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Does Team Building Work?

18 January 2024

We know there are some skeptics out there. Those who doubt the benefits of team building and team bonding. Maybe they have experienced bad team building events, the dreaded trust falls and ropes courses, where no change is witnessed afterwards. Maybe they have sat through a death by PowerPoint presentation that lasted an hour and didn't include an ounce of fun.

We get it. Impactful team building sometimes needs to be seen to be believed. Since we can't come to every office and offer a free demonstration, we've unpacked some information below to prove our thesis:

Effective team building and team bonding is possible.

Employees are searching for a positive, cohesive company culture. They want to feel inspired at work, do work that matters, and have positive relationships with their colleagues and leaders. This desire to enjoy work and return home stress-free underscores the importance of cultivating a cohesive organizational culture.

Creating this cohesive culture doesn't happen overnight. Creating a cohesive culture requires intentional effort through purposeful team building activities. Again, we are not talking about the dreaded trust-falls and endless icebreakers. Instead, organizations should focus on purposeful team building activities custom designed to accomplish the organizational goals. These activities contribute to building strong bonds among team members, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.

The Impact of Employee Engagement

A study found that over half of employees spend more time with their work families than with their actual families. It's no surprise individuals want a healthy culture where employees get along. Furthermore, more than 60% of employees with a best friend at work are twice as likely to be fully engaged. Employee satisfaction can increase by up to 50% when surrounded by friends. (Teamstage)

This demonstrates the positive correlation between workplace relationships, employee satisfaction, and productivity.

According to the International Data Corporation, companies that foster intelligent and collaborative work environments will likely see 30% lower employee turnover, 30% higher productivity, and 30% higher revenue per employee compared to their competitors by 2024. (IDC)

Additionally, organizations report 24% lower turnover, 17% higher employee productivity, and 23% higher profitability due to team building activities. (Gallup)

This highlights the substantial impact of team building activities on talent retention and organizational success.

Remote Teams Suffer

When team building is ignored, remote and hybrid teams suffer more than in-person teams. While 80% of virtual employees would recommend remote working to a friend, a mere 37% indicated that their organization effectively synchronized work across various projects. (Gitlab)

There's a disconnect between the ostensibly high levels of satisfaction with remote work and the actual pain people are feeling day-to-day... Teamwork across organizations is struggling. - Gitlab

Now the lazy leader simply blames remote work for the problem and asks all employees to return to the office. Instead, give virtual work a real shot by implementing virtual team building and team bonding activities to re-engage the work-from-anywhere employees and create collaborative work environments no matter where employees complete their tasks.

Gitlab also found that only 33% of organizations take simple actions to boost teamwork:

What companies are doing to foster a sense of community. Statistics from gitlab


This is a huge opportunity for companies to add more virtual social activities. 40% of respondents believe social activities make them feel more connected at work, followed by 38% wanting more visibility into working within the organization, 35% wanting increased connectivity between tools, and 34% asking for more transparency from leadership.

Remote workers also face challenges in connecting with the company culture and miss in-person interactions According to Owl Labs' 2022 State of Remote Work Report, 41% of remote employees find it challenging to integrate into the company's culture. (Owl Labs)

Hubspot’s 2022 Hybrid Work Report further highlights that 40% of remote workers express a longing for spontaneous, in-person meetings with colleagues. (HubSpot)

In the last Leading On Purpose blog post, we highlighted the different experiences in-person employees have versus their virtual counterparts in hybrid teams. When employees file into a meeting, they greet each other, shake hands, and have side conversations. Virtual employees are then added on the call and the meeting begins. The remote employees entirely missed any personal connection among their co-workers. The same happens with entirely virtual teams. These side conversations don't have the opportunity to occur. Most engagement is very scheduled in the remote scenario. There's no easy back and forth or water cooler talk.

To address these issues, team building/bonding activities in various forms, whether it's a team retreat in Charleston or a virtual trivia night, can provide the solution. These activities facilitate re-engagement among team members, fostering a sense of cohesion and reacquainting them with the organization's culture, strengthening the bonds among teammates.

How often should team building occur?

How often should team building activities occur? 65.9% of employees desire monthly or quarterly team bonding activities. So when you hear employees complain about company team building, remember that though they may be loud, they are actually in the minority group. Employees enjoy and understand the benefits of productive team building.

50% of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace can be accredited to social interaction outside of the workplace. (Harvard Business Review)

Social time is critical to workplace success. Don't spend ages thinking about creating an elaborate event. Start today by having a shared lunch break where employees can sit together and chat about their lives. There doesn't have to be any structure or great planning. Once you feel confident hosting small gatherings, expand your reach by holding a team building event with planned activities, a shared meal, and real-world, job related takeaways. Don't get so bogged down in the idea of a 3-day company retreat that you miss the point. Team building doesn't have to be overly complicated. Employees desire frequent team building and bonding opportunities. They just want them to be effective and fun, not boring and repetitive.

Hopefully, this removes organizations belief that one team building event should hold employees over till the next year. To be effective, team building and team bonding activities have to occur regularly to boost company morale, engage employees, create collaborative work environments, and infuse cohesion into organizations.

Effective team building is not a superficial exercise. It's a strategic initiative that can significantly enhance company culture, improve employee engagement, and contribute to overall organizational success. By embracing purposeful and customized team building activities, organizations can create a workplace where employees thrive, leading to increased productivity and sustained success.

Send us a message to learn more about team building and team bonding activities with On Purpose Adventures. We bring you team building/bonding with a purpose that will motivate and engage every member of your team, on any level.