5 Simple, Fun, And Budget-Friendly Team Building Ideas For The Austin Startup
Employees live for team building trips. An opportunity to get out of the office for a time, breathe the fresh air, look at something other than a computer screen, have some fun with your co-workers . . . Team-building trips are appealing on so many levels, and many companies with big budgets treat their employees to anything from nice dinners, to company retreats. If you’re a startup in Austin, you probably can’t afford anything that glamorous. But don’t sweat it! There are plenty of great options for companies to do in Austin that are fun, won’t break the bank, and do actually build you team.
Trivia Night. I’m sure everyone has lost friends at one of these. But it’s actually a great team-building activity as well as a friends night out. First of all, it’s after work, which means you can still have a full day of productivity. But it also requires everyone to view each other as teammates rather than competition. You get to see what random knowledge your co-workers have, who works best together, who is contributing and who is not, and best of all, it’s a cheap outing! There are a few pretty good ones in Austin. The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium has a pretty popular one. If you want some of the best pizza you’ll ever eat to go along with your team-building, try Pinthouse Pizza. It has a fantastic lively atmosphere and space that’s perfect for trivia night.
Support a local cause. Now plenty of companies volunteer at nonprofits to give back to their communities, but seldom do they put more thought into it than “we love animals so let’s go to the animal shelter”. I’m not slamming volunteering with animals. It’s awesome for anyone to volunteer anywhere. But as a company, try volunteering at a place that falls in line with what you do. What is your company passionateabout? Pick a consistent cause to donate all your volunteering time and philanthropic budget to. Depending on the cause, this is a great way to encourage compassion, and showcase different talents that your individual team members have outside of what you hired them for. And since you’re volunteering, it’s free.
Some of our favorite, and most rewarding experiences volunteering came from our time at Ronald McDonald House, proving to the world that computer nerds can in fact cook. But more than that, easing the minds, hearts, and stomachs of so many people with suffering family members was a humbling and rewarding experience that aligned with Motoza’s core values. Sharing that experience with the whole team encouraged discussion on deeper topics we just don’t get to in a typical day at the office.
Escape Rooms. Companies are definitely catching on to the value of these babies. Rent out the entire puzzle for your team (it’s not as fun when you have to escape with random people you don’t know), and then see what each person contributes to the activity. Escape rooms are all about teamwork, solving riddles, thinking under pressure, and encouraging one another. Without that teamwork, you won’t escape! These do have a bit of a cost to them, but they average $35 per person, so nothing too exorbitant. The Escape Game is one of the best in Austin, and offers different experiences if you’re down to beat them all, and Austin Panic Room will give you a run for your money.
Our team, geeky gamers that we are, solved a creepy Resident Evil-themed escape room. Barely. Two seconds later and we would’ve been eaten by zombies. Each of us brought something different to the table, solvedat least one of the mini puzzles each, and supported each other from start to finish. Not to mention we’re still talking about it 6 months later!
The great outdoors. Hiking, putting a volleyball, basketball, kickball, etc team together, mud runs and color runs, bubble soccer . . . Austin has a plethora of outdoor activities to put your team in touch with nature. Together. All of these activities encourage teamwork and allow your team members to appreciate different sides of each other, and though they range in price, are usually relatively inexpensive. A whole different set of talents emerges when you’re playing bubble soccer versus sitting in a company growth initiative meeting. Our team at Motoza left the weird capital for New Braunfels on a river tubing trip that was . . . educational. Let’s just say you definitely find out who would be your best bet for survival if you were trapped on a deserted island together.
Something . . . unconventional. Maybe I shouldn’t be sharing this, but our team learned how to throw knives for one of our team building activities . . . and we had a blast! Once again, we learned so much about each other, and even have a running joke about me (who is, in fact, the undisputed knife throwing champion at my company) having the worst aim. That part is not cool, but my point is that it was not what you typically think of when you consider what activity you should do for your next team-building outing. Tryknife-throwing, archery, or shooting ranges. Take your team to learn how to Sean-nós dance or some other obscure dance that’s easy, appropriate, and fun. Take your team downtown and challenge them to sculpt some kind of art with whatever they find, or ask random people for. No purchase necessary. Best sculpture wins. Have you ever dreamed of joining the circus? I haven’t, but who wouldn’t want to learn how to fly on a trapeze at Trapeze Texas? Any activity that makes your team say “well that’s weird, but I’m down” is worth doing as an out-of-your-comfort-zone team building activity.
Did I miss any awesome ideas? Send them my way! We’re always on the lookout for new activities we’ve never heard of that will build our team, give us a break from technology, and/or challenge everything we thought we knew about ourselves.