Team building and organized fun. Four words that strike fear into many seasoned office workers – often for very good reason.

How about these for two more: PowerPoint Improv? Admit it, you rolled your eyes, didn’t you. And I wouldn’t blame you at all. I was first exposed to this in December, when I’m sure I heard at least one person mutter “what kind of new hell is this!”. Oh, and it was mandatory of course (as if the title wasn’t a strong enough sell to fill the room!). But here’s the thing. It was great fun and, to borrow that overused trope, a good way to get people ‘out of their comfort zone’.

We laughed, we waggled our arms and legs, we called each other by increasingly silly names, we kept returning to certain topics (beer and pizza, who knew!), and thankfully nobody cried. Yes, some of the team were undoubtedly more comfortable in hamming it up, but each and every one of us had a good go.

At the time I was visiting our Toronto office as a step in my transition from AXON MedComms (London, UK) to join my new CTS family (Toronto) as a London-based member of the team. It was therefore incredibly valuable for me personally in helping to know a little more about individuals’ personality types, and how best to work with them.

I’m not saying this is going to be everyone’s cup of tea – it isn’t (although having done it twice now I for one am a convert). And it is entirely possible that one or two members of the team may have had a slight preference for the post-work brewery tour and arcade games that we did more recently. But does shooting zombies give you the same bonding experience as translating a colleague’s made-up language into an argument for how pugs may hold the answer to climate change? Possibly not.

So whether it’s painting, flower arranging, litter collecting or beer and pizza, we all need a little time for team building outside the pressure cooker of everyday work – after all, as big a cliché as it is, teamwork really does make the dream work!

By Duncan Shaw