I’m a huge fan of team outings and workplace events that don’t take place in the office. It is so much easier, pleasant, and productive when you’re working with people that you know on a personal level! I’ve found that the workplace is a great way to meet friends (…and boyfriends. Hi, Nate! Cat’s out of the bag!).
It probably comes as no surprise to many of you readers that I am often the organizer of these out-of-office activities (hence most of them involve food), so I’ve consolidated to share with you!
1. Themed potlucks
These are a great, casual way to spend time together after work. You can either host at a colleague’s house or meet in a park, and everyone has to bring something to contribute. My best advice is to make it themed, so everyone has to have a story why they brought what they did. One of my favorite of these potluck dinners was when we did “themes from your childhood” and tell the background story on the dish!
2. Group exercise classes
You may think that you’d never want to run into a colleague after the gym, but doing a team workout class usually brings lots of laughs, and everyone is in great spirits after lots of endorphins! I’ve done team Crossfit classes, team yoga, and team runs. We’ve even had yoga instructors come into the office and do a class in one of the conference rooms!
3. Organized “drinking” activities
These are like major notch above the average happy hour. They provide some structure around having a couple of drinks, so everyone isn’t just hovering around a table depending on someone who can keep a conversation going. A couple of great options:
- Sipping and Painting classes (we went to one recently called Pinot’s Palette) where you paint pictures following a teacher, all while sipping on beverages. The paintings actually turn out remarkably well!
- Wine or beer tastings
- Cooking or pastry classes
- Karaoke (for those with more adventurous colleagues…)
While this option is a bit more expensive than the others, everyone is always in good spirits when they are on a boat! I’ve organized these on the small and large scale, and most cities are built on some form of water and have plenty of evening cruise options. The views and activity itself gives everyone something to talk about!
5. Tourist activities
Would it surprise you if you and your teammates haven’t done many of the “touristy” activities in your own city? I’m ashamed to say that I never went to the Air and Space Museum while I lived in DC, among most other museums. Everyone enjoys being a tourist in their own city, but they often need an excuse to do so. It’s a great way to rally the troops and try out that restaurant that everyone’s been wanting to go to or finally check out an exhibit/park/activity.
Getting together with your colleagues to volunteer is a great way to bond through an activity that everyone can feel good about. Some ideas for a one-evening/day commitment include helping out at a homeless shelter, putting together food/toy bags around the holidays, beautification/clean up events, or even running a charity race.
7. Sporting events
Everyone can get excited about cheering on the local team! I’ve had team events at hockey, football, soccer, and baseball games. Lots of ticket sellers for these teams will do discounts in bulk for large groups. For those who may not want to fork over the cash for a sport outing, you can have everyone meet for drinks before and then split off.
8. Live music
I’m not talking about going to an electronic dance festival with your boss, but there are plenty of low-key live music outings that make for great team events. Especially in the summertime with outdoor music! Everyone can picnic and listen to some jazz, or eat some BBQ and sway to some bluegrass. You’d be surprised with how many options there are in your city – you just have to search for them!