If you’ve ever worked in an office – be it in a virtual or in-person setting – you’ve probably heard your manager talk about “team building” and “team bonding” numerous times. 

Team building and team bonding share many common benefits that are important in the workplace. Both promote a positive atmosphere and help keep employees motivated, with the ultimate goal of increasing morale, productivity, and efficiency.

However, team building and team bonding are not mutually exclusive. Even with all the buzz they’re getting, many employers still don’t understand the differences between team building and team bonding.

What Is Team Bonding?

Team bonding encompasses a wide array of activities and events designed to help employees get to know each other better, interact more, and build trust with one another. Even the most effective teams can benefit from team bonding activities to strengthen the team’s motivation to work together. 

Team bonding events go beyond traditional employee training. In addition to helping employees connect on a professional level, team bonding plays a pivotal role in helping employees enhance their soft skills such as:

  • Confidence and self-awareness
  • Empathy and mindful communication
  • Leadership and decision making
  • Problem-solving and creativity

When executed in a structured and meaningful way, the benefits of team bonding are threefold:

  • The employee feels more connected to the group. Without communication or cultural barriers holding employees back, they are free to speak their minds about potential issues which might impact productivity.  
  • The team is more synchronized. Work gets completed faster when everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal. 
  • The employer is able to reduce turnover rates by maintaining a company culture that revolves around positivity, respect, and understanding.

Employees on their wacky shot

Examples of Engaging Team Bonding Activities

Team bonding activities can be anything from building a bike together for children to participating in a scavenger hunt, but they always have a common goal of authentic connection.

Certain groups may not bond naturally. In some cases, this is attributed to a lack of common hobbies and interests while in other situations it has everything to do with the absence of leisure time spent together.

The latter is a common thing in remote workplaces. However, working remotely doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fun get-together on a group call to break the ice.

If you’ve ever wished you could just have a Virtual Team Happy Hour, TeamBonding can make that happen. Each person gets a mystery cocktail ingredient kit in advance, and your group is educated on how to make fantastic cocktails. This is an excellent concept for loosening up a team that may have fairly formal interactions.

Game of Drones works well for employees who want to work on expanding their leadership and communication skills. Your team will have to work together and think strategically to fly their drones safely through a series of obstacles.

If you want to amp up your staff’s competitive spirit and put their resilience and focus to the test, then, check out Squad Game (based on the ever-popular Squid Game but excluding all the negativity and individualism).

Healthcare Heroes Scavenger Hunt is a fantastic way to get everyone up and moving. You can form long-lasting connections while contributing to a worthwhile cause by exploring your city.

Need a quick bonding opportunity, but you’re crunched for time? In just 30 minutes, you can participate in Dragon’s Hoard. This fast-paced adventure is an excellent way to get everyone laughing and working together.

What Is Team Building?

Team building is the process of helping a group of people become effective collaborators. In practice, this means getting them to work together as a cohesive unit to achieve their common goals. 

In professional settings, it can be difficult for managers to encourage team building, especially if their team members are not used to working closely together.

If there is a lot of tension or strained relationships between team members, a facilitator might be needed to carry out these activities. They can help mediate discussions between colleagues to overcome differences in opinion or background and establish mutual trust and respect.

Team building is often strategically focused on achieving certain business objectives.

Examples of Impactful Team Building Activities

Team building is usually achieved through engaging activities that require communication and cooperation. As there is no pressure of tight deadlines and high stakes, team members will feel more open to the idea of participating and collaborating. 

But team building activities go beyond purely making sure people enjoy working together. They can also be an effective strategy in creating positive associations toward social values that your company holds. 

For example, TeamBonding’s The White Privilege, Black Power Experience improv show aims to teach your team members how to share and be receptive to different perspectives. At the same time, you’re raising your team’s awareness of important issues when it comes to social diversity and inclusion.

When your team seems stressed, or some of your members are coping with significant life situations, An Attitude of Gratitude is an easy way to help establish healthy coping mechanisms. Working with gratitude guru Chris Schembra, your team can learn how to approach difficult situations with positivity.

If you feel like the team is approaching a slum, the virtual Haka team building activity is a surefire way to shake things up. Energize your team and make sure that remote workers feel included by learning the history and meaning behind this wildly popular New Zealand dance.

Teams going through a difficult time can overcome setbacks with the virtual Resiliency event. By creating a plan that helps each individual show up as their best selves at work and in their personal lives, you can rejuvenate a burned-out team.

Peak Performance is a popular choice for teams looking to boost leadership skills. Each team’s survival depends on quick thinking, strategy, and risk-taking, all skills that pay dividends in the workplace.

Haka Dance as a team building activity.

Impact On Company Culture

Team building and team bonding are integral parts of company culture. When employees have a good relationship with each other, they’re more likely to work well together and enjoy coming to work more.

Both are important for your organization’s success, so it’s best to incorporate both approaches into your team building strategy. 

When used together, team building and team bonding can boost workplace morale, strengthen interpersonal connections as well as reduce staff turnover. Studies have shown that companies with strong cultures tend to outperform their competitors by a significant margin. 

Of course, there isn’t just one way to develop an outstanding company culture that stands out from others. Instead, it’s all about identifying what works best for your business.

Team Building vs. Team Bonding: Picking the Right Option for Your Team

Before you can kick off any team building activities or employee team bonding exercises, you need to think about what makes your company unique, and how you want it to be perceived by those inside and outside the organization.

When hearing the words “team building” or “team bonding”, many employees will instantly think about being dragged to a boring workshop where they will be forced to put on a fake smile all day long. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The key to effectively using employee team building exercises is to make sure you pick activities that create a cohesive, happy, and motivated workforce.

For example, if your employees are primarily introverted or tend to be more creative than analytical, opt for an activity that gets them thinking outside the box instead of forcing them into an uncomfortable environment where they won’t thrive.

If you’re looking for exciting, meaningful team building or team bonding activities that can be tailored to your specific needs, check out all that TeamBonding has to offer. 

Anna Webber

Team Contributor

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