Skouting for treasure: why team building is “Simply the Best”!

It’s that time of year again, when the kids finish school and everyone in the office seems to be going on their jolly holidays abroad. Destinations include France, New Zealand, Italy and even the Himalayas! Anyway, it’s safe to conclude that the full Skout team won’t be in the office as one big happy family for some time, which is why we decided to make the most of our team bonding day in Manchester.

Team building is a phrase that is consistently used in employee training exercises, but how often is it actually put into practice by workplaces? In my previous employment, activities involving the team were few and far between. In fact, the only ‘team building’ exercises we normally participated in were either the annual Christmas meal or the occasional retirement party. However, companies that do regularly incorporate team activities into the working week sometimes get it wrong and end up turning it into a negative experience. For instance, the BBC reports that some companies have subjected their employees to sheepdog herding, humiliating dance performances and even dolphin videos to develop their leadership skills. Yikes! Yet, team building can provide many benefits to a workforce and if done in the right way, it need not strike fear into the minds of innocent employees. So, with all this in mind, here’s Skout’s latest example of team building fun.

The activity: A treasure hunt in the city of Manchester

You don’t need to be a pirate to hunt for treasure! It turns out that PR people have the required qualities to conduct a successful treasure hunt i.e. a curiosity for random knowledge, the stamina for walking thousands of steps and the ability to drink lots of wine. Using an app called ‘Mobile Adventures’, the aim of the activity was to split our group in two teams and compete for points by unlocking certain parts of the city. Points could be earned by answering questions, taking pictures and slurping our favourite gins (we wish).

The first task of the treasure hunt was to think of a team name and attempt to take a group selfie. You may think selfies are hard to take especially without a filter but trying to conjure up a quirky team name proved equally as difficult.

  • Team “Simply the Best”: Claire, Rob, Fiona and Rebecca
  • Team “Double Ace”: Alex G, Alex B and Celine

After downloading our digital maps, the competition commenced.

The experience: What happened on our team adventure

On your marks, get set, GO! Each team seemed to have that one person who strayed a little too far from the pack. Unfortunately, these certain individuals also seemed to be the map navigators, meaning the rest of the teams had to walk twice as fast to catch up with them. Not to name any names but these fast walking humans were a lot taller than the rest of us short-legged folk- does this give you any clues? Phew!

Throughout the game each team had to locate Manchester landmarks to unlock questions relevant for the area. For example, in Albert Square, we had to guess which movie did not use the town hall as its filming location for the houses of parliament; or, nearby Harvey Nichols we had to find the object which survived a WW2 raid. The game also included: photo-bombing a passer-by, creating a structure using our sunglasses and performing a scene from Shakespeare – one team chose Macbeth and the other decided to re-enact Romeo and Juliet! It’s safe to say that this experience taught us a lot about Manchester and more importantly, each other.

Winners: Team “Simply the Best”

Feedback from the team: Great success or epic fail?

By working in teams whilst also having the added element of competition, our team activity day turned out to be a great success. Each Skout enjoyed their afternoon and we all have unanimously said that we would do it again but maybe the pub version next time! However, even though increased productivity, motivation, creativity, collaboration and communication are just a few of the reasons to get the team involved in recreational activities, the key to a successful experience is just to have fun.

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