No one likes team building days, but there are alternatives

If there’s one thing that strikes fear and dismay in equal measure into any employee, it is the eternal phrase ‘this weekend, we’re off on a team building excursion!”.

This is principally for two reasons: 1) people would much rather work didn’t infiltrate their weekends, and, 2) no one likes team building days. Well, apart from the organisers, obviously.

Still, you’re probably reading this post because your team needs sorting out. Good news — there are alternative and far more enjoyable ways to build cohesive, successful teams. Like so many things in business, it comes down to the psychological elements of company culture; if you know what makes your team tick, you can play on their desires, wants and needs with extra curricular activity that is fun, engaging and a million miles away from the traditional ‘team building day’.

In this post, I’ve got 5 alternative team building days your employees will thank you for.

1. Go out for a drink

We all like the simple things in life, and the offer of a free trip to the pub is something most people will grab with open arms. Some businesses have even taken to pubs as alternative meeting venues such is the effectiveness of that environment when it comes to loosening people up and encouraging conversation.

Make it a regular thing; every month, take the team out for a drink of their choice (on the business, of course). No games, no frills and absolutely no pressure means you’ll quickly see the team engage with one another and strengthen, and all it costs the business is a round of drinks.

2. Job swap

Empathy is one of humanity’s greatest assets, and spending a day in someone else’s shoes is a great way to understand the benefits and challenges they regularly encounter.

Hold regular job swap events where people are given the opportunity to try out alternative positions within the business and gain an understanding of and respect for their colleagues’ working days.

3. Have a music day

One of the biggest problems with team building days is that they usually involve removing everyone from their desks in order to participate in sumo suit wrestling or falling off a stage backwards in the hope that fellow colleagues will break their fall.

In truth, some of the best team building measures can take place on the job. Try this for size: every couple of weeks, stage a ‘music day’ where everyone can contribute to an office playlist that plays throughout the day. It’ll initiate debate on favourite artists and may even get a few people tapping their feet in unison.

Music is known to bring people together, so why not use it to a greater extent in the office? Just don’t forget your PRS licence!

4. Do something for charity

Fancy building your team while simultaneously doing your bit for a good cause? No problem! Get the team together in order to complete a challenge for charity. A long bike ride or spot of abseiling will do perfectly.

5. Sniff out the musicians and start a band

Now, bear with me on this one. Chances are, no matter how small your team, there’ll be one or two musicians amongst you. If you’ve got enough to form a band, have a chat with the individual members and, if they’re happy to showcase their skills, ask them to devise a thirty minute set for a night at the local pub.

Combine it with a quiz, and everyone involved — whether they be belting out the tunes or simply enjoying them — will have participated in one of the best team-building nights of their life. And they’ll actually enjoy it.


You’ll have noted several consistent themes running through the various team building option above: no one is unfairly put on the spot or forced to partake in anything they’d feel uncomfortable doing— two common traits of traditional team building days.

Team building should be fun, so make it so with one of the ideas above.

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