Remember when you were a kid, and your parents sent you outside to play to get rid of that excess energy that was likely driving them crazy? While that energy might look different in adults, even those of us getting up there in age need to find ways to blow off steam. As an adult working, getting out of the office is a great way to release pent-up energy and feel refreshed in the workplace. Over the last decade, myriad studies and multidisciplinary research projects have shown that employees who relax more are more productive.
Here are 36 work outings you can do in a day that will help boost employee morale and help your employees break up their workdays, leading to more relaxed and productive workers.
1. A day at the amusement park
If you are new at organizing an outing for your team, choose somewhere where activities are already integrated into the location. An amusement park is a great place to start, as they often have something for everyone. From roller coasters to games and fun prizes, fun fairs, and amusement parks can satisfy thrillseekers (think dizzying rides) or those looking for something more low-key (like pinball or taste-testing all the delicious junk food). The variety of options lets your team naturally bond over activities that interest them and not feel pressured to do something they don’t want to do (like spin in circles for 15 minutes).
2. Try a sip and paint
There’s an inherent satisfaction with creating something, like a piece of art, and many adults struggle to find the time to pursue creative hobbies or learn a new skill when they are busy at work. Sip and paint has become increasingly popular with adults in recent years, incorporating a nice glass of wine with a guided art class, allowing employees to nurture their creative side while getting the chance to bond over an after-work drink.
If your team is fully remote, you can hire an instructor to lead the group online, encouraging everyone to BYOB, whether green tea or craft beer.
3. Get sporty
A day of sports encourages teams to bond, as they are pushed to learn a new activity together, and like making a piece of art, there’s a sense of well-being that comes with overcoming a new challenge. While there are many team sports activities, like volleyball or kickball, rock climbing is popular as it integrates planning and critical thinking, and people of all fitness levels can usually participate.
Planning a day at the rock climbing gym often allows managers to participate as professional instructors will handle the classes.
4. Watch the game
This team outing is an effective way to get to know your employees better and encourage bonding over a shared love of a local or international sports team. If your company is all in the office, buy tickets to the next baseball or basketball game, or reserve a room at a local pub to watch the game. This is a lowkey activity that lets employees get the chance to enjoy a leisurely activity with their coworkers, which is an integral part of making sure your team is comfortable with one another even if they aren’t best friends outside of work.
5. Take a cooking class
After a morning in the office, head to class and cook lunch together, deciding which cuisine you most want to learn to cook as a team. A cooking class is perfect for a half-day outing, as it usually takes between 4-5 hours and can be integrated into the work day seamlessly. Cooking classes are also ideal for all skill levels, appealing to people who love to cook and those who don’t have the time to learn.
6. Get outside
Whether your team is hybrid, remote, or in the office full-time, getting outside is a great way to break up the day and spend some leisurely time enjoying a day in the sun. Spend the afternoon in the park, at the zoo, in the local botanical garden, or anywhere that gets you outdoors! Often better in warmer weather, choose a location where your team can spend time together, enjoying a light snack and a walk.
7. Trivia night
Trivia is a popular activity in many local bars and small restaurants and an excellent east group activity for teams. It can be done in the evening after work, so inform team members beforehand so enough people show up. It’s hard to have a group of two people vs. five people, so choose a day of the month when people can spend a Thursday or Friday after work.
8. Try out an escape room
There are Escape Rooms in most major cities, and these are easy, fun activities for the whole team. Incorporating problem-solving, teamwork, and good ol fashion fun, Escape rooms are a great half-day outing for teams. Spend the afternoon getting lunch out of the office and take the rest of the day off to test your skills as a team at the escape room.
9. Spend the day in a coworking space
Changing locations, especially for teams in the same office or working apart remotely, is a great way to bring people together and change the scenery. Rent a room in a coworking space for the day, and find a location with a lovely cafe or restaurant so you can incorporate a team coffee break or lite lunch.
It’s been shown that a change of location boosts employee production and has positive mental health benefits.
10. Offer an afternoon workshop
Take the opportunity to conduct a short skillset survey and find out what your team feels they need to improve or need to excel in the workplace. Invest in their professional development by booking a workshop or several workshops for the day that will strengthen their team-building skills. Let your team know you are willing to invest in them as employees by providing them opportunities to learn new skills that will benefit them in and out of the workplace.
11. Learn a new skill together
New experiences have been shown to improve brain activity, and learning together as a team could help spark fresh ideas in the workplace. Like running a workshop, taking a class to learn a new skill, ideally one that has nothing to do with work, can help teams bond. Consider a woodworking class or knitting that could potentially spark a new hobby or offer a fun day learning something new.
12. Spend the day at the arcade
Play is an essential part of the human experience and is important to ensure we don’t get burnt out from work. Lean into your inner kid and spend the day playing some games at a local arcade. Keep an eye out for a place that has group games so you can encourage your employees to play together.
13. Get your hands dirty
Visit a local farm or community garden and spend a day working in the dirt together. If you can start a company community garden, reserve a plot you and your team can design. The garden can serve as a regular meeting place, and teams can work together to delegate tasks as to who is responsible for who while simultaneously sharing a vision of a successful project. Once it comes time to harvest your crops, you can use the food you grew for team lunches and snacks.
14. Give back to your community
Volunteering is good for the soul. Show your team that you care about giving back and encourage them to go out and volunteer together. Come up with a list of charities or events and propose these to your employees. Choose one or two (or three!) to dedicate several or half days to, which will serve as an altruistic opportunity to bond over doing good. Alternatively, many companies now offer time off for volunteering, which is part of a more balanced and human-centric company culture.
15. Take in some culture
No matter where your company is based, a cultural center, like a museum or local exhibition, will likely only be a day trip away. If you’re remote, plan a day trip to the nearest art center and take the whole team. Keep an eye on local artists to see if there’s an upcoming opening where you and your employees can learn more about the local culture and enjoy some refreshments.
If your team is fully remote, remember to add cultural activities to your next company retreat, whether visiting museums in Mexico City or ancient ruins in Cambodia.
16. Spend the day in the city
Going out for a day of urban exploration is an ideal team outing for companies working remotely but in close vicinity or with an office in the suburbs. These outings can be centered on a city walk, cultural exhibition, team lunch followed by a public art tour, or picnic in the park. Rent a van or small bus and get everyone together for a day in the city. Before planning the details, decide on several options and see which ones appeal more to your workers; that way, you can ensure everyone feels included in the activities.
17. Go for a hike
Much like spending a day exploring the city, hitting the trails as a team is a great way to get some fresh air and integrate exercise into your activity. The natural endorphins accompanying moving your body will surely put everyone in a good mood. For employees who are not experienced hikers, or don’t enjoy strenuous activities, find a balance like a leisurely walk in a botanical garden or easy trails at a public park.
18. Try a new restaurant
Day trips allow you and your workers to know their surroundings better and enable teams to connect with the greater community. Trying out a new restaurant or cafe is a great day activity that allows employees to break up their day with good food and support local businesses. Plus, everyone will likely enjoy a good meal, so you can bet everyone will be happy to participate.
19. Go to the movies
Going to the movies is the ultimate relaxing outing. There’s no need to overthink; just grab some popcorn, sit back, and relax. Pick a movie with your team that everyone is interested in seeing, and take the afternoon off to see a matinee. Your employees will be grateful for the time just to turn off, and after the film, consider grabbing a drink together or letting people work from home the next day. Extended relaxation and additional chances to work remotely have created happier and more satisfied employees.
20. Integrate games into the office
If you are pressed for time because you are in the middle of a big project or have just hired a bunch of new people, try planning a team outing that doesn’t have to go too far from the office. Invest in getting some games for the office and deviate a day or half-day to playing games as a team. This activity is easy to set up and is even better if you have a dedicated outdoor space to bring the fun.
Encourage workers to bring their favorite games and teach others how to play. If you have a bigger team, make sure the games accommodate multiple players, letting team members gather in groups, potentially switching teams midway through to ensure everyone gets the chance to spend time with one another.
21. Set up a regular happy hour
Like game time, set aside a regular time, like one day a month or on Fridays, where you and your team can go out for a happy hour and snacks at everyone’s favorite bar after work. This low-pressure outing allows workers to attend when possible and doesn’t require too much time or planning. When work is busy, it’s important to give staff space to choose whether or not they have the bandwidth to attend a team outing, especially if it takes place after working hours.
22. Set up a team scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts provide the perfect opportunity for teams to work together and the chance to get outside. This outing takes a bit of planning as you need to pick a good location, and usually, a full day is optimal for a scavenger hunt. This activity can be planned independently, but many companies hire professional event planners to help them execute a seamless team outing. Additionally, professional planners know the landscape well and can help you create a fun and rewarding experience that gets teams out of the office.
23. Obstacle course
Completing an obstacle course together is a great way to help staff bond and is often a light-hearted and accessible activity. Take a day to prioritize fun and team building to let your employees enjoy themselves problem-solving outside of the workplace.
24. Good ol fashion BBQ
This easy-to-plan team outing is excellent for when you’re busy and can feel like your team is burnt out. Make a concerted effort to put away the day’s tasks and take an early Friday to plan an outdoor BBQ for the whole company. If you don’t have outdoor space accessible, consider renting a room on a campground or park where they allow cooking and open fires, and end the week with a simple and relaxing outing.
25. Get physical
If you don’t have the time to spend a day outside hiking, consider signing up for a few-hour course for an activity that gets your heart rate up. Self-defense or beginner martial arts classes are popular for team building as they help release stress. Physical company outings are particularly important if moving is not a regular part of your workday.
26. Take a tour
See what’s happening in your local community and find a fun group tour for the whole team. That could be a historical city walk or a holiday-themed market where workers can move around and spend time together outside of the regular 9-5.
27. Attend a conference
While company outings should prioritize socializing and bonding rather than work, keep your eyes out for industry events that would be an excellent opportunity for your team to connect with the broader professional community. Conferences are often full of activities, bread, and chances to get to know one another.
28. Laugh together
Laughter is good for the soul, and getting the whole team together for a night of laughs is a great way to break down barriers and get closer as a group. Work for half a day, then take the team for dinner and a comedy show.
The best thing about karaoke is no one is expected to be a good singer. If you’re not, it’s probably even better. Rent a karaoke room, or head out on Friday night to a local bar that does karaoke nights. Not everyone on the team may want to get up and sing, but it’s a great chance to bond by letting your guard down and laughing at one another (in a nice way!).
30. Lifes a beach
Sitting in an office or at your laptop all day is challenging as the weather improves. Treat your team to a day trip to the beach, complete with a picnic and plenty of time to sunbathe and swim. Bring a few beach games, like frisbee or volleyball, and consider this a relaxed day trip about having fun in the sun.
Most cities and towns have a bowling alley. Kick the weekend off by ending early on Friday and reserving a few lanes at the bowling alley for your team. Break up workers into small groups to play against each other to strengthen bonds and give your workers a chance to get to know one another in a playful setting.
32. Do something hands-on
Whether volunteering or learning a new skill, prioritize hands-on activities that can be done in groups. Team members of all skill levels can participate and learn something new, which is an ideal setting for getting to know each other outside the office. A great way to work together is by signing up to help build something like a park bench or flower beds for a community garden requiring teamwork and physical activity.
33. Grab some bikes
Going for a bike ride can be a great way to integrate exercise into a day trip. Rent some bikes to ride to a cafe for lunch and if there are bike paths in your area, plan a short route on a bike to do with the whole team. This is a great day trip for teams working inside primarily, as it prioritizes fresh air and light physical activity.
34. A day of mini golf
Mini-golf is a great day trip for teams as it’s easy to organize and requires little planning. All you need is to rent some clubs and balls, and you’re on your way. Mini-golf is a great environment to let your guard down, as it’s not competitive and doesn’t require any golfing experience.
35. Hit the slopes
Depending on where you live, this might not be possible for a day outing, but if you’re near some beautiful snowy mountains, treat your workers to a day on the slopes. If you have team members who have never done winter sports before, offer to get them beginner classes or let them sit the slopes out to enjoy some hot cocoa and enjoy the view.
36. Go Go-Kart!
Go-karting may be something you’ve never done, or it’s been years since you got that rush of adrenaline speeding around the track as a kid. Unsurprisingly, no matter how old we are, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to let loose and feel young again. A perfect day trip, go-karting is easy to plan as all you need to do is show up with your team and hit the races.
Turn team outings into company retreats
Regular team outings are essential to the well-being of your team. They should be integrated into the workplace as we learn the importance of work-life balance in creating a healthy, productive workplace. That being said, make sure that teams get to know one another on a deeper level, and make sure you plan a company retreat at least twice a year.
The Surf Office can help with all the necessary logistics, from lodging, flights, transfers, and all following team-building activities that will take place during your time away to ensure a successful and productive company retreat.