Team activities take too much time and money. This is a common workplace complaint, often resulting in a defeatist attitude when it comes finding ways to enhance team cohesion. Since most of us have neither the budgets to spend on team building activities nor can we necessarily afford to place our regular work on hold for a few days, what is it then that we can do?
Hopefully, the TC “zero budget” team building experiment may give you some ideas on what you can do in your teams.
Over the course of 6 weeks, the TC team together with two colleagues from the ACF Canada office and the Logistics Centre completed a free on-line creativity course. We took the course for fun, out of curiosity, to develop our outside the box thinking, to get new ideas but most importantly do to something different together as a team. We had collective tasks and individual assignments and each team member was able to decide for themselves how much or how little time they wanted to invest into the on-line course.
Irrespective of our positions in the workplace and technical areas of expertise, during the course we were all on the same level. Not knowing what the next task would be. During those 6 weeks we designed album covers, came up with playlists, created mind maps and provided creative solutions to everyday problems. We sacrificed a few minutes of our lunch hour, put in some extra moments during the evening, held inter-continental Skype meetings and encouraged each other to finish our course assignments.
Not only did we learn new things for and about ourselves but we were also able to engage with each other in a different way and discover new things about our colleagues. As the course took place over time, we were able to continuously build on our own and each other’s knowledge and skills.
This has resulted in the learning from the course being cemented in the team as a whole rather than solely the individual. The proof is evident as we are busily applying and integrating the new techniques and learning from the course in our daily activities in the workplace.
So next time you are faced with the dilemma of how best to invest in team cohesion, be creative and focus on low or zero cost team building alternatives which can often have a larger impact and lasting effect on teams than expensive and time consuming one off events