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Over the years, team bonding activities have slowly evolved from being a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must-have’. This shift in perspective follows an influx of recent research showing the immense advantages of having employees who are engaged, cooperative and motivated, as opposed to those who are offered only monetary benefits.

Global online team-building platform Officevibe gathered a set of statistics showing that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their company. The stat roundup also showed that 89% of employers think their employees leave the company in search of a position that offers more money; however, that’s only actually the case with 12% of those employees.

So how can employers ensure their staff are engaged, satisfied, motivated and truly part of the team?

Enter team bonding.

As founder and CEO of O2E Brands, Brian Scudamore, says in Forbes: ‘Despite its reputation of being, well, lame, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people.’

Countless companies, managers, team-building platforms and bloggers around the globe agree that team bonding activities have an incredible array of benefits for the workplace. These include the ability to build trust, mitigate conflict, and encourage creativity, communication and collaboration – all while increasing engagement and, ultimately, the productivity of employees.

So with all this being said, we’ve put together a list of some top trending ideas to help you plan your next team bonding session in and around Newcastle.

Whether it’s for your next conference, a Christmas party, or just because – these team bonding activities are a fun, surefire way to bring out plenty of laughs and allow for quality bonding. It’s a win for both you and your employees.

Paint and Sip

Forget your run-of-the-mill regular art class – wine-and-art classes are the next big thing, and for good reason! With a glass of wine in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, those creative juices can really flow. This activity combines all the best elements of after-work drinks and more ‘traditional’ team bonding activities, creating a fun new opportunity for chat, creativity and a sense of community.

There’s sure to be plenty of laughs as you all become Picasso for the night (no boring vases or bowls of fruit in sight!). And when you’re done, you can either take your masterpieces home to show off, or hang them all together in the office to brighten up the space with happy memories.

Paint Your Town offers ‘paint parties’ throughout the greater Newcastle region, allowing teams to choose a venue and select a class option: individual, collaborative, mystery or ‘musical’ painting.

Need for Speed

If you want to take things up a level, why not encourage some fast, fun and friendly competition by taking the team to the go-kart track? Go-karting brings out the big kid (and the rev-head!) in all of us, and is bound to be one of the more popular choices of team bonding activities.

Get your team’s engines and adrenaline racing as you try to overlap the boss, or simply sit back and enjoy the ride – no lanes, no lights, no worries!

Go Karts Go Broadmeadow is an ideal track close to home for Newcastle teams, open late every night for after-work team building. Xtreme Karts Warners Bay is another great option, offering regular karting as well as ‘grand prix’ wheel-to-wheel racing to really up the ante.

Shaken, not stirred

Why not bring out your inner James (or Jane!) Bond with one of Coal and Cedar’s private Cocktail Master Classes?

Hosted at our favourite local speakeasy, this class will have you and your team learning how to mix and pour some of today’s most popular cocktails, all while you sip and snack away on delicious drinks and antipasto. But like every good cocktail, this class has a twist. You and your colleagues will battle it out as you create your own signature cocktails for the competition finale. Who will come out shaken?

If you’re looking for team bonding activities that take your typical ‘dinner and drinks’ colleague catch-up to a new level, this class comes out top of the list.

Strike out

An oldie but always a goodie, Charlestown’s Strike Bowling Bar guarantees a great time with something on offer for everyone.

Way more than just ten pin bowling, Strike also offers laser tag and karaoke, and is home to Holey Moley’s 18-hole mini-golf course. Plus, there are plenty of mouthwatering in-house food and drink options, providing a ready-made full day or night out.

This is a one-stop shop for plenty of big-kid fun, as well as being a great way to boost that team mentality through light-hearted competition.

Escape the everyday

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps inside a locked room?), you’ll probably have heard of the escape room trend.

This is one of those team bonding activities that’s a little left-field, but actually perfect for fostering communication, strengthening teamwork and encouraging everyone to think outside the box. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun!

The basic concept is that your group is locked in a room, from which you must escape by working together to solve a series of puzzles and discover hidden clues, keys and codes. Oh, and there’s a time limit, so you’ll be working against the clock!

We have our very own set of escape rooms in Newcastle: Unexpected Exit, located on Hunter Street. There are four themed rooms to choose from, and up to 15 players can participate. (Alternatively, Sutton Estate in the Hunter Valley offers a ‘Wine Escape Room’ experience, which involves wine tasting and smelling as part of the challenge!)

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When all else fails, or you’re not sure what sort of activity would work best for your team, why not call in one of the many awesome corporate team-building companies out there to organise it all for you? Some of our favourites are Premier Team Building and Pinnacle Team Events

For more team-focused tips, check out our articles on staff motivational perks and why enabling employees to work from home is smart business. If you’re looking to grow your team, get in touch with us on 02 4905 0130 or visit www.gwg.com.au

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