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5 Outdoor Activities to Boost Employee Morale and Motivation

Outdoor activities can enhance teamwork, boost creative thinking, and empower your team to be exceptional.

Burnout plummets productivity, driving the leadership team to innovate their employee engagement strategies to address the problem. Outdoor team building activities are one of the solutions business owners often leverage to re-engage employees. Find out how these programs can increase employee morale and motivation and the different ideas to get started.


The Benefits of Increased Employee Morale

High employee morale and motivation lead to many benefits that contribute to business success. Their full engagement with the jobs contributes to these merits:

  • Higher productivity and performance: Employees are 18% more productive, which helps scale your profit by 23%.
  • Lower absenteeism and turnover: The rate of missed work is reduced by 81% and turnover is minimal.
  • Improved customer service: Excellent service results in a 10% increase in customer loyalty and engagement.

Other upsides of high employee engagement are a more positive organizational culture, better creativity and innovation, and stronger relationships between managers and team members. Employees run the organization, and as a CEO, ensuring they’re high-functioning is a key factor in making the business thrive.


5 Outdoor Team Building Activities to Boost Employee Morale

How do you increase employees’ engagement? Offsite activities, such as corporate retreats, offer various opportunities for team members to relax, rejuvenate and destress. Here are some ideas you can try for your next organizational-wide event.


1. Team Building Exercises

These outdoor activities encourage your team to play, have fun and enjoy downtime. Play is not only for kids — adults reap multiple advantages, improving many facets of their health.

More than 60% of adults in the U.S. don’t engage in enough physical activities. Outdoor team building exercises can increase the movement volume of your employees through play. Besides the physical benefits, moving can promote mental well-being, better brain health and connections with peers. So, what activity should you plan for your next company-wide event? The options are countless. If you need inspiration, here are some ideas to help you get started.

  • Hiking and sports events
  • Camping
  • Wine and beer tasting
  • Outdoor grill-off
  • Overnight swimming
  • Shore excursions that include kayaking and fishing
  • Potluck picnic
  • Tours of the famous spot
  • Parlor games
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Fitness and dancing classes
  • Geocaching

Organizing these events can be costly. However, consider them as investments toward your employees’ overall wellness. The return on investment in the form of increased productivity and reduced absenteeism is worth all the efforts you put into them.


2. Survival Exercises

These outdoor team building activities are slightly intense. They tickle the survival instincts and unleash creative problem-solving skills. Unlike the traditional team building excursions that are mostly fun, survival challenges offer a unique way to engage employees and elevate their morale. They play to the employees’ individual strength and encourage team development. These games spark their survival skills and help build trust and camaraderie. Try any of these outdoor activities to cure employees’ declining motivation at work.

  • Survival relay race: The challenge can be about starting a fire from stone or wood, building a shelter or finding water and food in the wilderness.
  • Scavenger hunt: A similar theme to treasure hunting may appeal to your employees. Create a list of the tasks or items the teams have to complete, like finding edible plants in the forest or building a shelter.
  • Survival fishing game: This activity is perfect for employees who love fishing or want to learn it. Divide the team into different groups and task them with catching as many fish as possible in a set time. Be sure to look up the fishing regulations in your area first about catch limits to prevent violations.
  • Expedition backpack packing race: This activity teaches players which supplies are essential for exploring the wilderness. In this game, divide the participants into teams. They should race to pack their bags with food, water and other items to survive the forest. Whoever packs their backpack first wins the race.


3. Wellness Retreats

Wellness retreats are a popular option for team events because of their several health merits, helping employees who may be experiencing burnout or overwhelmed with stress. These programs often incorporate and leverage the power of nature. Green environments are incredibly beneficial to health. Plants and trees release phytoncides that, when inhaled, can increase immune system activity for up to 30 days, boosting its functions. Natural scenes also lower stress levels and boost mood. Explore the following activities to help your employees rejuvenate and find their passions at work again.

  • Guided nature walks
  • Forest bathing
  • Tours of parks or gardens
  • Ayurveda
  • Outdoor yoga
  • Company gardens


4. Creative Workshops

Outdoor creative sessions provide a perfect avenue for employees to stimulate multiple dimensions of their creativity, such as curiosity, imagination and observation. The goal of these events is to inspire innovation and fresh thinking. Here are some ideas for creative activities you can take outdoors.

  • Outdoor art therapy
  • Photography
  • Nature sculpture and collage
  • Nature-inspired music jam sessions

Employees can harness their creative expression with these activities, helping them convey emotions other than verbal means. Set up stations for shelter to help create a conducive space where employees can sketch, draw, paint and engage in other inspiring tasks.


5. Leadership Programs

One way to increase employees’ loyalty is to invest in their growth. Leadership programs are essential as they give employees a new sense of focus and direction, promoting job satisfaction. Try these activities to develop their ability to lead. Choose a scenic outdoor location to help enhance the experience.

  • Adventure race
  • Leadership expedition
  • Wilderness survival training
  • Leadership challenge course
  • Leadership camps


How to Choose Outdoor Team Building Activities

Get your employees’ opinions when organizing a company event to ensure participation and success. Here are some tips to do it.

  1. Find out what your employees like: Create a suggestion box to know their preferences and interests.
  2. Make it active: Doctors prescribe regular exercise to maintain an active lifestyle. To promote movement among employees, opt for activities that include running and anything that will increase their heart rate.
  3. Choose activities that promote work skills: Whether it’s teamwork, problem-solving or analytical skills, games that encourage positive interdependence and collaboration spill benefits to your company.
  4. Pick the ideal location: Decide on a venue with amenities, like enough parking spaces, so employees have one less thing to worry about. Make coming to the location accessible to encourage more people to join.
  5. Prioritize safety measures: Set up a team to oversee safety in all activities, ensuring everyone adheres to the guidelines.
  6. Create a contingency plan: Create a workaround in case the weather changes or something unexpected happens.


Outdoor Team Building Activities Can Impact Productivity

Your employees will drive your business to success. Although your leadership is essential, they play a more prominent role in taking your company to new heights. Your responsibility in this dynamic is to boost their morale and motivate them to be their best. Try these outdoor activities to enhance teamwork and creative thinking and empower your team to be exceptional contributors.


Beth Rush is the career and finance editor at Body+Mind. She has 5+ years of experience writing about time management strategies and the power of human design to reveal entrepreneurial potential. She also writes about using the emotion of awe to activate our leadership prowess.


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