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With uncertainty remaining around the long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on our economy, businesses are encouraging staff to maintain physical distancing wherever possible. For the vast majority of companies, this means less time in the office. 

Apple founder, Steve Jobs – considered a visionary business leader by many – was a huge advocate for the value of face-to-face rather than electronic communications. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions” rather than from “email and iChat”. He believed that personal interactions encourage better teamwork, communication, morale, trust and respect among colleagues. We agree. 

With this in mind, the Be Challenged team has put together a 12-month calendar of COVIDsafe interactive team building ideas along with a step-by-step checklist for organising your perfect team building day out.

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A year of Team Building ideas

From New Year Sales Kick-offs, to your staff Christmas party and everything in between. The Be Challenged team has put together a calendar of COVIDsafe Team Building ideas to reconnect team members who have been working in isolation over the past few months.

Click the links below to navigate to each of the team building ideas.

January: New Year Sales Kick-offs

Sales kick-offs are designed to motivate your entire sales team. The day is typically a high-energy affair which celebrates last year’s wins and focuses on the strategy and implementation for the year ahead.

When to start planning?

September-October.

Be Challenged recommendations

  • Review the agenda: Mix things up to keep the delegates guessing
  • Turn the audience into participants early in the program, allowing them to be included and feel empowered
  • Reinforce the theme with an experiential program or immersion – we retain between 65-75% of information when we actively participate, versus 15% when we passively observe
  • Sometimes it’s not just about getting out of the conference room to engage the audience but more just change the environment inside

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for New Year Sales Kick-offs

February: Graduate Programs

These programs are typically run by large corporations and offer new graduates a defined career path and training. Team building programs are often used to onboard new grads whilst teaching them the importance of teamwork, communication and networking.  

When to start planning?

The previous March. Most graduate positions are finalised a year in advance and competition for the top venues and best entertainment can be fierce. 

Be Challenged recommendations

  • Keep it fresh! See what is new in the market. Every year grads come to the workforce with different mindsets and ambitions, so make sure your business meets and beats their expectations
  • Make sure the team building session links to the goals and vision of the business
  • Establish a connection with the graduates. Develop the social relationship between the graduates and your company. These are your future leaders
  • Take a holistic approach on the day and ensure that each session complements the overall goal of the program

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for Graduate Programs

March: End of Q1 Team Building

The start of the calendar year can be a struggle as many businesses are interrupted by annual leave and staff turnover. A team building event at the end of March can boost morale, ensure staff continue to buy-in to the company’s philosophy and are all aligned to achieve the company’s targets for the rest of the year. 

When to start planning?

January. November and December are usually spent finalising Christmas celebrations. So start to plan the event early in the New Year to allow enough time for an end of March activation. 

Be Challenged recommendations

  • By running the day from breakfast to afternoon, you can spend more budget on the day itself and less on the evening drinks
  • Make it a fully-inclusive day of team building. No preparation required from attending staff

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for End of Q1 Team Building

May: Personal and Team Development day

This day should be unrelated to the businesses daily focus and is all about the personal and professional development of your staff and the company as a whole. 

When to start planning?

January or February. 

Be Challenged recommendations

  • The venue itself is not essential. This day is all about the outcomes, so no need to book up a glamour spot
  • Manage the expectations for participants ahead of the day. Consider hosting over half a day in order to maintain daily tasks at work as the end of financial year is approaching 
  • Consider having a local venue with no overnight stays to keep the costs down

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for Personal and Team Development day

June: Small Teams meeting

Look into organising a high energy day to inspire staff ahead of the final push to achieve their EOFY targets. A full day is not required for all team building ideas.

When to start planning?

April or May.

Be Challenged recommendations

  • Keep it fun and engaging to ensure staff are refreshed for the final few weeks of the financial year
  • Remember that hotels and other venues will also have targets to hit, so there may be EOFY deals to be done to secure a bargain venue
  • Team building is a productive way to spend any surplus assigned spend ahead of year end

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for Small Teams meeting

July: Annual Company Conference

This is your annual showcase and all staff should be involved. This is the event that sets the strategy for the year ahead.

When to start planning?

January. You want to ensure everything is in place for a successful, meaningful event for all attendees.

Be Challenged recommendations

  • This is a once-in-a-year team-building exercise that can supercharge your organisation. So be sure to involve key stakeholders from every department when organising the key messaging
  • Change it up! Make this year’s format different to last year’s format to maintain the engagement of the entire organisation
  • Use engaging team activities to link to the overall theme of the day

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for Annual Company Conference

August: Incentivising and Rewarding Staff

For some staff, recognition may be more powerful than remuneration. So another team building idea is to incentivise high achievers and performers with an exclusive activity or day trip. 

When to start planning?

January. The better the perceived value of the day, the bigger the incentive for staff to perform. Consider booking and informing staff well in advance to provide a true incentive.

Be Challenged recommendations

  • Make the day or trip worthwhile. It’s an ideal opportunity to link any activity to your corporate social responsibility
  • Incentivise staff with a trip to a new and exciting destination or venue
  • The focus should be on rewarding staff. So ensure ‘entertainment’ not team building is the key driver for the day
  • Attendees may well be from different teams or departments. Use team building and networking to form bonds early on in the experience

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for Incentivising and Rewarding Staff

September: Senior Leadership Meeting

September is generally the time where businesses look to formalise their plan and strategy for the next 12 months and beyond. These days are typically smaller-scale off-site meetings. No bells and whistles required, actionable outcomes are the key.

When to start planning?

June or July. A few months should be ample time to secure a venue and organise the agenda for the day ahead. 

Be Challenged recommendations

  • Find a space which will promote innovative thinking
  • Don’t waste time on unnecessary expenditure. The day should be simple and the format clear. Less is more
  • Think of the day as a safe space where positive friction should be encouraged
  • Do not get hung up on the here and now. This meeting is forward thinking
  • The resulting can then be rolled out to the wider team once finalised    

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for Senior Leadership Meeting

October: Family Fun Day

A family fun day is a day of activities that encourages bonding between family members and other business colleagues. Employees are encouraged to bring their family, especially children, along for a day of fun activities. These days are excellent for cementing the bond between organisations and their staff.

When to start planning?

April. Depending on the size of your organisation, this can be a large event with lots of moving parts (and children). So give yourself time to make it an event to remember.

Be Challenged recommendations

  • The focus is family – so food and drink does not need to be high-end
  • You need a space that allows a lot of people but is easy to manage. Outdoor venues can be a great option 
  • Your primary focus should be entertaining the children. If they’re happy and engaged, then everything else will follow    

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for your Family Fun Day

December: Christmas and End of Year Party

For many staff, the Christmas party is the highlight of the corporate calendar. So this, alongside the annual meeting, is one you have to get right.

When to start planning?

April. All companies are looking to book over the same two weeks. So start early to avoid last minute panic. If you leave it too late, then the best venues will be booked up.

Be Challenged recommendations

  • Be smart with your money. Christmas party spend can spiral – especially after a few drinks. So ensure a balance between venue, refreshments and engagement. If you’re planning on treating the team to an after party, then ensure you budget for this too!
  • Start the day with activities and networking to ensure that the rest of the party will flow
  • Consider randomly assigned seating arrangements, or changing it up after each course

Recommended Be Challenged Programs for your Christmas and End of Year party

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