyond tangible work-driven requirements showcases an organization’s commitment to an employee-centric culture that goes beyond the bottom line.
At Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston, the resort and conference center team promotes itself using the tagline “Serious Learning. Serious Fun.” The idea is to encourage business groups that visit to take advantage of the setting to present a fun and ‘chill’ approach to improving connections.
It’s important not only that activities during these retreats bring teams together, but also that there is dedicated time for conversations to occur in a relaxed setting. Coconut bowling with real coconuts is an example of an activity that is fun, leaves the group with memories of doing something unique, and creates time for team members to catch up, talk, and engage. This type of activity also enables leadership to better get to know their team and show that they genuinely care about what’s happening in their lives.
A company’s success is dependent upon the collective energy, intelligence, and contributions of all team members. Something incredibly powerful happens when you bring people together to find a common goal and purpose. That starts with encouraging team members at all levels to consistently create and innovate. A company culture that promotes creative collaboration produces results in a forward-thinking organization.
Company retreats provide the perfect setting to encourage creative collaboration. Even the largest and most complex teams can work together effectively if the right conditions are in place. Taking away the stress of a work environment enables them to share knowledge freely, learn from one another, and look at things in a new way.
Creative teambuilding activities can also aid in cultivating a culture of ingenuity at a retreat. Using creative games, creativity exercises, and brainstorming helps employees shift perspectives, try new things, and become more open-minded. They are a great way to jumpstart the creative process while also having fun and building better team connections.
Finding safe, stress-free environments and activities to bring teams together is more important now than ever to ensure a healthy, more resilient company culture. Although a lot is changing and continues to change in today’s work dynamic, there is one thing that remains the same: the need for authentic connections.
Tom Faust is the vice president of sales and marketing for the Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston.