Outdoor team-building activities: examples and benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employee satisfaction is important to the success of every organisation. Apart from clearly defining responsibilities and avoiding internal competition and issues with productivity, designing team-building activities plays a big role in eliminating conflict and increasing enjoyment at work. If you're considering effective ways to motivate relationships in your company, learn how to create and implement effective team-building activities. In this article, we explain what outdoor team-building activities are, provide examples of common ones and review some benefits of utilising these activities.

Related: What are virtual team-building activities? (with tips)

What are outdoor team-building activities?

Outdoor team-building activities are events, programmes and other practices that enforce deep learning, collaboration and teamwork among employees. Team-building activities may be formal or informal. The goal of your company determines what sorts of outdoor team-building activities you might opt for. Formal team-building activities include things like assigning your employees to plan and execute your company's community project, while more informal team-building activities might involve games and challenges.

Related: Team building skills: definition and examples

Examples of outdoor team-building activities

Many employees spend more time at work with their team members than they spend at home with their families. It makes sense for a company to strengthen its team-building ties to make work more satisfying and improve the employees' quality of life. Here are some examples of outdoor team-building activities:

Camping

Camping to explore new natural environments helps your employees unwind, reduce stress, become aware of nature, breathe and relax. They also get to know their colleagues better in this environment. As a team-building activity, the structure of this event may include problem-solving tasks, dividing employees into groups to set up camp, campfire tasks, competitions, food and drinks management and story-telling.

Paintballing

Paintballing can be both fun and useful as a team-building activity. It requires making strategies, plans and coordination as a team, and can discourage single-minded individualism that may be detrimental to the workplace. Among other benefits, it enhances interpersonal skills, creates variety which serves as a break from monotonous work, increases strength, acts as stress relief, boosts overall mental health and promotes team-building.

Yoga or meditation

As a team-building activity, yoga or meditation enables serenity, peace and harmony at your workplace. Some organisations have an in-house yoga and meditation instructor as an employment perk. With more demand for digitally driven work in most jobs, it's easier to become overwhelmed by expectations and forget to simply breathe. To make this effective for team-building, ensure every employee engages in the exercise at the same time.

Attend a sporting event

Sporting events elicit team spirit, strength and passion from team members, especially when it's a sporting event that involves other organisations. This gives non-participating members of your organisation the chance to cheer and encourage those who are participating. To make it more fun, this team-building activity could cover a variety of different sports.

Food charity works

From creating an open kitchen to reaching out to specific charitable organisations, food charity work is a great way to encourage members of your company to bond towards a worthy cause. It can give them a healthy boost of confidence and a sense of fulfilment. Structured efforts also make it easier for your employees to collaborate, and can inspire them to give back to the community in other ways.

Picnic story-telling exercises

This is a creativity exercise that captures peoples' attention and enables interpersonal communications, which are necessary for effective team-building. This is because each team uses their exercises to train themselves in how to complete the process and learns how to pay attention to the person telling the story. It could also be another fun way to explore certain topics which are important to organisational success, such as work-life balance, human resources management, marketing, branding, public relations and quality measures.

Design

This outdoor activity in a serene environment helps to explore the creative capacity of your employees. This could be to design a product idea or its package, drawing portraits of one another or anything different that might seem interesting. Try to devise a design activity that requires the contribution of every person in your company, and to encourage contributions and interest, clearly distribute responsibilities without overlap. If you decide to include things like rewards, ensure they're evenly distributed based on team effort.

Blindfold games

This outdoor team-building activity teaches participants how to listen, follow instructions and enhances their capacity to interpret verbal and non-verbal cues. This is a high-dependency activity that can develop strong interpersonal links. To be effective, match people from different departments into each group. This promotes friendly relationships throughout the organisation. Also, you can use the opportunity to evaluate the interests of your employees when playing the game.

Decorating a park

Aesthetics trigger happiness, calmness, balance, creativity and relaxation, especially in awe of the world's natural beauty. This activity could include clearing a local park of debris, planting flowers and trees, painting walls or constructing a shelter for people or animals. Make your goals realistic, as attempting too much may demoralise your team and lead to fewer contributions. The idea is to have them work together to enhance and enjoy the natural beauty of an area.

Karaoke

This outdoor team-building activity is good for stress relief and entertainment in the evening. It helps the team get to know one another while using music to build team spirit. For example, you could launch a challenge to find the best performers, then separate the team into groups to explore their creativity and different tastes in music. For effective participation, let each group select songs with thematic representations about social issues that matter to them while leaving room for originality.

Beach cleaning

Beach cleaning prevents waste like plastic bags, fabrics and microplastics from entering the water where it could sink and endanger the lives of sea animals. Every month, you could oversee the cleaning of a beach close to your business environment. Such activities serve the dual purpose of helping the environment while allowing your employees to stretch their muscles and bond.

Beach party

This outdoor team-building activity is the best for organisations looking to host parties in relaxing areas with a large number of employees. As long you have your space secured, you can host several activities like playing volleyball, designing sand art, dancing and running competitions. If your beach party can accommodate your employees' families, you may want to invite them too. When families take part in your company's culture, it boosts your employees' sense of belonging.

Outdoor movies

Viewing movies together inspires team spirit, especially if they're movies that show leadership and teamwork. This is a recreational activity, but it also helps your employees appreciate the collaborative effort of making great movies. It can also encourage them to form constructive opinions. You can project the selected movie onto a white wall or screen and host it in an outdoor space.

Related: How to build a successful team: a step-by-step guide

Benefits of outdoor activities

Outdoor team-building activities offer significant benefits for everyone in your company. Here are some benefits of outdoor team-building activities:

Improved communication

Poor communication hinders organisational success. Good communication promotes productivity and clarifies a company's vision, making a more effective decision-making process. You can gain a lot from outdoor team-building activities, such as creating open channels that help you explain and reiterate the mission and vision of your organisation to encouraging your team to have conversations on projects and assigned tasks.

Related: How to improve your communication skills

Increased productivity

Beyond merely executing job descriptions, productivity is important in achieving your company's overall goal of instilling employees with a sense of value. Regular team-building activities make it easier for everyone to become more open. This enables working towards the greater good of the company.

Related: How is productivity calculated?

Work-life balance

Outdoor team-building activities help reduce stress, prevent burnout, boost mental health, increase positivity and enhance employees' productivity towards maintaining a work-life balance. A balanced work-life helps individuals perform their jobs while still having adequate time for sleep and social occasions. You could design some of your outdoor team-building activities to accommodate the family and friends of your employees.

Related: Work-life imbalance: what it means and its effect

Encourage creativity

Creativity encourages employees to be more relaxed and mindful. Unique outdoor team-building activities encourage employees to use the power of their imagination to think up creative solutions and bounce ideas off their team members. This culture then becomes the norm in the office. Always look out for activities that promote creativity among your teams.

Related: 15 benefits of increasing creativity at work (with tips)

Management insight

Due to work pressures and restrictions, some employees may be unable to explore their creative power regularly. Outdoor team-building activities help you gain better insight into your employees' skills, like leadership. At the same time, some of them may have poor personalities that affect your company's success, which has otherwise gone unnoticed. Since outdoor team-building activities are less structured, such individuals are more likely to be more open and honest.

Related: Team-building and problem-solving activities to try at work

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