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Practical Team-Building Activities for Office Morale

Posted by Insightlink on 09/04/15

An effective offices runs on interdependence, positivity, trust and communication, and a great way to nurture these traits is through team building activities. Some of these activities can also carry over valuable lessons into real life. A successful round of team building requires careful planning. Keep in mind that team exercises should be within the capabilities of all employees, so give careful consideration to any limitations individuals might have. If an exercise involves strenuous activity, some participants may be physically incapable of such exertion, therefore forced to watch others participate, and feeling left out. Here are two low-impact team building exercises with real-life applications that can bring any office team's efficiency and morale.

Emphasizing Importance of Identity Theft Prevention

Contemporary business practices rely on information. Your company more than likely houses a large pool of personal information not just of its valued customers, but of its employees as well. With access to confidential data comes great responsibility in preventing identity theft. Play “Guess Who I Am.”

Derived from an episode of "The Office," Guess Who I Am demonstrates how easy it is to impersonate another individual based on a small amount of information. Divide participants into partners, and try to pair up workers that see each other on a daily basis. The more experience they have with each other, the better this activity will work. Ask participants to tell each other what they did after they left work the day before. After a few moments of chatter, instruct employees to then imitate their partner based on the habits they have observed at work and the information they know about the other person outside of work.

You and your team will be surprised at how well they can impersonate another based on such a small amount of information. Details like the names of children and pets, birthdays, hobbies and interests are often revealed in superficial conversation, and can be used to breach security in identity theft attempts.

Use this as an opportunity to offer solutions in securing against identity theft, like LifeLock personal monitoring, frequent change of passwords, and limiting information divulged online.

Encouraging Successful Negotiation in High-Stakes Situations

Emotions can play a big role in decision-making, as can personal bias. Play “Lifeboat” to help your employees recognize where their negotiation skills may need improving and why:

For this exercise, you will need to divide your participants into small groups of three to five members. Each group is given a list of 15 people that are trapped on a yacht, which is leaking and sinking rapidly. The yacht has only one life boat, which can accommodate no more than nine people. Your teams are tasked with deciding which nine of the 15 boaters should fill the lifeboat, and they must all come to consensus. In addition, they must also list the nine elected survivors in order of significance, as in the scenario, as resources dwindle, "less valuable" survivors will have to be eliminated from the lifeboat.

In order for this exercise to work well, the original list should contain controversial individuals, people that generate strong opinions and biases. For instance, include a minister, a priest or a rabbi, or even one of each. Consider adding a pregnant woman, a convicted felon, the President of the United States, possibly a male doctor and a female doctor, an artist, and some current celebrities. The greater the emotional response, the better. Allow the groups about 10 minutes to discuss and decide.

Afterward, facilitate a discussion with all participants that covers the following questions: What problems did your group experience? How did you resolve them? Could you have handled resolution in a different way? What similarities do you see in this exercise and in your own daily life? Do you see any similarities between this exercise and the negotiations you experience at home and work?

The desired result is to illustrate the importance of negotiation and to help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses in this area. More often than not, this exercise demonstrates how negotiations often fail when individuals become emotionally invested in the decision and do not want to budge in their opinions or wants; first understanding the needs of others is crucial in any successful compromise as understanding yields agreement and cooperation.

Remember that office members are more than staff. They are an integral team and an asset. A few practical team building activities can boost morale and remind them of the value of working together.

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