How Long Does Planning a Team Building Activity Take?

roman numeral clock embedded in a rock

Planning a team building activity can be time consuming! Not only do you have to plan the event itself, but you must determine a date and time, secure a location, and make sure everyone is on board with the event before it happens! With all of these factors being juggled in the air, just how long does it take to plan a team building activity from start to finish?

Of course, depending on the size of your office, the budget for your event, and your company’s culture – the amount of time it can take to plan a team building activity can greatly vary. However, you can use this as a guide to gain a general idea of the process and time commitment behind planning a team building activity.

1) Picking a Day

calendar book laying on desk with yellow markerThe first step to planning any team building activity is picking a day in which to do it!

Believe it or not, the day you choose to hold your team building event can make or break the event itself. First and foremost, pick a date where everyone on the team will be in the office. With the investment that goes into team building – you want everyone possible to be there and reap the benefits.

Next, try to avoid busy times of year for your business. For an accounting firm, this could mean that foregoing a team building activity in the heart of tax season in favor of doing one while work is a little slower may be wise.

Finally, go to your boss or supervisor with a list of potential dates and ask for approval. The process of finding a date for your team building activity could take anywhere from a day (if your business has a more flexible schedule) to a week, so begin this process early so you won’t sacrifice planning time at the later stages.

2) Gauging Interest

group of coworkers sitting at desk behind computerNow that you’ve picked a day, it’s time to gauge interest from your coworkers about which activities they’d be most interested in. This step is twofold. First, you must take the time to research various team building activities to propose to your coworkers. Then, you must present the researched activities to your coworkers and receive feedback on which activities your coworkers are most interested in.

This process can take anywhere from a week to a month – depending on how much you value your coworkers opinions. At the very least, by the end of this process you should have an idea about the type of team building activity your office would like to do. Something outdoorsy? Something social? Your coworkers’ feedback will help you with the next step of this process.

3) Choosing an Event

coworkers playing volleyball on a grass field during an office fieldd ay

Choosing your event – clearly the most important part of planning any team building activity. This is when it’s time to take the opinions of your coworkers into consideration.

Depending on your budget and the feelings of your coworkers, this portion of planning can either be very simple or very difficult. If your office is expecting a grandiose retreat to Bermuda, this part might take awhile. However, if they’re expecting something more toward the normal end of the spectrum anticipate the actual event planning portion to take anywhere from one to two weeks.

Generally involved in planning a team building event is picking an activity, and picking a location to complete that activity. Sometimes these two decisions go hand-in-hand, for example if you were to attend a sporting event with your office. Other times, these two decisions are not nearly as simple. Say you wanted to do an outdoor field day. Where would you be able to host it? How large of a space would you need? These are questions that will take time and research to answer.

Wherever or whatever you decide for your team building event, make sure you’ve left yourself ample time to complete this part of the process. Although this should only take one to two weeks, this is the part of the process that can hit the most road bumps. For instance, a venue could be fully booked, too expensive, or not exactly what you were looking for. It is essential to allow yourself more time than you think you need for this step.

4) Event Prep

check list written in a notebookThe final step before your team building activity is the event prep. This step will continue right up to the day of the event and should be focused around getting your coworkers excited for whichever activity you chose!

Your goal for this step will be to familiarize your coworkers with the event through teasers and bits of information, and ultimately garner buy-in from the entire office. This will ensure that on the day of the event, every employee is engaged and ready to fully commit to the activity. Employee buy-in will make for a more impactful and enjoyable team building activity.

This step will go from the day event plans become official to the day of the event.

5) Team Building!

group putting hands in middle of circleThe final step – of course – is the actual team building activity! By this point, employees should know the event and what to expect (and hopefully be excited for it). For the event planner, this is time to sit back and enjoy whatever activity you planned.

Make sure to plan time during the event to discuss certain aspects of team chemistry in the workplace such as company values and the mission statement! Doing so is a key part of any team building exercise.

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