3 Team Building Activities For All Business Budgets

A 2009 data analysis published in the journal "Small Group Research" examined 103 team-building studies over 50 years' time. Businesses that made a conscious effort to enhance and fortify relations among team members showed measurable positive effects in company cultures and bottom lines. The key to making team building activities effective? Avoiding awkward and invasive situations.

There are plenty of activities that offer the release, entertainment and social opportunities that strengthen teams without having to force employees to participate. Depending on your budget, below are three activities that fit the bill for different budgets.

Boating Party

The theme and location of the annual company holiday party is always highly anticipated by HR and management, but mostly for the logistics. But if setting sail is part of it, employees will rejoice.

A survey by Discover Boating and Russell Research found that boaters have stronger leadership skills, better overall health and even more satisfying love lives than non-boaters. The activities that accompany boating, particularly fishing and scuba diving, make the water a perfect retreat to enhance team cohesion. Licensed family therapist Judith Ritterman told Boating Times Long Island that being on water simulates a meditative state of reduced stress and lower blood pressure.

Renting a boat large enough for 100 employees can be pricey depending on your locale, but the benefits are worth the investment. Business owners and management who plan to captain the boat need to take the necessary boating safety courses for proper licensing and peace of mind of those aboard the vessel.

Volunteering

Adults over the age of 50 who participate in volunteer activities experience lower blood pressure than non-volunteers, according to a Carnegie Mellon University study. This is important because hypertension leads to various physical ailments, including heart disease and stroke. The U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service also says volunteering reduces depression rates, strengthens communities and gives participants a sense of purpose.

The best part about volunteering as a team building activity is that it costs the company very little to coordinate. Ideas for volunteering: get in touch with local churches and shelters to find out about service opportunities; form disaster relief teams to aid in rebuilding after hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes; contact an organization like Habitat for Humanity to build a corporate partnership; hold an event to teach community members on basic computing, word processing and other skills to help them find jobs.

Volunteering is not only a solid team-building plan, it's an opportunity to give your company positive exposure.

Physical Activities

Sports are great for reinforcing team concepts and laughing with one another in competitive situations. But David Ballard, of the American Psychological Association, told U.S. News and World Report that playing sports for team-building must be chosen carefully. Physical sports like basketball and football can lead to injuries that could become liabilities if releases are not signed beforehand. These sports also give an unfair advantage to larger, more athletic employees and can embarrass those who lack athletic prowess. Bowling is probably the most corporate-friendly sport that also provides a competitive environment.

Team building activities that are forced upon workers will do more harm than good. Make certain all such diversions fit your company culture so both ownership and workers reap all the benefits.