Sunday, September 6, 2009

Team Building in a Tough Economy - How to Build Your Team While You Build Your Brand

Sales are down, budgets are being cut, layoffs are looming. In tough economic times, building a strong team environment may not be the first thing on most managers' minds. But according to some experts in a recent Harvard Business study, it's in times like these that team-building exercises are needed most. Whether employees are nervous about the prospect of being laid off or the team is learning how to operate with fewer employees, group activities designed to encourage collaborative problem solving can be especially productive.

Once you've realized the importance of team building in a slow economy, consider these options for creating a strong team environment in your workplace:

Community Service

Volunteering with coworkers not only builds a strong sense of community, but also strengthens relationships between colleagues. Whether you volunteer at a soup kitchen, help build houses in a forgotten neighborhood or even just participate in a blood drive, community service projects create shared experiences that bring teams closer together. Consider including logoed products to commemorate your volunteer experience, such as logoed hammers for home projects or custom aprons for soup kitchen activities.

Field Trips

With luxury corporate retreats getting such a bad rap, many companies are opting for smaller, low-key field trips to build a stronger team. Getting out of the typical office environment and going to a park, zoo, museum or other relaxing location can help employees get to know each other better and create a better working environment. If you want to incorporate subtle team-building activities into your company field trip, try a getting-to-know-you ball toss with custom stress balls or a scavenger hunt with a logoed flashlight or other fun little prizes for teams.

Take a Class

Whether it's work-related or simply a shared hobby, taking a class with coworkers brings colleagues together and provides a shared learning experience. If your team needs to be CPR-certified, take the class together. If you discover many of your coworkers enjoy pottery painting as much as you do, suggest attending a class once a week. Whatever class you take, be sure to honor the accomplishment with a personalized certificate frame or other simple award.

Staples Promotional Products offers you a wide selection of products to help with your team building efforts while subtly promoting your business and building a strong bond between employees and your brand. Visit to view our wide selection of items available for customization online.

By Laura Daniels

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