The worst team building events EVER!

Group on men in Green t shirts passing a football above their heads.

Team building events are great fun and a brilliant addition to any conference or event. Not all team building activities are created equal, however, and there are some options that you should avoid at all costs!

Let’s look at what we consider to be the worst team building events you can do, and more importantly, how to avoid them!

7 of the worst team building events that you should avoid at all costs!

1. The activity that’s not suitable for everyone

Corporate team building activities are all about everyone working together, having fun, and building relationships and so it’s important that whichever activity you choose, it’s suitable for everyone. For example, is there anyone on your team that has restricted mobility which could mean they aren’t able to take part in a more physical activity? Or does anyone have dietary requirements that can’t be accommodated in a cooker event?

Most hurdles can be overcome but it’s important to address any potential issues from the start so that you can be sure that everyone can take part in your chosen activity.

2. The activity that feels like forced fun

We’ve all been there. Being forced to take part in a team building activity that’s supposed to be fun but totally misses the mark. This is definitely a team building activity you should avoid! Most of the time, when an activity starts to feel like forced fun, it’s because it hasn’t been well matched to those taking part. To help ensure you don’t end up with one of these dreaded events, take some time at the beginning of your planning process to establish exactly who is going to be attending your activity and what their likes and dislikes are. The more information you have about those taking part, the easier it is to find an activity they will all love!

3. The activity you haven’t got time for

There are corporate team building activities available that last for anything from 30 minutes, the 4 hours and so there is sure to be an activity that fits the time you have available. But whatever you do, don’t choose an activity that’s designed to run for longer than you have, and try to shorten it. For example, if you have 2 hours available, don’t choose a 3-hour activity and try to condense it into 2 hours. This could result in your event feeling rushed, incomplete, disjointed, and potentially, all three. As well as this, you aren’t getting good value for money.

Make sure you choose an activity that’s suitable for your timeframe. If you see an activity that’s slightly longer than you have available, try to amend your schedule so that you can free up some extra time for your activity. Team building events are a big investment and so it’s important to get the maximum value from them.

4. The activity that people have done before

Although this isn’t a huge issue, with so many activities to choose from it makes sense to try and find something that nobody has done before. This way everyone can enjoy the activity equally and no teams will have an advantage over the others.

An easy way to ensure you choose an activity that hasn’t been done before is to speak with participants beforehand. Send out a questionnaire in advance using SurveyMonkey or similar, asking people what they have done in the past or speak to the team that may have organised previous events to see what they did.

5. The activity that’s not well organised

As the adage goes: Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail! A poorly organised corporate team building activity will very likely result in you and your colleagues not really enjoying the activity as much as you could have. Make sure dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘t’s ahead of your activity and make sure you understand the logistics for the day, and special requirements or equipment that’s needed, how the event will be run, and who your main contacts are for the day.

A little bit of time planning will mean your activity will run smoothly and be fun for everyone involved.

6. The activity that takes too long

There is nothing worse than a team building activity that drags on, and on, and on. Team building events are usually quite intense and so it’s difficult to hold people’s attention for an extended period. We would usually suggest a maximum of 3 hours for a team building activity which would typically fit nicely into a morning or afternoon session. If you want to fill more time (a full day for example) then consider running two separate activities, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. As well as providing the participants will some variety, it will also allow everyone to have a well-placed break over lunch to recharge, talk about the morning’s fun, and prepare for the afternoon session.

7. The activity that’s not and activity

Our final entry in ‘The Worst Team Building Events EVER’ is ‘the activity that’s not an activity’! Going down to the pub or booking are area at a local bar for some after-work drinks is not a team building activity. After work drinks and social activities certainly have their place and are a great way to socialise with colleagues in a relaxed environment but they aren’t the right choice if you are looking for a team building activity to help build relationships, develop teamwork, and improve communication.