As we discussed in a previous blog on “the importance of organizational culture,” people are a key component to great corporate culture. But those people are of no help to a company’s culture if they can’t learn to communicate, collaborate and cooperate in a healthy work environment. Being able to work together as a team is a company’s biggest asset.
The importance of team building with food
Food is the ultimate equalizer. Even in wartimes, enemies broke bread with each other before, during and after a battle. But we haven’t let our workplace relationships go that far, hopefully.
We’ll discuss culinary team-building examples momentarily, but for now, just think cooking classes, food-related challenges and fun activities or different dining experiences.
Team building with food has so many positive outcomes. It promotes the health, wellness and nourishment of team members in a fun and stress-free environment. This is important because health and wellness programs go hand-in-hand with lowered long-term health care costs, greater productivity and happiness, and less absenteeism. If the team-building activity involves cooking together, it can be creative, inspirational and lighthearted, yet challenging. It might require people to work together to create something from scratch and to problem solve under some pressure. Plus, team members get to enjoy and take pride in the end product.
Top 7 culinary team building ideas
1. Enroll in a cooking class
If your team is the right size, consider enrolling in a culinary class or bringing someone in to teach the team. This could be a baking class, world-food cooking class, simple techniques, or even something more relevant to your business.
Why? Cooking together encourages creativity, inspiration and offers a welcome, fun break from everyday work. Team members may also find creative ways to collaborate in the kitchen that aren’t otherwise obvious in the workplace. Cooking together may offer opportunities to remind team members of core business values, such as communication, community, and adaptability.
2. Start a food garden together
Nothing says team building quite like planning—and following through on—a food garden together. It takes collaboration and communication to plan, plot and start a garden. It takes accountability and commitment to continuously water, weed and, tend to the garden. And then there’s the harvest and reaping what the team has sown together over the past months. The whole team can sit down to an office-grown meal, which is environmentally-friendly, beautiful and social.
Starting a food garden as a team is a great summer project. Team members will learn and grow together, just as their plant do the same. Don’t have a garden? Turn a few outdoor parking spots into an office oasis with garden boxes, find a curbside garden or rooftop, or apply to a community garden space and give back to the community.
3. Create a soup group
In cooler months, try out a team soup group. Find out who’s interested in getting involved and how often you want to meet. Let’s say that nine people decide to meet once a week. One person makes soup for the group and brings some kind of dunking carb, such as buns or crackers. And then it rotates every week. That means everyone gets a free lunch eight out of nine weeks, and then takes up the challenge of feeding and impressing everyone in the group. It’s a great way for people throughout the company to get to know each other—and break bread together.
4. Host a picnic potluck in a park
Picnic potlucks are a great way to bring the team together for some food and fun in the sun. If no one has time to prepare, why not order hot local meals from Foodee delivered for your team outing? Get outside, stretch your legs and share a collaborative meal together.
5. Team breakfast or brunch
Have a big morning meeting or a long workday the night before? Consider hosting a team breakfast or brunch. This not only promotes health and wellness programs but gives the team something different to look forward to, especially if the company is treating (and ordering something tasty). People tend to be better at problem-solving when they’ve had a proper, well-balanced breakfast. Bigger challenges are also easier to discuss in a more relaxed, open and collaborative environment.
6. Team volunteering
Volunteering as a team takes team building to another level. Plus, giving back helps everyone. It empowers people to be better, giving them more self-worth, confidence, and meaning in their work. And it helps those in need.
Consider volunteering at a local soup kitchen or hosting a team bake sale, donating the proceeds to a food bank or local food-related charity. Or, collect non-perishable goods for various charities that the team chooses together.
7. Get healthy together
When people feel good about their body image and what they’re eating, they tend to be happier. And happy people are better workers and team players.
Why not take every meeting on a brisk walk? Or, create a running or workout group at work. For anyone who’s interested, consider setting health, wellness, workout or dietary challenges together as a team. Creating health goals as a team helps boost camaraderie, accountability, motivation, and accountability. Who doesn’t need a break from work to move around a bit?