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Jon Kennard


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Insight: Nearly 70% of workers don’t go on team building away days


New research reveals that 67% of workers have not been on a team building away day in the past five years - despite one in five agreeing that they are key to improving working relationships.

Results of the independent survey, which questioned 1,263 UK workers and was commissioned by indoor go-karting company TeamSport, also suggests that men tend go on more team building away days than women (29% vs. 26%).

Nearly one in five workers (18%) agrees that the opportunity to bond outside of work improves their working relationships, while around one in ten (11%) said that away days can help them to be more confident within their role. A similar number (14%) said they help improve their communication skills with managers.

In addition, just 39% of workers consider their work colleagues to be ‘friends’ and 28% only ‘tolerate’ their co-workers for an easier life.

When asked to choose what would make a fun and successful team building away day, both genders said “something logical” as their top answer (42% men and 43% women). However, men were more likely than women to mention high intensity activities – such as go-karting and paintballing (36% vs. 25%) – and also physical activities (35% vs. 28%).

The results also show that workers aged 25 to 34 are most likely to say they have gone on an away day in the past five years (41%), while those aged 55 and over are the least likely to have done so (18%).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, workers living in London were also more likely than any other region to say they have attended a team building day in the past five years (34%). Workers living in the North, the East and Wales were the least likely to have been on one (24% in each of these regions).

Among the options given, the least popular type of activity with workers was motivational tasks – such as speakers – with only 21% agreeing that this would make a fun and successful team building away day. A quarter said that tasks which allow employees to be honest with their work colleagues – such as open discussions and suggestion sessions – would make for a fun and successful day.

To find out more on TeamSport's conference facilities and corporate booking service visit

One Response

  1. The value of teambuilding

    I read this article with some interest, as someone who has been asked to provide teambuilding days for more than 3 decades. It is striking that relatively small numbers value team building away days in supporting them in their professional role but it really doesn't surprise me. I think there are a number of reasons for this. Here are some suggestions, based on my experience.

    1. One off activities of any kind have very limited impact. Research into the value of learning suggests that much of the development in any intervention happens pre and post event: team building days are rarely followed up in any meaningful and structured way.

    2. Team building objectives are too often vague and impossible to measure. Unless the objectives are linked very specifically to behavioural change and skills development they are unlikely to be achieved. 

    3. Team building often involves a single, or limited range, of activities. Whilst these appeal to some, they "turn off" others. These activities, especially if they have a physical or outdoor element, may serve simply to reinforce roles and stereotypes and do nothing to deepen understanding or change attitudes. People opt out, believing, "This is not for me" and the team building goal isn't acheived.

    In my experience, the best team building away days focus much more on the skills required to communicate effectively, contribute specific inputs to working teams, draw parallels with the real workplace, explore similarity and difference, establish the values that are shared in the team and the ones that aren't and open up areas of discussion that might not be addressed in the normal working routine.

    This requires a high level of facilitation, opportunities for significant reflection and peer coaching, specific individual and team analysis of current and desired working practices and roles, the opportunity to have 'difficult conversations' and constant checks on the relevance to their working relationships. These things do not happen on the vast majority of 'away days' and, at last, participants and sponsoring organisations are recognising the need for much more focus on specifically tailored, facilitated, personalised learning as part of their team development initiatives.

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Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

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