Fostering bonds between your sales team members is crucial, with engagement, team loyalty, and increased productivity as payoffs for your efforts. But while outings in the summer, spring, and even fall come easily to mind, winter weather can give you pause.
But with morale often dipping in the dark of winter – especially after the holidays have passed – you shouldn’t stop team outings. In fact, that just might make the winter the best time to push harder on team outings.
With a few ideas and some creativity, you can keep your sales team happy the whole winter through – and keep morale, productivity, and performance high. And no, they don’t all include the bar or cocktail parties.
That said, let’s dive into our winter outing suggestions.
1. Trivia night
You can take your team out to a trivia night at a local bar, club, or coffee house and work together to win the night. Or, put one together of your own and arrange for great prizes for the winners. You can pair team members up by interests, talents, or otherwise – just don’t forget to make sure everyone isn’t just teamed up with someone they know well already – mix it up.
2. Host a movie night/movie trip
Take the afternoon off and head over to your local movie theater. Order pizza, beer (or other drinks), and kick back for a few hours. If budget allows, you can even rent out a whole screen. In either case, plan the outing well ahead so the team has time to get excited and look forward to it. Plus, if you do it in during the weekday, a little thrill of playing “hooky” can provide a memorable bonding experience for your team.
Volunteering is a classic team outing. Plus, it’s been scientifically proven to be good for your health – body and mind. There are plenty of organizations that you can volunteer your and your team’s time to during the winter. So think things like bell ringing for the Salvation Army or working clothes and toy drives.
4. Escape rooms
Escape rooms have become popular in previous years, but they can be especially useful as an outing for your sales team that helps build teamwork. They’ll have to play off each other’s strengths to solve puzzles and riddles and escape the room. Alongside learning organically about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, you may even get some feedback from the organizers on how well your team communicates with each other, although that depends on the escape room company you choose.
5. Indoor kart racing
If there’s an indoor kart racing facility in your area, it’s worth checking out. Anything that sends adrenaline through your system can be an excellent outing to get team members to bond and interact in new ways. Bragging rights to the winners – at least until next time.
6. Winter (seasonal) events
Every season has its events that are unique to the time of year, and winter is no different. Take your team ice skating, skiing, or anything else your city or region offers only in the winter for activities. For skiing, you can even make a miniature team retreat out of it: get a few rooms at a ski mountain for the weekend, ski during the day, and relax in the hot tub or bar in the evening. If a full weekend is too much, go up for a Saturday and spend the night, or carpool and drive back the same day.
Who doesn’t like bowling? Whether you’re fantastic, horrible, or somewhere in between, throwing a ball down a lane is fun. It’s also an excellent opportunity for people to make complete fools of themselves, or beat their fellow employees in something distantly related to real life.
8. Scavenger hunt
If you want to get creative, make the objects to be found company-related (like tied to its history) or insider jokes that only employees would know. And to really make things interesting – and raise the stakes – make the prize something everyone will be interested in, but have to work together to win. Things like more paid vacation time, Fridays off for a month, extended lunch times, etc.
9. Laser tag
Laser tag can bring out your team members’ inner children, running around wielding lasers to battle it out. But it also forces them to use logic and strategy to win. Make the losing side buy the winners drinks afterward, and you’ve got a 2-in-1 team building outing.
10. Hands-on activities
This is really a myriad of different outing ideas, but they all fall under the same umbrella. Pottery, photography, cooking, painting – the number of classes involving hands-on creative work may surprise you. Just Google search the class type you’re thinking of and get things setup.
Team outings get a bad reputation for being “lame.” But that doesn’t mean they need to be, and that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be an important part of your team’s culture. Team outings – and team building events – build trust between each other, help mitigate conflict, encourage communication, and increase collaboration.
Put simply, team outings mean more engaged employees, which is great for your company (and team) culture, not to mention improving the bottom line. It doesn’t have to be lame; it can be enjoyable for everyone involved.
An important thing to note is that the most successful, memorable outings don’t feel like another day at the office. So that might involve taking an afternoon off, or setting aside an evening, Saturday, or whole weekend for the outing. Keep it light, fun, and avoid overt leadership lessons or takeaways – the point is to foster bonds between your sales team members.
Building real relationships between your sales team members doesn’t have to stop in the cold of winter time. There are still plenty of things you can organize to foster greater bonds, beat the winter weather blues, and increase morale and productivity around the office.