5 Fun Corporate Events Ideas Mixing Work and Play

 By: Mia Cusack
The experience of 'team islands' forming within the corporate atmosphere is one that is common to many, many companies. This phenomenon occurs when small groups of individuals, usually those that have a common goal within the organisation or similar work function, band together and exclude other employees. The people involved may be very much team players... but only within a small circle.

Corporate events pose both challenges and solutions for companies with a 'team islands' experience. A well-chosen corporate event, handled and set up well, can be the catalyst that starts breaking down the inter-team boundaries and fusing them together. Today we look at some guidelines for creating an organization-wide team island through your corporate event!

What are team islands and how do they form?

The 'team islands' phenomenon can be summed up very simply:

- Small groups of people work well together
- However there are problems in relationships between the teams

A 'team island' may be as small as three people, and as large as thirty, and they will carry over from the workplace to corporate events. They usually form because of differences in work goals, and they can be strengthened by the presence of markers and boundaries in the work environment. Some examples of the markers and boundaries that help define team islands in the workplace include:

- Differing work uniforms
- Different versions of the company logo
- Pay scales
- The type of language used in performing their job
- Being in different areas of the office, or in cubicles compared to enclosed offices, for example.
- Meeting structures that separate teams
- Separated car parking areas

Preparing to break down team islands with corporate events

A corporate event in itself isn't enough to break down team islands. And in fact, some degree of separation within teams is ideal - it simply isn't possible for people to be especially close to everybody in the workplace. However, your corporate event will do the most to help break down island barriers and encourage corporate team building when:

- You pay attention to removing markers in the workplace beforehand - create communal car parking areas, the same uniform for all staff, etc.
- The removal of markers and boundaries is done at around the same time as the corporate event

Choosing a corporate event to facilitate island breakdown

Some corporate events are designed to work in small teams, others are designed to work on a larger scale. Some,, such as go-karting, can mix these two approaches depending on exactly how the day is designed.

If you're trying to break down boundaries, try to ensure that your staff all have the same experience. You'll need to both choose the corporate event activity carefully, and have a hand in how it is set up.

Should you break up a team for an event?

There is a temptation to physically force these little team islands apart through your corporate event, putting one graphic designer with one journalist, one sales girl and one manager within a group at your event. You'll need to be careful about the way you do this, though! If your staff feel they are being manipulated, the net positive effect of your corporate event will be lost. You shouldn't necessarily pander to existing teams at the corporate event - simply find a different way of mixing people up. These could be:

- Based on alphabetical order of last name
- Based on month of birth
- Based on a random activity like drawing straws

Corporate events are one of the single most effective ways of integrating the teams within your organisation... but sue their power wisely!
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