What Do Employees Really Think About Team Building Activities?
The term "team building" has been used by businesses to cover a wide variety of exercises, all of which are intended to boost morale and/or productivity in the company. Most employees will likely have been involved in a team building activity at some point in their careers – perhaps it was a weekend retreat, or an afternoon at the climbing gym.

Team Building

A good team building exercise improves relationships between co-workers, creates cohesiveness between members and departments, and can even teach staff valuable new skills for their daily work.

This may be what the research says, but what do employees think about such activities?
We’ve conducted a survey asking 1,250 workers across the UK about their opinion on team building exercises. The respondents were given four predetermined responses to choose from:

  1. I’d rather just do my job
  2. I’d rather get skills-based training
  3. They’re great for morale but nothing else
  4. The team bonds and this boost productivity

The research shows a certain level of apathy among UK workers towards team building. In fact, the majority of respondents (34.2%) feel that organised team building activities are actually a waste of time and they would rather simply get on with their jobs.

Just over a quarter of employees (26.7%) consider team building useful for team bonding and think it does boost productivity. 22.3% of workers would much rather get skills-based training, and 15.4% of workers think that team building isn’t good for anything except morale.

Graph 1

Young employees value team building the most

If we break down the respondents by age brackets, we find that it’s younger people (18-34) who tend to value team building much more than their older colleagues. In fact, young people represent more than 60% of people who picked “the team bonds and this boosts productivity”.

Team Bonding

On the other hand, older people (35-54) seem to value skills-based training more. Don’t young workers want to bridge the gap with their older, more experienced counterparts? It would appear not. The survey shows that older employees value skills-based training more, while younger respondents prefer team building activities.

Skill-based training

Women prefer skills-based training

Gender differences also play a role. Men are usually more blasé when it comes to team building: 38.7% of people who picked “I’d rather just do my job” were male.

Women, on the other hand, tend to prefer skills-based training over team building exercises. In fact, most of those who picked “they’re great for morale but nothing else” were female.

Gender differences in results

Scots prefer to get on with their jobs

Cultural differences across the UK are also reflected in the results of the survey.

44% of respondents in Wales think that both productivity and morale benefit from team building. English employees are more interested in the skills-based training than team building activities (despite recognising their usefulness when it comes to morale). Scottish workers, on the other hand, simply want to do their jobs.

Country Breakdown