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The Importance of Team Building

company group shot at the podium of k1 speed

In the modern workplace, it’s becoming increasingly important to host team building or team bonding events for your employees. As more work is done in the digital landscape, less communication is occurring in the office between employees. If it does occur, chances are it’s via email, message boards, or some other equally isolating environment where physically working together is non-existent.

Furthermore, a recent Gallup study found that 70% of American employees do not feel engaged in their work, which translates to a less effective workplace and a loss of money for the company. According to Gallup, disengaged employees are estimated to cost companies around $450-$550 billion in lost productivity each year.

 

Engaging your employees is one of the main benefits of team building. Even Forbes Magazine recently posted that Team Building is the most important investment you’ll make.  but before we get into what you should do for a great team building event, let’s dive into some basics for a deeper understanding.

gallup study bar graph detailing low engagement in workplace

What is Team Building?

photo of women working at hawthorne works during the experiment

Team Building is typically a series of activities with the intention of transforming a group of individuals into a cohesive team that can effectively work together back in the office.

 

It’s believed that the concept of team building originated in the 1920s with a man named Elton Mayo, a pioneer of social experiments based around the workplace. Between 1924 and 1932, Elton hosted a series of experiments at Hawthorne Works – a Western Electric telephone factory. These experiments are now commonly referenced in any human resources book as the “Hawthorne Studies” or the “Hawthorne Effect”.

 

Originally, they tested to see if the workplace itself has an impact on performance. They changed the lighting of the office, discovering that brighter light increased productivity. However, when lights were later dimmed, productivity still increased. The reason being that employees appreciated the interest from their management in their well-being. Since management seemed to care about them, they then worked harder for management.

Next, Mayo selected two women who were told to select four more of their choosing. The group of six women were monitored for performance against a randomly selected group. They found the group who chose themselves worked better together, as they had a sense of belonging to one another and a feeling of being a team. Furthermore, since they were closer, that put increased pressure to keep up their performance, lest they embarrass themselves in front of their peers.

 

However, it took time before companies truly adopted team building. Though programs had been created in the 1970s, offices were still fixated on individual performance rather than team efforts. It wasn’t until the 80s and 90s when inflation climbed and international debt increased, that the concept of teams were further explored, leading to the proliferation of team building and bonding exercises you see today.

 

The Benefits of Team Building

 

So, what can you expect from successful team building?

 

Your team can expect better communication, an increased efficiency within the team, increased morale, and a better understanding of one’s abilities.

 

The bottom line is that every employee is different. We all have different strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Team bonding  exposes what these are through its carefully designed activities, allowing others to discover hidden talents/abilities and knocking down any social barriers in the process.

 

 

What are Team Building Events?

 

Team building events are a fun way to promote team bonding activities. Typically, these are held outside the office, allowing employees the opportunity to ditch the desk and focus completely on the program. There’s no excuse to take a phone call or answer an email – events isolate the team and eliminate any distractions that could alter the effectiveness of the program.

Team Building Objectives You Should Target

 

The main purpose of team building/team bonding is to develop a team’s ability to work together successfully.

 

This includes:

  • Aligning the activity around the company’s goals
  • Building work relationships that are effective
  • Heightening awareness for individual team member’s abilities/role
  • Finding solutions to problems as a team

 

 

Types of Team Building Activities 

 

All team building activities are not built the same, but instead are designed to target specific areas of teamwork.

cartoon of office workers meeting over teamwork

Think of it like weightlifting. Just because you work on your “guns” doesn’t mean you’re the strongest person in the world. You need to work on your back, legs, cardio, etc. to develop your overall fitness.

 

Here are the different types of team building:

 

  • Intellectual
  • Sporting
  • Relaxing
  • Volunteering

 

Intellectual activities are designed to stimulate critical thinking skills and requires the team to work together to work on and figure out a certain challenge or puzzle.

 

Sporting activities get the blood pumping and body moving while instilling a sense of comradery and team spirit. Go karting is a popular choice in this category – it gets your adrenaline and blood pumping, gets people talking afterwards, and opens

 

Relaxing Getaway activities allow teams the opportunity to cut loose from their work responsibilities. This promotes non-work-related conversations, allowing individuals the chance to learn more about their coworkers, which will strengthen bonds and discover new talents that could be useful back at the office.

 

Volunteering activities requires that a group work together to do better for their community. Whether it’s joining in on a post-Independence Day beach cleanup, or donating some time at the local nursing home, volunteering will give your team a chance to work together while feeling a real sense of accomplishment. Plus, it can make your company look really good when you help out in your community.

Our Team Building Icebreakers for Memorable Meetings

Pit Crew Challenge

 

In this team bonding activity, groups of four assume the role of a racing team mechanic. The team’s goal is to change the wheels of a go kart in the least amount of time. Each individual will be tasked to a single wheel. They’ll remove the wheel with a tool before switching it with the team member that’s standing on the other side of the kart. If that other member isn’t done with wheel, the clock just continues to tick away without progress made.

 

Good communication and the ability to lend a helping hand will be crucial team building skills necessary to complete this challenge in a quick time.

 

Ball Challenge

 

It’s going to take patience and encouragement to pull through this difficult challenge in the form of a relay. The group will be split equally into teams. Teams will then have one member go out against a member of the other team in a wheel to wheel race on our track. However, each kart will have a soccer ball precariously perched on top of a pole. The object is to complete a single lap quickly without accidentally rolling the ball off the perch. If the ball rolls off, the kart stops while a staff member retrieves it, costing valuable time. Once across the start/finish line, team members will work together to switch drivers of the kart, and the next member will have their chance to set a fast lap with the ball.

 

Not only will each team learn valuable team building skills in this challenge, but they’ll also learn the basics of fast driving – driving smooth. Any jerk of the steering wheel will send that ball flying, resulting in lost time for that kart while it’s retrieved. You’ll need to master this to do well in the next challenge.

 

Indoor Electric Go Kart Racing

 

Though all of our electric go-karts are single-seaters – meaning one person to a kart – you’ll be surprised how well racing can build your team.

 

Team members can acquire a new skill on the track, providing an incredible opportunity for fellow coworkers to help assist those that are struggling to catch on. They can provide pointers on how they attack corners, how they drive the kart, and other great conversation topics.

 

Team members will learn to trust each other out on the course too – if one individual is going for a pass on the inside of another, they’ll need to play it fair on track to avoid a collision.

 

An adrenaline rush always helps stimulate conversation as well. When you get out of a race, you’ll want to talk about everything you just experienced on the track.

 

And when teams are pitted against each other on the track, you’re going to love the exciting team spirit that’ll be generated. Loud cheering trackside is not an uncommon sight during our team bonding events, as coworkers cheer on each other on track.

A Helpful Team Building Checklist

someone writing down checklist in notepad

How long of an event are you looking for?

Our purpose-built team building program will last around two hours. If looking for something that involves less time, check out our Mini Grand Prix package which can be completed in less than an hour for smaller groups. While it won’t include the activities mentioned above, it will include our famous indoor racing experience which still comes with its own set of team-building qualities mentioned earlier.

 

Figure out a date/time that works for everybody.

Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to secure an event with a deposit, only to find out half your team can’t make that date/time. Also, don’t be that boss that requires employees do team building before or after their usual shift. Remember, you want to increase morale, not make it an obligation when they’re normally with family or friends.

 

Set some achievable goals for your event.

What do you want to get out of it? Are you more focused on everyone just having a good time and getting along with their coworkers, or were you hoping to teach them anything specific such as critical thinking skills?

Determine your budget.

Before you go all out on buying out an entire K1 Speed for hours, look at your budget. See what you can afford and be flexible with your plans. Hey, that Mini Grand Prix package is still plenty productive and cheaper if the budget is tight.

 

Create a hashtag for your event so the team can share their experience on social media.

Encourage your employees to share their experience on social media! Not only will this promote your team to start following each other on social media and therefore strengthen their relationships, but it’ll also show their friends/family how cool of a business you are! #killingit

 

Find the right venue for your event.

We’ll save you some time – you already have found the right venue for your event! An event at K1 Speed is the perfect choice for the team building needs highlighted in this post.

Know Before You Go: Electric Go Kart Driving Tips

“Slow In, Fast Out”

Make sure you slow down before a tight turn. It sounds obvious, but most people are used to lesser karting places where you can go pedal to the metal the entire time – not the case at K1 Speed. If you go to fast into a corner here, either you’ll understeer (you turn, but the kart doesn’t) and hit the barrier, spin out, or keeping going but lose a ton of time. You want to decrease your entry speed in the corner so you can maximize your exit speed out of the corner.

 

Smooth Steering

Sure, screeching your tires every corner makes you think you’re driving fast, but it also means you’re losing traction, and most importantly, SPEED. Make sure every move you make is as smooth as possible. Jerky movements will only produce a slow lap time.

 

Brake in a Straight Line

If you try to brake while turning into a corner, chances are good that you’re going to spin. When braking for corner, make sure your car is pointed in a straight line, wheel straight in place. This provides maximum traction and settles kart down before it gets thrown into a corner with aggression.

corporate man sits in a go kart at k1 speed

Learn the Racing Line

The fastest way around the track is what is called, “the racing line”. A straight line is the fastest line, so try to minimize the curve of your turns out on track. Make sure you make a wide approach going into a corner to make your curve shallower, while getting close to the inside barrier while hitting the apex (the center of the turn). Ask any of our track staff what the best lines are around the track, and they’ll be sure to throw you some pointers – they know the track well.

 

Follow Someone Faster

A common racing school technique is to have the student chase an instructor around the track. This way, the student learns where the instructor is breaking, accelerating, turning in to the corner, etc. so that they can mirror what they’re doing and learn how to drive faster. The same can apply anytime you’re on track with a faster driver.

 

Pick out the faster racer in your group and try to stay on their tail – watch where they’re turning, watch if they’re breaking or just lifting off and coasting into a turn, or they’re going pedal to the medal through the corner because they have the correct line. Analyze and adapt to your opponent and watch those lap times drop.

 

So there you have it! Team Building is an incredibly important part of increasing productivity in the workplace. It’s about time you found this out for yourself – book a team building event at K1 Speed now!

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