The “summer slump” can hit hard. Between the heat, vacation time and a drop in normal activities, it can be tough to get everyone together and keep them excited. And just the phrase “team building” tends to elicit groans from employees because they anticipate being forced to do trust falls and play “Two Truths and a Lie.”
However, there are plenty of team-building exercises that your facilities management team will legitimately enjoy and will actually bring them closer together.
Here are seven creative team-building activities to try.
7 Team-Building Exercises for FM Teams
1. Grab Bag Skits
In this team-building exercise, employees are broken up into groups and given a mystery bag containing 4-5 props. Each group has a set amount of time to come up with a skit that involves using each prop.
Grab bag skits help employees work together to identify each group member’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, one employee may be a great writer, so the group decides she should write the script. Another employee has a knack for timing, so he’ll be the one to deliver most of the punchlines.
This activity encourages employees to think as a unit. If the group doesn’t work together, they’ll end up with a disorganized, unfunny skit—or no skit at all.
2. Who What Where
“Who what where” is based on a board game of the same name. The game starts with each employee writing the name of 10 famous people or characters, 10 activities and 10 famous places on separate index cards.
Each employee is given one “who” card, one “what” card and one “where” card. Then they have five minutes to draw that person doing that thing in the place. For example, an employee might have to draw Elvis painting a picture on the moon. After five minutes, the employee passes his or her drawing to the person sitting next to them, and that person has to guess the “who”, “what” and “where” of the picture.
Once each employee has had a chance to make a guess about their coworkers’ drawings, everyone goes around and reveals the answers. Obviously, not every employee is going to be a great artist, so the game involves a lot of laughing, both when the employees are drawing and when they’re guessing.
At the end of the game, employees who are less artistically inclined can bond over their struggles. And the more talented artists can encourage their colleagues who drew a picture that left almost everyone scratching their heads—e.g., “Don’t worry, Adam! I could totally tell that was Mickey Mouse playing the ukulele in Paris!”
3. Laser Tag
It’s remarkable how quickly an employee’s inner commando comes out when playing laser tag. Suddenly Charlie, who keeps mostly to himself, is army crawling on the floor, strategically targeting the more skilled members of the other team and using tactical hand signals.
Laser tag gives you two different team building options. You can pit your entire FM team against a group of strangers and build camaraderie through fighting a shared enemy. Or you can separate the FM team into two separate squads and let them go head-to-head. The latter allows you to put employees who don’t know each other too well on the same team and give them the opportunity to work together.
4. Tourist Activity
Once you’ve officially settled in a city, it can feel a little weird to do the touristy stuff like ride Segways through downtown or go on a ghost-hunting tour. But just because you’re a permanent resident doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to enjoy these silly activities.
Team building is a perfect reason to go out and pretend to be a tourist for a day. Visit your town’s equivalent of the “world's biggest ball of twine.” Go to the local zoo, aquarium or botanical garden. Encourage employees to pretend they aren’t actually residents and are seeing the city for the first time.
While the experience might not technically be 100 percent “new”, the employee’s approach to it will be. And sharing new experiences is an excellent way to build camaraderie.
5. Escape Room
An escape room is an interactive puzzle game where players are confined to a single locked room. A team is given a series of brain teasers that they must solve within a specific time period (commonly about an hour) in order to find the key that unlocks the door.
Escape rooms are an ideal team building exercise. They’re designed in such a way that it’s nearly impossible for an individual to complete all the tasks on his or her own. Employees won’t be able to solve the puzzles without cooperating and communicating. Escape rooms are fast-paced and usually leave the team with some hilarious stories they can retell later.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Even veteran employees can have a hard time finding their way around a large corporate campus. And for newer employees, it’s even more challenging. Your facilities management team should know your campus like the back of their hand and be able to point visitors in the right direction. Put their knowledge to the test with a scavenger hunt that uses interactive wayfinding.
Don’t have digital signage or kiosks? With the iOFFICE Hummingbird employee experience app, your team can use their smartphones to navigate workspaces. If your team is new to using Hummingbird, this is a great way to get them more familiar with it. In addition to finding various places, you can challenge team members to find specific people and complete a service request, too. Feel free to hide clues along the way and award a prize to the team who finishes first!
7. Solve a Real Problem
While escape rooms and scavenger hunts are a lot of fun, you don’t always have to invent a challenge for your team to tackle.
Chances are, your organization has plenty of real problems you could all put your heads together to solve. You can make this challenge similar to a hackathon at a tech company, dividing everyone up into teams, giving them a set time frame and even offering an incentive for the team that comes up with the best solution.
For instance, maybe you have employees working in two adjacent buildings, but you’d like to move everyone under one roof to cut costs. Using move management software, teams can build different move scenarios to find the best and least disruptive solution.
Thinking Beyond Team-Building Exercises
Summer is a great time to get creative and have some fun with your team. When you’re choosing team-building exercises, make sure you’re mindful of the physical abilities and personal boundaries of your team members. Team-building exercises should push people a little outside their comfort zone, but they should never make anyone uncomfortable.
These activities are just a starting point. There are plenty of other ways you can keep your facilities management team motivated. Challenging employees to try new technology, taking the time to recognize them for a job well done and keeping the lines of communication open throughout the year will go a long way.
For more creative ways to be an innovative facilities manager, check out this resource with more than 100 tips and solutions!