Updated: March 29, 2022

Team Building Days: The Ultimate Guide

You found our guide to team building days.

Team building days are days set aside by the company that feature structured events designed to get teams to bond over fun activities. Typically, these events are sponsored by the company, take place over the course of a day, and involve the entire company’s personnel.

Examples of team building days include team meetings and company retreats. You can structure these events by creating team building programs.

This guide includes:

  • How to organize a team building day
  • 10 fun team building days ideas
  • 6 Top benefits of team building days
  • Team building day itinerary

Let’s get to it.

How to organize a team building day

Organizing a team building day may seem a bit daunting at first. However, once you use your event planning skills, you will find it a breeze to coordinate a day of excitement for your employees.

Here are our tips on how to organize a team building day:

Step #1: Choose a day

When organizing a team building day, your first move is to decide what day you are holding it. Since these events take up a full day, it is important to set aside a significant chunk of time so you can offset potential delays and are not rushing to complete events.

Generally speaking, if the team building day is optional, then you can choose to schedule it on a weekend day. However, if the team building day is mandatory, then you may have better luck achieving full attendance if the events are slated on a weekday.

If your team building day includes a lot of outdoor activities, then pay attention to weather reports when designating the day. Planning a team building day full of outdoor games for a day with predicted thunderstorms is a surefire way to disaster. If you are worried about the weather being an issue, then you can also have a Plan B with a secondary location indoors.

Step #2: Decide on the types of activities

Depending on the company culture and make-up of your team, certain team building activities may be more suitable for your employees than others. Not every activity is fun for every person, so be selective about what games you incorporate into a day where everyone is supposed to be enjoying themselves.

If your company has a corporate work culture, it is inadvisable to plan activities that involve drinking or other non-work appropriate behavior. Conversely, if your organization is more laid-back, then informal social hangouts may be completely fine.

Similarly, if your team is made up of athletic types, then nature hikes or workout challenges may be perfect for your employees. However, if your team is not so active, then find less physically taxing exercises for your employees to try.

For more inspiration, check out this list of outdoor team building activities, and these indoor team building games.

Step #3: Research

Once you have gauged what team building activities suit your colleagues, research to see what games and challenges fit the profile of what your team would enjoy. While organizations devoted to holding team building events exist, you can also plan an awesome team building day by selecting some simple DIY team building activities.

Alternatively, if you work on a dispersed team, then consider some  fun virtual team building activities to play remotely with your colleagues. Whatever your team’s situation, with the sheer variety of team building activities out there, you should have no trouble filling up your plans with entertaining programming for your employees.

Step #4: Plan the logistics

Once you have selected the activities for your team building day, tabulate what supplies you need to send to the rest of your team and how much time it takes for the supplies to get there. Some exercises, such as virtual scavenger hunts, require you to do some prep beforehand, so do not forget to factor in these additional steps when preparing for the team building day, too.

To increase participation from your colleagues, if the event requires supplementary materials that team members need to secure themselves, then offer to reimburse your employees’ expenses. That way, budgetary reasons do not end up excluding anyone.

Step #5: Send invites

About a week before the team building day, send an initial invitation to notify your team of your event. Your invite should contain basic details about the event, so employees are not caught off guard.

These details include:

  • Time
  • Day
  • Location
  • What attendees should prepare or bring
  • Rundown of what attendees should expect

Then, a day or two prior to the team building day, send a follow up to remind your team that the event is coming up in case it has slipped their minds. Also, reminding employees a bit early lets them do any last minute preparations, if needed.

Here are some examples of team building emails.

Step #6: Have fun!

On your team building day, go early to check out the location or the virtual meeting room that you are holding the event. Depending on how much setup is needed, you may need to arrive an hour or two before everyone else is scheduled to show up.

If you are holding an in-person event, inspect the space to make sure that everything is ready. If you are holding an online event, test your mic, camera, and other technical equipment to ensure that everything is working properly, so you can minimize technical difficulties.

10 fun team building days ideas

Not sure what direction to take your team building day? Here are some ideas you can adopt to tailor your plans to perfectly suit your team’s idiosyncrasies, so everyone can enjoy themselves.

1. Take a survey

One way to help figure out what activities your team would actually enjoy is to send a survey soliciting feedback from employees. You can either ask your colleagues to respond with what exercises they find entertaining, or you can send sample itineraries to your coworkers and ask which is more appealing.

2. Go offsite

A major part of team building is to get employees to a space where they feel released from the expectations of the office. Once coworkers feel it is safe to interact with each other more informally, they will feel comfortable with each other, which facilitates team bonding.

To help get your team in that mindspace, consider taking your team off site for team building day. While your team does not need to travel far or even to another country, leaving the office for a resort or campsite will be enough to get team members out of a corporate mindset. Going off site also gives your employees a feeling of going on vacation, which helps boost spirits.

Here is a list of fun ideas for company offsites.

3. Bring in a specialist

Leading your team through multiple events is incredibly demanding for one person. If you have a committee to help you plan your team building day, then you can delegate hosting duties to other committee members.

However, even with a planning committee, you may still want to bring in a specialist. For example, if your team building day includes a museum tour, then consider handing off hosting to a tour guide during that segment. You can also enlist the help of team building event companies, who may provide their own hosts for games.

Outsourcing to these specialists alleviates some of the stress of holding team building day. Relieved of hosting duties, you can then join in and actually enjoy spending time with your team.

4. Send out the itinerary

To help make team building day go more smoothly, send out the itinerary to your team before events kick off. That way, members are aware of when and where activities are happening, and can be prepared in advance. Not to mention, if members feel sick or get injured during the course of the day, then they can easily rejoin activities when they recover.

5. Assign buddies or groups

One of the main purposes of team building day is to connect employees from all across the organization. To help get the ball rolling, consider assigning travel buddies or creating groups to compete in games. By assigning groups, rather than letting team members choose themselves,  members then cannot choose from people they already know. Instead, with assigned groups, employees from different departments are compelled to interact, which helps spark friendships.

6. Try out some icebreakers

Since you are putting together relative strangers in groups, prepare some fun icebreaker questions to help get team members talking and bonding. Then, over the course of the day, sprinkle in these icebreakers. Not only will they help lighten the mood, but they will also be an amusing way for employees to learn more about each other.

7. Enjoy meals together

One of the best ways to bond is to share a meal with people. Even if employees get choices for all other activities during the day, have everyone eat together at the very least. Since people sit down together to have meals, eating together is a great low-pressure way for employees to chat and enjoy each others’ presence, making it a team building experience in and of itself.

8. Mix up activities with a retrospective

When choosing games to include in your team building day, pick activities that span a variety of experiences and skills. If you have active events planned already, then organize some more low-key activities for the afternoon so your team can recharge. Similarly, if you fill your morning with brain teasers, then choose challenges that get employees out of their seats.

You should also reserve part of the day for coworkers to look back on what the company has accomplished in the past six months or year. Since employees work for different departments, they may not be aware of what milestones the company has attained. However, once you remind everyone of these achievements, you further motivate and inspire everyone.

9. Hire an on-set photographer or videographer

In addition to putting together programming, if you are holding an in-person team building day, then consider hiring an on-set photographer or videographer to document the proceedings. Although you may feel inclined to simply pick someone on your team to be the photographer or videographer, hiring a professional ensures quality images that you will not regret.

While hiring someone may seem like an extra expense, sharing the photos and videos after the fact reminds employees of the good times they had during the team building day. You can assemble these photos and videos into a slideshow, as well.

10. Reserve some downtime

When planning your team building day, avoid accidentally tiring out employees with non-stop events. While keeping your coworkers entertained is good, if you do not schedule breaks where your colleagues can rest, then you risk wearing everyone out. This downtime lets employees recharge, so they can return refreshed and ready to socialize with everyone again.

6 Top benefits of team building days

Now that you have put in all this effort to plan a team building day, you may be wondering what the benefits of holding one are. Sure, you may have planned a fun time for your employees, but you may be surprised by how your team will benefit in other ways.

Here are the top benefits of team building days:

Benefit #1: Gets employees out of the office

Working in an office environment all day can feel mundane, no matter how passionate you are about your work. Team building days inject something new and different into employees’ schedule, and let coworkers engage in activities outside of their daily duties. Afterwards, your team will feel rejuvenated and motivated at work again.

Benefit #2: Boosts morale and productivity

As a manager, one thing you should avoid is having your team feel they toil away like workhorses. When employees feel this way, morale and productivity sinks. However, when you have fun team building days scheduled, your team feels valued and acknowledged, which helps alleviate these dips.

Here are more morale boosting ideas.

Benefit #3: Encourages employee bonding

When employees feel that they are in a safe environment among friends, they feel more open to experiment and innovate at work. Because of this idea, holding team building days is important because it gives employees the opportunity to bond. These coworkers can then carry these friendships into their everyday work lives, which improves their ability to collaborate.

Here are more ways to do team bonding at work.

Benefit #4: Attracts and retains top talent

When people are searching for their ideal job, some aspects that factor into whether the job seeker chooses to ultimately go with an offer include what benefits they could receive and how well the company treats its employees. Team building days can be an attractive feature for companies to demonstrate how well they treat employees.

Likewise, if companies consistently organize team building days, then current employees feel that they are being cared for and rewarded for their hard work. When your team feels appreciated, they are more likely to keep engaged and stay at the company.

Here are more ways to improve employee retention.

Benefit #5: Brings out hidden skills

Because team building days often comprise activities that employees do not normally encounter in their day-to-day life, these structured days of fun have the potential to draw out latent abilities that provide managers insight on what tasks employees would excel at. Conversely, your team members learn what their strengths are, which may help them plan their careers, too.

Benefit #6: Creates wonderful memories

Team building days may bring to mind school or family trips, and that is not an accident. Even now, these outings often make up great memories for people. The same can be said about team building days with company employees. When embarking on new adventures with colleagues, you create wonderful memories that stick with you and bring positive experiences to your life.

Team building day itinerary

To help you plan your team building day, here is a sample team building day itinerary.

Now that you have the tools to organize a team building day, we hope that you feel confident to plan one for your company. Your team members will thank you for putting so much effort into giving them entertaining and happy experiences.

Final thoughts

Team building days are opportunities to focus on relationship building and team dynamics and make big progress in a short time. You should aim to host team building days at least once a year, however you can do these activities more often if time and budget allow.

Next, check out these lists of event planning books, team building worksheets and destination management companies.

FAQ: Team building days

Still curious about the best way to engage your team and cultivate employee friendships? Here are some frequently asked questions about corporate team building and team building days.

What is a team building day?

Team building days consist of organized activities that involve all team members and are meant to bring employees together. Companies hold team building days to spur productivity, engagement, and bonding among employees when they return to work.

How do you organize a team building day?

Organizing a team building day requires quite a bit of thinking in advance. Since you will provide a full day’s worth of programming, the more planning you can do, the more smoothly the event will run on the actual day.

Here are the steps you need to set up exciting team building days for your colleagues:

  1. Choose a day
  2. Decide on the types of activities
  3. Research activities
  4. Plan the logistics
  5. Send invites
  6. Have fun with your team

With these steps, tailor your team building day to engage your employees and give them a fun break from work. You will see the positive effects of holding team building days in no time.

What are some corporate team building activities?

Some corporate team building activities are:

  • Murder Mystery Party
  • Digital Scavenger Hunt
  • Pub-style Trivia
  • Cribs Quiz
  • Spaceteam

How do you make a team outing interesting?

You can make a team outing interesting by:

  • Choosing appealing, exciting activities
  • Involving everyone as much as possible
  • Conducting surveys to see what your team wants
  • Providing opportunities for team members to develop friendships
  • Giving people choices between activities
  • Setting the outing in an enticing location

By imbuing your team building day with these concepts, you have a higher chance of designing an interesting outing for your employees. Give your team a voice in what they will do during the team building day and a choice in how they would like to enjoy it, and you will see a positive response from employees.

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