Team Canada competes for the gold in the Chair Rowing
competition, the culminating Office Olympics event held
Tuesday at the International Foundation of Employee
Benefit Plans in Brookfield.
- Over 100 employees gathered under the summer sun,
exerting their energy and showcasing endurance levels in
search of a career-defining achievement Tuesday.
wasn’t an outdoor competition to find the fastest typer
or top seller. Instead, employees at the International
Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans in Brookfield
worked together in teams of four to find which would
walk away with the top crown at the inaugural Office
a great success,” said Julie Stich, research director
for the IFEBP. “Everyone had a lot of fun, there was a
lot of laughter and people doing silly things. Different
people got together and competed, and competition is
always a fun thing.
brings out the good in all of us.”
Teams compete in an event
called wasketball using recycled paper and wastebaskets
Tuesday at the International Foundation of Employee
Benefit Plans' Office Olympics in Brookfield.
events were held during the Olympics, all of which -
except one - centered around office activities.
was “boxing,” where competitors donned boxing gloves and
attempted to stack as many cardboard boxes as possible
while trying to beat the clock. There was “sharpery,”
where teams played an archery-like game using Sharpie
markers. Then, there was “wasketball,” where teams
crumpled paper and attempted to defy windy conditions
and throw a paper ball into a nearby garbage can.
final event of the day was a team-oriented event that
resembled rowing. Employees used their office chairs to
form a line while moving as fast as they could across
the office parking lot. Each participating team was
given a country to represent, and the winner of the
overall medal count was Madagascar.
team-building activities like the IFEBP’s that help
build a healthy work environment and camaraderie
throughout the entire staff, Stich said.
really wanted to get people out and interacting with
each other,” she said. “We structured teams so that
nobody from same department was on the same team. We did
that to get them to know one another better while
figuring out how to be a team.”
Different departments from companies such as Generac
Power Systems have also made strides in improving the
atmosphere in the workplace.
outings at Milwaukee Brewers games to charitable giving
with healthy activities - such as cancer walks or runs -
businesses are encouraging employees to have positive
interactions with each other both during the work day
and outside it.
a triad of healthy living education - live healthy, work
healthy, be healthy - Generac places a large emphasis on
dynamic wellness programs for all employees,” Generac
Health and Wellness Manager Christine Reichardt said.
matter the company, Stich said it’s vital to organize
some kind of activity for employees to build
relationships with one another. Not only does it make
for a positive workplace, but it can also improve some
personal traits in employees, she said.
building is critical for a successful organization,”
Stich said. “In order for team morale to be high and to
have honest communication, team building is critical -
it’s not only good for the organization, but also for
the employee and their overall well-being. If we get
through challenges and difficulties together, that’s
critical for a place and makes things a little bit less
recent, growing trend
the turn toward team-building activities isn’t quite new
to the business world, such a growth in wellness
initiatives is fairly recent.
According to data provided by the IFEBP, of the 479
international companies surveyed in 2015, 55 percent now
have budgets devoted exclusively to wellness and more
than four in five offer some type of wellness program.
Flu shot programs are offered by 71 percent of
companies, while smoking-cessation programs accounted
for 54 percent of respondents. Of the different wellness
initiatives, competitions (42 percent) and health
coaching (39 percent) were the two most popular.
seeing a holistic approach to wellness,” Stich said.
“Employers aren’t just focusing on physical stuff, but
instead the total employee well-being. There’s other
components like mental health and social well-being.”
Generac, employees are rewarded for fulfilling steps
within their wellness journey. Each one is encouraged to
achieve their active living goals through wellness
exams, prevention activities and knowledge-based
the most popular programs which Generac includes in its
wellness initiative are things like TED Talks, where
employees are offered thought-provoking lectures to
encourage taking steps to improve overall mental and
wellness initiative also includes walking trails. Each
Generac location in Wisconsin has a one-mile walking
trail and employees are encouraged to take breaks
throughout the day for walking meetings to increase
to make an easy pathway for every employee to engage in
a lifestyle that benefits their health and personal
well-being,” Reichardt said. “We offer bite-sized pieces
of education in programs that accompany the quest. We’ve
seen firsthand that wellness creates a positive work
environment and how it innately strengthens teamwork.
Our goal at Generac is to create a multi-dimensional
program that promotes good health and camaraderie.”
all, Stich said company initiatives that benefit both
the employee and organization begin at the top.
leadership at the company isn’t buying in, they don’t
work,” Stich said. “But if leadership believes in it and
encourages others to get involved, then employees will
see that and will believe it. That’s one of the reasons
our program was successful; management bought into it.”
Five tips for team-building activities
Have an objective:
It’s important to define the goals and what you’re
trying to achieve when formulating a workplace activity.
A healthy workplace is typically one where nobody feels
left out. It’s important to include all employees in
activities while also pairing different departments —
employees who don’t typically interact daily — with each
Competition is vital:
Being competitive is key to a successful, worthwhile
activity. Most people enjoy being competitive,
especially when it’s with and against those they see
each day at work.
Make the activity challenging:
Don’t organize anything too easy to accomplish. Most
activities should be properly challenging in order for
teams to work together using problem solving and other
traits to reach the goal.
Work parties are good, but not essential:
Parties outside of the workplace help employees
socialize, but providing a worthwhile, active event can
go a long way toward building camaraderie and rapport.