Team-building activities are a fun way to bring colleagues together, a chance to unwind from the stresses of the day, and to build workplace connections. When a manager races around a track, cooks his or her favorite meal, or pitches a no-hitter at a softball game, these morale-boosting events takes the supervisor-employee relationship to the next level.
UCPath Center employees say they enjoy a range of activities together to help build a strong community spirit in the workplace.
“Our culture at the UCPath Center is that we’re one big family,” said Gina Aguirre, a senior employee service associate. “Employees like to socialize with one another outside of their department. This work culture has been in place since the UCPath Center’s infancy.”
A 2017 Gallup study found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent, while people who have a workplace best friend are seven times more likely to be fully engaged at work.
5 Ways to Invest in Team Building
Here are some ways UCPath Center employees build relationships with each other to enhance professional and personal connections:
- Get outside and walk: One way to foster fitness and keep accountability is to walk together with your colleagues. UC Walks, now a University of California tradition, promotes wellness and an active lifestyle by encouraging faculty, staff, retirees and students to take 30 minutes out of their day to walk. This free event also builds community and campus spirit throughout the UC system.
In 2018, UCPath Center staff spent around 5,910 minutes walking in 2018 at their UC Walks event, compared with 2,640 minutes in 2017 – doubling their output.
“Our goal was for employees to have fun and de-stress for the day,” said Erin Warnock, human resources analyst and wellness program coordinator. “Around 100 percent of anonymous responders stated they had a fun time, with 89 percent favoring the walk.”
Hiking may be a more intense alternative to walking, but it’s also a healthy activity where you can bond with your UCPath Center coworkers. Veronica Zuno, workforce administration assistant, said she participates in hiking trips after work.
Popular hikes in the Riverside area include the Mount Rubidoux Trail, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park and Box Springs Mountain. Popular trails in the nearby San Bernardino mountains and Big Bear also attract avid UCPath Center hikers.
Tamara Guerrero, senior employee services associate, said she is a member of the UCPath Center hiking club. “When the weather cools down, we typically try to go once a week on a three-mile hike up Mount Rubidoux,” she continued. “You can see all of Riverside once you get to the top.”
- Host a book club: According to publishing magazine Bookseller, workplace book clubs can create a shared sense of community, encourage continual learning and build cohesive teams that stick together.
Anna Vega, payroll business analyst, said she was inspired to create a book club at the UCPath Center back in November 2015. “I figured it would be a great hobby for me to share with my coworkers,” Vega continued. “It’s helped me foster relationships and build friendships with my peers, and it provides a way for us to challenge our minds, stretch our imaginations, and celebrate each other’s differences.”
“The book club reinforces the idea that we are one team,” said Krystle Guile, payroll associate, citing one of the UCPath Center’s core values.
“We work hard every day,” Vega added. “The book club gives us a bit of an escape. Talking about something other than our jobs that ties us together is priceless.”
- Volunteer together: When employees participate in their company’s corporate social responsibility program, these volunteer activities can help them develop as an employee – and as a person, reported Fast Company.
Aguirre said she is on the UCPath Center Staff Connection Committee, which likes to organize special events for the Riverside County community on nearly every major holiday.
“Local organizations are always asking us to help out with more events outside the UCPath Center,” Aguirre added. “Employees at the UCPath Center embrace the culture of reaching out and helping the community.”
- Celebrate special occasions: No matter how busy the work gets, it’s always important to take time to celebrate employee milestones and achievements in the workplace.
At the UCPath Center, employees participate in social activities like birthday potlucks and baby showers.
Tiffany Garcia, payroll supervisor said she enjoys taking part decorating the payroll department with festive ornaments and knick-knacks during the holiday season. “I love sharing my traditions with the workplace,” she continued. “My UCPath Center colleagues feel like family.”
- Start a sports league: Team sports often lead to better performance at work, more effective social interactions, as well as a healthier lifestyle, according to the Mayo Clinic.
UCPath Center staffers held their first ever interdepartmental softball game in April 2018. UCPath Center employees donated funds from the game to the Veterans Supplemental Support Network, an organization that helps veterans and their families affected by service-connected mental illnesses, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and/or depression.
“What started as a couple employees talking about their baseball skills ‘back in the day,’ turned into a fun filled morning of softball and teamwork,” recalled Joe Araiza, talent acquisition specialist. He also planned the event. “It was fun having employees and family members participate together on the same field.”
“This event created the opportunity for UCPath Center employees and their families to bond with each other,” Araiza added. “It’s like the old saying, ‘the family that plays together, stays together.’”
Therefore, activities among a work family create a happier, more engaged office atmosphere, along with a boost in productivity.
“My favorite part of the UCPath Center is the people I work with,” Garcia concluded. “I have never been in such a comfortable and friendly working environment where we all encourage one another.”
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