Tips for great team-building corporate events: An interview with Off Limits
It has long been recognised that behind every successful company and organisation is a strong team. Team building activities and corporate events are designed to help develop strong teams within organisations, to ultimately result in business development and growth. As team-building activities can motivate employees and generate enthusiasm, it is hardly surprising ‘team-building’ has become a buzzword in contemporary business practices.
But what makes a great corporate event and effective team-building exercises? To shed some light on the subject, we caught up with Will Breen, Venue and Agency Sales Executive for Off Limits Corporate Events, a leading company for corporate team building activities.
How long has Off-Limits been in operation?
Off Limits was established 21 years. Over the years the company has gone from strength to strength and we now offer one of the largest event portfolios in the UK. 95% of what we do is using our own kit and staff.
How long have you been working at Off Limits?
I have been working at Off Limits for a total of 6 ½ years. Originally I worked for Off Limits in the office as events coordinator for 5 years. I left to work for Center Parcs Corporate Events for 1 ½ years but I got the opportunity to return and work for Off Limits as Venue & Agency Sales Executive and have been back for 1 ½ years.
From quads to large-scale Scalextric, Off Limits has got a huge range of team-building toys in its warehouse. Which would you say is the most effective team-building toy at Off Limits?
I would call our warehouse an Aladdin’s Cave. We have the original BBC ‘It’s A Knockout’ costumes and props, along with purpose-built ovens for our Great British Bake Off event. There is always something new being created in the arts department.
I’d say costumes are a pretty effective team-building tool as they are always fun and create a laugh. Dressing up enables teams to relax, bond and even lose some inhibitions, not too many of course!
Which activity proves to be the most popular when companies are on corporate events?
This year we have found that our most popular outdoor event is our Crystal Amazed. Based on the cult TV series classic Crystal Maze, teams work together to crack cryptic clues and overcome mental and physical challenges. The activity is imaginative, creative and fun – essential qualities of effective team-building exercises.
Our indoor event the Lock Box Challenge is also popular. Each team fights against the clock as they attempt to crack the codes to get inside a case. As what seems like a simple task becomes more and more difficult, members can crack under frustration!
The challenge is a great way to engage all the team members and to stimulate some healthy competition, I’m not surprised it is popular.
How do team building exercises help employees bond?
Team building events are all about bringing people together and encouraging them to have fun. We introduce a competitive element to some of our events too that encourages leadership and communication.
They also help employees get to know each other better and bond outside the office environment. When they return to the office they find that they know each other a lot better than when they left, an essential trait in helping teams achieve more.
What are the most engaging team-building exercises?
A lot of our clients are inspired by a number of TV shows and as a result TV-based events prove very popular and more engaging, such as Jungle Experience, Dragon’s Lair, Totally Wiped Out and many more.
The most engaging exercises encourage each team member to take part and play an active role in the activity. Ones that also promote team-work and members having to work together to crack problems and codes are also engaging and effective.
Why is it good that employees/teams spend time with each other outside of the office?
It is a good way to build on relations away from the normal stressed atmosphere of the office. Without the pressure of being at work and having deadlines to meet, employees can get to know one another better, spend some ‘quality’ time opposed to just ‘work’ time together and bond in a fun and engaging way.
You work with some big brands, is there a particular industry or sector that uses corporate events/team building activities the most? Perhaps private sector companies rather than public?
We work with a number of small and large organisations. John Lewis, KPMG, Barclays, McDonald’s, to name a few. All sizes of companies and departments in virtually any industry can benefit from team-building events, though they have to have the budget and time to dedicate to it.
Both private and public sector organisations can benefit from team-building corporate events, any organisation that relies on team work, which is just about every business and institution.
Is there any advice you would like to give companies planning a corporate team building event?
Know the essentials such as group size, location and your objectives of the event is important. As is planning the event as far in advance as possible to give employees plenty of notice and to ensure corporate events and activities aren’t booked up.
How often would you recommend companies/teams go on a corporate/team-building event?
I would say once or perhaps twice a year. The majority of our repeat clients will book at least 1 or 2 annual team building events, plus an event or celebration at Christmas with us.