Educators and Academics need Team Building Too!

We firmly believe that anyone in a working team needs and deserves team building. It turns out, research supports that those working in our schools and colleges really do need that element of team focus. As faculty in educational and academic settings can be especially prone to isolation, administrators need to pay critical attention to including team building activities in their professional development plans.

As many of the teachers and professors spend their days with students in the classroom, it is particularly difficult, especially for those newer to the team, to connect and build relationships with their fellow staff. And when their are opportunities for learning and development, the attention is on student performance metrics, not staff morale. 

Interestingly enough, there seems to be a correlation between the level of team perspective and the student's learning. So while certainly adding new skills to the teachers' repertoire is critical, it would appear that time needs to be made for the team skills of the staff members as well.

Here are some links to a variety of articles (even a doctoral dissertation!) you may want to check out:

Top Meeting Trend: Creative Corporate Team Building

Just publicized April 18th, Successful Meetings magazine announced Benchmark Hospitality’s Top Meeting Trends for 2016.  See full article here. The research indicates eight top trends to watch and Creative Team Building as a part of meetings is #3. While we here at PlayWorks Group are tickled pink to be providing services to meet this trend, we couldn’t be any less surprised.

Meeting owners are realizing more and more the benefit of a playful break within the near constant onslaught of content. Participants need time to process their learning and connect with their teammates in a fun and safe environment.

Corporate team building events creates this level playing field and allows the meeting participants to rely on their default social brain to create neural connections and context around the meeting objectives. These shared experiences allow individuals to experience their co-workers in a new way, forging relationships and alliances that will assist and empower them to be more successful within their daily work. It's a win-win for the meeting and the employees.

If we're talking trends, I'd say that creating ways for meetings and employees to be more effective should never fall off this list!

Really, Why DIY?

Team Building Events are not for the faint of heart. Seriously. Most of our friends think we hang around all day playing with giant trikes, pool noodles and hula hoops. And while we like to say we play for a living, the truth is, it’s a job. J.O.B.  Just like everyone else, there are good days and bad days, and just like everyone else’s job, there are parts that are awesome and some that, you know… aren’t.

So, as we roll out our new DIY Tookit this week, we’ve got to be honest. It’s not going to be for everyone. We want to provide solutions for those of our clients that simply can’t afford our services each and every time. We want to make you look great when you have to plan a team building event. You should look like a hero no matter what. And every team deserves affordable and effective team building options. We really do believe it. And that’s why we created amazing DIY options for you. And why we plan to keep adding additional options on and on-going basis.


When you DIY, you are the one sourcing (and schlepping) materials, setting up the room, creating playlists, taping tables, counting M&M’s, all the logistics. No, not rocket science, but it’s on your to-do list instead of ours. And, you won’t have our incredibly talented and experienced staff and facilitators guiding you and your participants through the program, reading the crowd and keeping them energized. And that’s okay! You’ll save the money from bringing our team of professionals and you’ll absolutely save time from having to research and create something on your own. Or time piecing ideas together. We’ve got you covered!

Be honest with yourself about your budget, your time and your goals. You may find that you CAN afford a professionally facilitated program that leaves your team wanting more each and every time. And if you really cannot, we’ve got your back. Check out the new DIY Toolkit and let us know you what you think. We’d love your feedback and can’t wait to get your thoughts and impressions. 855-TEAM-BLD

Sweet 16: Top ideas for team building & ice breakers on Pinterest

How are you doing on your bracket so far? Yeah, us too.

This week we’re going to hit on another Sweet 16. We know not everyone can afford to hire a professional team building event company. And not every group needs a full-scale program. Sometimes, a few DIY team building activities will meet your group’s needs. At that point, you’d start your search on Google, Bing and Pinterest looking for the best ideas you could find.

You’ve heard us say it before, but our goal is to make you look like the planning hero you are. So, we’ve done the research for you and come up with a list of eight fantastic team building activity ideas and eight stellar icebreaker suggestions off of Pinterest – versions of which we’ve used at some point. Now all you have to do is choose! Take a look and let us know your favorites too!

8 Favorite Team Building Activities on Pinterest:

Marshmallow Challenge                                                        Lava River
Helium Pole                                                                            Mine Field
Toxic Waste Dump                                                                 All Aboard
Egg Drop                                                                                Lost at Sea 

8 Favorite Icebreaker Ideas on Pinterest:

Human Bingo                                                                           Famous Pairs
Ultimate Oreo                                                                          Tarp Flip
Paper Plane Intros                                                                   Pasta Master
A Plate a Head Drawings                                                         Gorilla Guns Karate

What are some of your favorites? Did you try any of these out? How’d it go? We’d love to hear back from you. And don’t forget, PlayWorks Group is launching our new DIY Toolkit next week. Let us know if you’re interested and we may even give you a sneak peek! 855-TEAM-BLD

When Budget IS an Issue: Can you plan your next team building on a shoestring?



So what do you do when you really want to hire a company to do your corporate team building event and you simply don’t have the budget? Most professional team building companies, including ours, have minimums on their pricing. We get the call saying, “We want something unique and different and fun, but we only have $800.” Or, “Well, it’s only for 45 minutes.” How about, “We’ve only got 10 folks on our team.”

First, the minimums are not arbitrary. No one is trying to leave you out in the cold. Each team building company has its own list of bills to pay and hard costs associated with each and every event. Trained and experienced facilitators are not free and neither is the professional event management, planning and expertise that goes with it. Everyone has to put food on the table. Your promise of exposure and future opportunity is only that, a promise. We believe you, but there have been many promises before yours that never led to shoes on the kids feet.

Everyone is trying to make a living.

That being said, there are still some options for working with a great team building company. If you are able to sign a longer-term contract to do multiple programs, I can’t think of many groups who would say no to a guarantee of work. Figure out with other members of your organization who has upcoming team building program needs and band together to either create a larger program or a master calendar of dates for multiple programs.

Be flexible with your dates. If you are open to different dates, some companies might be willing to fill their calendar with a smaller program if they have available days.

I will get slayed by my co-workers and our competitors for saying this, but do your research. There are some great activities out there on the internet. From what I’ve seen, most are one-off problem-solving challenges or games versus an entire program, so change your expectations. We’ve even got some pinned on our PlayWorks Group Pinterest board if you want to check them out.

You could also ask for a facilitator in training. It could be a win-win where they get to try out their budding skills and you get a deal. Be careful on this one though, you don’t want to get burned. You want your team raving at the end of the program, not rolling their eyes.

And better yet, realize the value of a well-executed team building program with a dynamic, talented and experienced team to run it. Save up for those programs and plan your budget well in advance to accommodate the need. We’ve got plenty of teams with small groups who value our work and make it a point to build a budget that allows them to spend what they need on an effective event.

We do get regular requests to fill the needs of smaller group or smaller budget team building events and we are actively working on solutions for your needs. Stay tuned and come back soon to check out what we come up with for our clients.Until then, if you want to discuss team building options throughout the US and Caribbean, please reach out!

Until then, if you want to discuss team building options throughout the US and Caribbean, please reach out !


Shocking truth about team building!

You would be surprised how many people included team building events, programs or activities in their meeting or conference who don’t actually believe they work. Huh?

They believe it’s fun and different for sure, a great change of pace in the meeting agenda of keynote, breakout, breakout. But they don’t know the true impact. But they include it anyway. Why would we, a team building event company, care as long as we’re making a living?

We want to shout it from the rooftops. It MATTERS! It MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Yes, I’m yelling.

We’ve been surveying our participants and the numbers are clear. 90% of participants believe they are more loyal to and engaged with their company’s brand after experiencing team building. 92% say they are more connected to their coworkers. Can we say brand engagement and company retention anyone? These are bottom line numbers folks. Could it BE any clearer?


Then we get into the impact on participant learning. You’re a meeting planner. Your meeting is introducing a new product line and they want the ROI on learning retention. Please, we beg of you, include a team building event. On a physical level, your participants (notice we don’t use the word attendee) are more likely to retain and utilize their conference learning if they have an emotional and relational memory associated with it. AND if they have some physical activity attached to it. This is neurological science. How do you do this? Team building activities!

“Playfulness … as a personality trait in adults has been associated with a broad range of positive outcomes, such as academic success, coping with stress, innovative work performance, and subjective well-being to name but a few.” – American Journal of Play

We need to be promoting playfulness and interaction at our meetings and events. Play lets the brain make connections, diverting attention to something fun while processing information according to neurologists David Rock and Daniel Siegel in their research. Thanks to Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw for turning us on to them.


You are increasing your likelihood of success if you build in this type of activity and entertainment frequently throughout the program, not just on one day. And better yet, include a charitable element. Find room in your budget to kill something unnecessary or unhealthy and allow your meeting participants to increase their retention and engagement. So maybe skip the fancy conference bags and drop the soft drinks. Serve fruit infused water and include a shorter different team building element each day when energy lulls in the afternoon.

Your bottom line will thank you!

To learn more about the team building elements you can include in your next meeting or conference, give us a call at 855-TEAM-BUILD or fill out the contact form to the right.

Do Workplace Connections Matter?

When you think of work, you probably think of payday, commutes, office cubicles, maybe sales, operations, HR, marketing. Probably reports and meetings. You probably don’t think of connectedness. Tell me if I’m wrong. We walk through life as human beings, building connections over a lifetime with family members, with neighbors on our streets, with friends from school, playmates from sports, someone from church or synagogue.


But we don’t naturally assume work will be a source of friendship, of connectedness. Yet by our adulthood, most of our waking hours are spent with coworkers. If you agree with Brene Brown,Matthew Lieberman and with many of the researchers of our age, you believe that humans are built at a neurologic level to connect with other humans. So WHY on EARTH would we discount such an obvious are of connectedness from our lives?

I realize some people truly want to keep their personal and work lives separate. I can accept that. And yet. Are people truly capable of shutting themselves off completely from this basic human wiring for 40-60 hours a week? Is this a healthy stance? Can a car be a bicycle 40-60 hours of the week?

Did you know up to 80% of the US workforce is dissatisfied with their work depending on which research you read? I can’t help but wonder if we’ve stumbled upon some correlation here. Are people failing to experience connectedness at work? We want to hear your thoughts and feedback.

We’ve been talking a lot about why we do what we do here at PlayWorks Group over the past few weeks and this is where I keep landing: connectedness in the work place. We try and create opportunities for humans to connect at the primal level of play. Help us do a little research around this and share your stories.

We look forward to connecting with you!