February is a hard month for many reasons. For one, if you live in the northern hemisphere, it’s probably the coldest month of winter. Christmas feels so far behind it might as well have been in another decade, Easter so far away in the future that you can scarcely conceive of it or any other significant holiday. Granted, there’s Valentine’s day, but for most people, that’s either irrelevant, lonely, annoying or all of the above. How to motivate yourself and your team in the workplace at this bleak time of year? Where will you find the energy and the will to get work done? That’s when team building proves especially useful, as long as you select appropriate activities that will inspire and entertain your employees. Here’s what to look for in a team building activity and how to motivate your team through it.
1. Make team success an individual goal
More often than not, when we feel demotivated, we also feel isolated. A group of individuals, each fighting their own silent fight is not a team. If you feel there is a risk of your employees drifting apart from each other and losing sight of common goals, choose a team building activity that directly links success to the reaching of shared objectives, rather than individual achievements. Choose orienteering trips, scavenger hunts, paintball gun-battles, and other outdoor activities to strengthen team spirit.
2. Allow your employees to be individually creative
Of course, the flip side of team spirit is the risk of a collective identity trumping individual ones. How to motivate individuals that don’t act or feel like such? If you fear that your employees might be struggling to achieve their full potential or that teamwork might be hindering their achievements, give them room to be creative and test themselves. Choose team building activities that encourage creativity, blue-sky thinking, and problem-solving. Our “paint company” team building, for instance, starts with individual creative efforts and ends with a collective work of art.
3. Instant gratification
Let’s say it’s too cold for outdoor activities, your budget won’t allow for incentive travel, and your employees just cringe at the idea of taking sharpie to paper and getting creative. How to motivate yourself and your team without doing anything that looks like corporate-team building? This is when you should go for the instant gratification of food. Book your whole team on a pizza-making workshop or any other kind of culinary team-building activity that will end in them eating the fruit of their hard work. It will be fun, it will be interesting, it will be useful and, most of all, you will get a fantastic dinner or lunch out of it.
4. Do something useful
We have said it countless times: doing good does you good. If you are unsure how to motivate your team through traditional team building, do volunteer work instead. Reach out to a local charity and help clean a beach, a park or a patch of woodland, help out at a local shelter or do anything else that is needed to uplift your community. Not only will you contribute to making your immediate environment better: you will also feel useful and so will your team.