Team building activities: the official guide

Sometimes, getting to know the people you work with could be quite a challenging and timely task. The small talks at work are not enough to lay the foundations of a deep and meaningful connection between colleagues. Good communication is believed to be in the core of a strong and successful team. Yet, we often tend to forget that the flow of professional communication is somehow influenced by personal bonds as well. This is the reason why it is only in the benefit of the teams to take good care of the team spirit, which would certainly pay back with better professional results in the future.

As a platform, which facilitates the booking process of unique alternative spaces for your company’s next offsite meeting, workshop, conference or corporate business event, we at Spacebase decided to give you some insights on how we do it. The following guide aims to help you with the organization of your team building event, which you have been postponing for long enough. This time we engaged in a “cooking together” activity in a cozy professional cooking studio in the heart of Berlin. If Gordon Ramsay had tasted our three-course-meal maybe he would have given us a pinch of his parky comments, but we loved it and most importantly, we had so much fun. Take into consideration that you can always go fancy, but even with a budget of 10€ per person, you can find a nice place with a lovely atmosphere, where your team can relish delicious food and decent drink selection. So, prepare your toques and write down carefully the ingredients of this recipe!

After deciding on what the event would be, it’s time to organize all the details around it:

  • Step 1: Pick a location outside of your office area. Change is healthy and even the journey from the office to the studio might be adventurous. In our situation, a person from our team got caught without a transportation ticket in the U-Bahn, as he/she had lost his/her wallet the same day. All of us engaged in helping him/her to cope with the situation and we really managed to do so!

Tip: If you wonder where to look for the perfect location, we have already taken care of that, providing 4000 + amazing spaces worldwide. Check out the cooking studio, which we booked for our event. It is very central and only a 2-minute walk away from the tram and metro station with a warm and cozy atmosphere. Alternatively, if your office is located somewhere in the area of Kreuzberg or Neukölln, this might be a more suitable option for you.

  • Step 2: Split into teams. Following the logic of a three-course meal, we split into three teams: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The idea is to have people from different departments work together, which would challenge their adapting skills and foster creativity and uncommon collaboration. The fairest way to do the grouping is by creating a 2-round lottery so that everyone picks their own luck. In the first round, only managers participate, so that we can make sure each of them is distributed in a different team. The rest participate together in the second round. As our teams were three, we created three types of votes: A for appetizer, D for main dish and X for desserts. It is important to indicate additionally three votes for Chefs of each team and one vote for a person, who will be responsible for the drinks.

Tip: It is a good idea to have more introvert people for the positions of the chefs, as this encourages them to reveal their entire potential and socialize outside of the comfort zone.

  • Step 3: Decide on the recipe and create a shopping list. The chefs of each team should gather and brainstorm on the perfect menu, ensuring a nice transition between meals, whose tastes go hand in hand. Choosing an unusual, yet a doable dish excites the people in your team and motivates them to excel in performing it. Here is the time to emphasize the great importance of competitiveness and the bond it creates among the team members. Good results might boost their productivity at work and inspire them to have the outperforming attitude, in general.

  • Step 4: Order the food ingredients. We personally decided to do that via AmazonFresh, as it saves you a lot of time. There are two options: order them directly to the location of the cooking studio or order them to your own office. The first one is more time efficient and requires fewer efforts, but you should always ensure that the order is delivered at least 1,5 – 2 hours in advance, in case of a delay. This option is only possible if you arrange that the space owner is on site at the right time and can receive the delivery on your behalf. Alternatively, you can order the food to your office and then bring it on your own to the cooking studio. That option requires car rental if you do not have a company car. If your recipes require fresh products, such as bread, make sure to order it from a bakery, nearby the studio. In our case, we called and made an order one day in advance and picked it up on our way to the event.

Tip: Regardless of which option you choose, make sure you have planned on taking additional stuff, which might have an essential impact on the atmosphere. For instance, a loudspeaker for playing some music can break the ice if there is an initial tension. Or containers can be helpful if there are food leftovers, which you would like to take afterwards. Sustainability is important! Also, clarify the available cooking equipment with the cooking studio prior to the event so you can bring additionally anything if missing.

  • Step 5: Some personal hygiene measures before we start. An important part of the preparation is to ensure a healthy environment for food handling. In our studio it was clean and neat, so we had to take care only of our personal hygiene. Wash thoroughly and dry your hands, put on protective clothing such as apron and rubber gloves, people with long hair should at least tie it back and make sure not to touch anything, but food.

  • Step 6: Get down to cooking. It is nice if each team has their own space for cooking, but in our case two of them had to share a space, which created an interesting and unexpected setting. In that way, you can see how teams which should be competing, eventually start helping each other through the exchange of advice, butter, sugar, salt, you name it. Our cooking studio was perfect for the creation of such an atmosphere! This is the point, where innovation and creativity naturally appear throughout the process. Some people prefer not following a recipe, which could be quite challenging, but fun at the same time. In our case, we were caught unprepared, with a missing mixer, so people were taking turns, trying to substitute its function through finding creative and innovative approaches towards it. You can imagine the view.

  • Step 7: Gather around for a cozy meal to honour the united efforts. The sweetest part is when all teams sit down together with a glass of wine and enjoy respectfully each dish. The chefs present the ingredients and it might be a good idea to state what were the challenges their teams faced in the process of cooking. Eating brings people together, but preparing the food together contributes significantly to its delight. This is the most suitable phase for networking and the part where people really get to know each other.

Tip: You will definitely want to save the memory from such an experience, so one person should be appointed as responsible for taking pictures regularly throughout the course of the event and sharing them afterwards with everyone.

As a conclusion, we should advise you not to put too much pressure on the team event organization. We believe that if you have the perfect location planned for it, combined with this guideline, everything should go smoothly. Enjoy each step of it. In our case, each bite!

Event planners, we advise you to download the Checklist, which we created for you to aid in the process of planning!

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