Be-Leafing in the Value of Team Building

I don't think anyone would question the importance of a high-functioning team to a company's success. One way to strengthen teams is through team bonding activities. Forbes reports that some of the proven benefits of team bonding include building trust, reducing in-office conflict, encouraging communication and increasing collaboration. In other words, a well bonded team makes for an engaged, productive team.

With so many benefits, then why do “team outings” get such a bad rap? Maybe it’s because the stereotypical corporate office activities like picnics and stiff, formal holiday office parties are a thing of the past. Employees want to be engaged and entertained, especially if they’re attending on their own time.

While I am a Project Manager at KMG, I also have the role of “social chair”. This means I get to plan great outings to celebrate our team and enhance our company culture. I love having this as part of my job. That said, deciding on what to do to ensure a fun team outing was also daunting. What is an activity that each team member would want to go to and actually enjoy? What is the best time for nine busy people, during the summer to meet outside work hours?

Fast forward to Flowers & Weeds, where we recently had our first ever team outing which was a hit! Flowers & Weeds is a sweet flower studio and greenhouse where each team member had the opportunity to build their own Air Plant terrarium. We started the night off with some bubbly, had access to a plant expert’s advice, a rock bar, colored sand, a variety of plants and shells to outfit our terrarium vases however we pleased. The experience far exceeded my expectations.

Each team member’s finished terrarium seemed to reflect their personality in a way - some more colorful and wild, some more artistic and sleek. After this activity, our team made our way up the street to La Vallesana for dinner, which may have been the most beneficial part of the night. All throughout dinner team members were chatting, no office talk allowed, which really allowed us to bond and get to know each other on more personal levels.

Dinner was delicious but the company, conversation and casual atmosphere were really what made the night memorable. I left the evening feeling proud to be part of such a diverse, talented and fun team. Maybe more than this however, I felt energized and ready to make my team proud on future projects.

Just like our culture statement says, we definitely expanded our horizons and pushed boundaries at our “plant night.” I knew I’d get a plant, I didn’t know I’d get an unforgettable night of experiencing what it truly means to be part of a diverse, vibrant and creative team.

To conclude, there are a few elements I think made this event so impactful that I’ll keep in mind when planning the next team building activity, and would recommend for anyone else to apply to their own company outing as well:
- Survey of your team! Get their ideas, input and availability.
- Do something that will appeal to all of the personality types on your team.
- Have fun! An activity that will let creativity run wild helps facilitate this.
- If everything else fails, serve margaritas!

Written by: Jessica Brown