Thanks to The Office and Michael Scott, the phrase “team building” can’t be used today without cueing eyerolls and groans.
But all jokes and negative stereotypes aside, team building has a very important place in a business’ cultural and operational fabric. It’s an integral way to build trust amongst employees, teach conflict resolution, and encourage communication and collaboration.
In fact, investing in team building could directly affect your bottom line; a February 2017 study by Gallup found that people with a self-described “best friend at work” are seven times more likely to be fully engaged at work. That makes sense: the closer you feel to your coworkers, the higher likelihood that you’ll do your best to help them succeed.
Gallup also found that highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by a staggering 147% in earnings per share!
So what does all this mean? Happy workers are engaged workers, and engaged works are critical to making your business succeed.
Admittedly, there are a lot of hokey and stale team building exercises out there. But team building doesn’t have to be that way; there are tons of fun, offbeat and exciting things to do with your team to get them happy and collaborating - like bike tours.
Here are 6 reasons why your next team building activity, off site or corporate event should be a bike tour (or involve bikes!).
1. It forces you to get out of work mode.
One of the key elements of a successful team building endeavor is to get your employees away from the office and the frame of mind that comes with it.
Riding a bike, for most, is associated with childhood. Bike riding has the magical effect of taking people back to a simpler time; it’s the best way to disconnect, relax and get out of work mode.
2. Exercise makes you happy.
Reese Witherspoon’s character said it best in Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Exercise is a guaranteed way to invigorate and energize your team. No mid-day coffee break necessary.
3. It’s a great way to show new (and old) team members the city.
Is your team filled with relatively newer residents? Bike tours are a wonderful, fun and unique way to see the city. Help them get to know the city and fall in love with their new home - and, by association, their new workplace.
Additionally, many bike tours allow you to choose specific themes. (For example, at Austin Bike Tours and Rentals, we offer everything from tours to our favorite swimming holes, to iconic art and architecture, to Austin’s best food spots, to everything in between. Additionally, you can request a custom tour with any of our guides.)
4. It will help you bond through hardship.
Strenuous or not, any sort of exercise is a stressor. And if disaster movies taught us anything, it's that people bond through shared adversity. (Anyone who has participated in a group exercise or bootcamp class will know that nothing makes you feel closer to the people around you than when you’re all dripping with sweat and collectively cursing the instructor for telling you to do 30 burpees.)
While a bike tour or group ride certainly won’t have you crying tears of sweat, there are bound to be some more intermediate-to-difficult portions of the ride (especially if you’re located in hilly Austin) that’ll help you see your colleagues in a new, more sympathetic light.
5. It may be outside of some people's comfort zones.
Not everyone is an expert bike rider or entirely comfortable on a bike. And that’s perfectly all right, because that's where the real bread and butter of a team building exercise comes into play.
Choosing to do something slightly outside of someone’s comfort zone asks other people to step up in new ways, whether it’s offering help and tutelage, giving words of support, or practicing patience and empathy.
6. It's cost-effective.
Finally (and this may be the only reason you need), bike tours are one of the most affordable and cost-effective group activities out there.
Sure, you could spend hundreds renting out a venue or buying tickets for a big event. But why do that when you can see the beauty of your city from the best seat in the world?