Pyramid-building in the company gym. Scavenger hunts in a nearby park. Guessing games around a table in a boardroom. Many corporate team-building activities are, at best, only mildly more interesting or physically demanding than simply sitting at your own desk and getting some of your actual workload done. But building team spirit doesn't have to be boring. Some firms are combining incentive travel with team building to offer some of the wildest, weirdest and — in some cases — most far-flung team-building trips out there.
— By CNBC's Kenneth Kiesnoski
Posted 26 July 2017
Take a bite out of team discord: Various operators in North America, Australia and Africa offer group cage dives that involve spotting — and sometimes interacting with — Carcharodon carcharias, otherwise known as the great white shark ... or, simply, "Jaws." Supreme Sharks of Cape Town, South Africa, even offers guaranteed shark-spotting ... or a return "hunt" on them. The firm promotes its cage dive encounters as "outdoor adventure trips that double up as team-building activities, as well as leisure trips."
Escape the rat race at Rat's Nest: Drill down into team dynamics with spelunking and caving expeditions in the Canadian Rockies. Canmore Cave Tours in Canmore, Alberta, offers a selection of above- and underground team-building experiences in the evocatively named Rat's Nest Cave under 8.878-foot-high Grotto Mountain. The Explorer, Adventure and Solitude programs take groups of up to eight cavers on subterranean crawls lasting anywhere from two to four hours.
Spy school near Scotland Yard: The London-based Team Building Company offers a half-day Spy School program for groups of up to 250 at various locations across the U.K. Cloak-and-dagger activities tailored to hone group dynamics include sniper-shooting, fire-making, crossbow-shooting, code-breaking, hand-to-hand combat, laser tag and driving tanks and quads. The MI6 will be watching!
Rake it in — with a backhoe — on the Vegas Strip: The ultimate adult sandbox in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the Dig This Las Vegas facility hosts corporate groups of up to 40 for customized programs of driving and operating heavy machinery, such as bulldozers and excavators. Teams of five or six throw on hardhats and safety vests and compete in completing demolition and construction tasks, playing out assigned roles such as foreman, laborer and manager. Dig in!
Learn to survive a crash at sea: What better way to test and build stress tolerance than training on how to survive a (simulated) plane crash or ship sinking at sea? Survival Systems, based in Groton, Connecticut, offers open-water sea survival courses as part of its Leadership & Team Development program. This eight-hour in-water program includes exercises such as raft evacuations, underwater escape, surface-water survival, jumping from a height — and even how to be rescued. The firm claims the training not only builds team cohesion through shared experience but improves stress control, resource use and leadership skills for individuals. Not to mention a better backstroke!
On safari — safely: Disney Meetings offers corporate planners with Indiana Jones complexes a three-hour Wild Africa Trek at the Disney Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida. Highlights include close-up encounters with mammalian — and avian, amphibian and avian — denizens of the 580-acre theme park, along with thrills such as swinging rope bridges. Plus, when you tire of actual animals, Mickey Mouse and his friends are on hand next door at the Magic Kingdom.
OK, not so wild ... but fun: Operating in six major cities — from New York, Philadelphia and D.C. to Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco — Museum Hack takes team-building activities into the top urban museums across the United States. Large groups of competitive co-workers teamed on scavenger hunts and tearing through rooms packed with priceless artifacts might sound like a prescription for disaster, but Museum Hack served 230 corporate customers last year — so they must know what they're doing. The firm says each museum program can be tailored to fit clients' corporate cultures, themed around everything from the history of technological innovation to service culture in the Roman Empire.