As I walk the last few blocks back to my car in the freezing cold drizzling rain my ears are cold, I can barely feel my legs and my toes are frozen. In spite of all this I’ve got a bounce in my step, a smile on my face and a warm feeling inside.
We just wrapped up our team happy hour at Nel Centro Portland, with a beautiful outdoor patio complete with a living wall and toasty warm outdoor fireplaces and seating area. As we utter these famous last words…
“Awesome, it’s not raining let’s sit outside.”
What was beautiful, but cold weather, quickly turned to rain as we scatter to relocate our group under the eaves outside and way too far from the fire. While this may sound a little…who are we kidding, A LOT…less than fun, we still had the chance to chit chat, get to know each other a little more on a personal level and joke as we huddle together. In the end that’s what makes it really worth it.
The memories we walk away with or events that turn into company wide inside jokes all make me a little happier to head into work the next day. While it’s easy to politely decline and head home to spend time with family, pushing a little beyond the comfort zone or taking a page from “YES Man” and getting out there are what make these moments and connections a little more special.
Without it we would never have had the chance to giggle over the time Andrew almost got tackled by the secret service while running in to work on a day that Barack Obama was in town. Or the time we narrowly avoided getting a group tattoo (thank goodness). Or when we thought we’d wipe the floor with a bunch of 13 year olds playing paintball but instead got paired up against a group of ex Navy Seals and left without our pride and with lots of bruises. Or as our happy hour was cut short by a large party who had reserved the room and we think maybe, just maybe they’ll never notice if we join in their celebration and as we reach for a glass of bubbly to celebrate…they actually do notice. As we’re shown the door we wouldn’t have it any other way than to end the night together with one more story to tell in the morning.
Creating and scheduling team building events and activities is about more than just having fun. With most of our day split between work and home we want to instill a sense of belonging, enjoyment and pride in our teams. We do this in many ways with activities like happy hours or annual celebrations, but we also include many smaller touches that can often go unnoticed like inspirational quotes on letter boards, thank you notes of appreciation, snacks in the kitchen and scheduled time to get together for lunch. None of these make a difference without participation and each opportunity brings the chance for more conversation and a closer connection that bring us together day in and day out.