Ask people their thoughts on team-building, and you may get a mixed bag of responses. According to U.S. News & World Report, nearly one-third of office employees dislike team-building activities. If done in a positive way, however, these activities can afford employees the opportunity to get to know each other outside of the usual workplace setting. As an employer, you have the ability to put a positive spin on these activities while benefiting your employees in terms of health and productivity.

It isn’t as daunting as you might think to organize fun activities that keep employees feeling active and engaged. It’s important, however, to take the needs and limitations of your employees into consideration. Choose a variety of options, such as dates, times and activities suited for those with physical limitations. With that in mind, below are some of the more common activities that employers are offering to employees.

Volunteering

Integrating volunteer activities into your team-building program is an ideal way to promote the mental and physical well-being of employees. In addition, volunteer opportunities are a chance to give back to the community, build a sense of community caring and pride and perhaps give employees a chance to recharge outside of the workplace. Common volunteer opportunities suited for this purpose include:

  • Earth Day.
  • A community clean-up day.
  • Homeless shelter/food bank opportunities.

Sports and Fitness

Employers may choose to promote team-building through fitness-based activities. This can increase employees’ camaraderie while also providing a platform to improve their health. You can hold some of these activities on a regular basis:

  • Bowling.
  • Softball.
  • Group runs.
  • Walking groups.

Take a Field Trip

Allowing employees to experience an activity outside of the office promotes one-on-one interaction and learning about each other’s hobbies, interests and the like. According to an article featured on American Express’ OPEN Forum, larger corporations are looking to startups for new and exciting ways to engage employees. Some of the unique field trips featured include:

  • Museum/zoo.
  • Wildlife center.
  • Paintball.
  • Karaoke.
  • Boat cruise.
  • Kickball/dodgeball tournaments.

Share a Meal

When thinking of getting meals from a team-building standpoint, remove the monthly employee birthday cake or potluck from your mind. If you plan something that employees perceive as forced, it won’t enhance your team-building goals. Instead, find informal ways for your team to gather, enjoy a meal and get to know one another. Some suggestions for unique dinner-based activities include:

  • Cookout.
  • Dinner cruise.
  • Cooking lessons.
  • Cook-offs.

In order for your efforts to be well received, be sure to choose activities that actually interest your employees. The best way to get feedback on what your employees would enjoy is to simply ask them. If you offer activities that are engaging, fun and interesting, you’ll increase participation and improve the team dynamic.

Allison Hutton is an experienced writer, editor, communications professional, researcher and social media consultant. During her more than 15 years of communications and writing experience, Allison has worked with a variety of clients, from small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies. She has an M.S. in entertainment business, a B.A. in communication and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and four children.