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By CINDY CHAN and IRIS WEN
2020 was a year hijacked by the COVID-19 pandemic. With lockdowns and social distancing policies in place, many companies have flexibly switched to work from home (WFH) arrangements with little trouble. But work efficiency aside, WFH is not ideal when it comes to building company solidarity.
With vaccines slowly making their way to people around the world, the epilogue of this nightmare is drawing closer. After the pandemic is gone for good and normality is restored, it will be time to reconnect with teammates and company values–if not through travel, through bonding activities. Here are eight selected activities for companies to rebuild their team spirit post-COVID-19, while also being mindful of safety.
1. Hiking and picnicking
Thanks to COVID-19, we experienced more than enough involuntary indoor time last year. Once going out no longer poses as much danger to society, taking some fresh air and getting closer to nature will be healing and soothing after a year in confinement.
Colleagues can socialize with each other while enjoying the beauty of nature on a sunny day. Outside of food and water expenses, it will most likely also be cost-free.
Remember to choose hiking trails that are easy to handle, even for elementary hikers, and check the weather forecast before setting out.
2. Escape Room
For startup companies with younger employees, creative and intellectually-challenging activities might be more appealing. Escape rooms have seen their popularity wax and wane in recent years, but they are still enjoyable activities that promote teamwork and quick thinking.
In an escape room, players attempt to escape a confined location within a designated time by discovering clues and solving puzzles collectively. In short, the game is a real-life simulation of quiz solving. It might be a great opportunity to boost team spirit with the uniform goal of escaping. The game could also be a good way of testing your team’s analytical and communication skills.
3. Cooking and Wine Tasting
We all have one colleague who’s a ‘foodie.’ If your office comes with a kitchen, pantry, or open space, consider organizing a cooking day. This can easily become a cultural feast if you invite teammates from international backgrounds to prepare dishes from their home countries, or work together to learn how to cook ethnic dishes.
If you want to skip the hassle of cooking, a wine tasting day is an equally indulgent and delicious option. Outside service providers can be hired, or if you want to keep it simple, each employee can bring their favorite wine. Remember to buy some cheese too! Enjoy these treats over an afternoon or evening of relaxing conversation.
4. Art, Painting, Pottery
If you want to bring out the creative side of your team, you can opt for an artistic activity like a painting or pottery class. These are both easy and fun. Far from physically-demanding, they are relaxing, interactive, and engaging activities that are well-suited to an evening after a long day of work.
According to Harvard Health, doing art has also been proven to reduce stress–a sorely-needed relief in fast-paced city jobs. Choosing an activity which encourages relaxation and creativity could lead to a less stressed and more motivated team.
If your company values corporate responsibility, organizing a volunteering opportunity is an excellent choice. One-off volunteering with local food aid organizations, tree planting, or rubbish recycling is easy to organize. It’s a valuable opportunity to strengthen the company’s moral compass, and it is rewarding and meaningful for both your colleagues and the community as a whole.
6. Game night or movie night
The simplest (and sometimes the most satisfying) of all the options is to have a game night or movie night at the office after work. You just need a projector, a white wall, some snacks, decent drinks, and voila–an evening of cozy and low-key bonding which requires almost no advance preparation.
2020 has been a challenging year for workers to keep their spirits high. In these troubled times, team-building activities might allow you to take a break from your normal work routine and re-energize your team, getting everyone ready for a better 2021.
Cindy is Jumpstart’s Senior Executive and Iris is Jumpstart’s Editorial Intern.