Teambuilding Solutions in River North
By Morgan Lott
When it comes to teambuilding goals, “different” comes up a lot, which isn’t surprising. It is certainly a noble cause to break your team out of the cycle of the same old catered lunches and happy hours. But you live in Chicago—you can go beyond just “different”.
Use teambuilding as a way to achieve personnel goals. Below are four ideas to get started, all located right here in River North.
Goal: Build camaraderie between new (or shy) employees
When companies welcome new staff on board, getting everyone to gel can take a while. If they have a hard time starting conversation standing around with their coffee, things will not get that much easier standing around with a beer. A little facilitated fun is a great way to shortcut familiarity.
The Chopping Block offers all the occasion of dinner and drinks out with a teambuilding activity in one. Starting with a guided, educational cooking experience gives participants a conversation starter. When they sit down at the end of the event to eat together, new employees will have learned new skills, witnessed how others work and have something fun to talk about. Goal: Reinvigorate and deepen the connections between employees The team is already built, but maybe things have gotten stale. Shake things up by taking on a new challenge. A competitive angle is not necessary to inspire—a fresh, shared experience is an ideal way to decompress while energizing a team.
Friends of the Chicago River (River North’s titular body of water) offers group canoeing excursions for groups of 10 – 35 participants. Go from the waterfront to water-on and gain a new perspective on the city you call home. This activity has a lot of benefits. The novelty of getting outdoorsy in the urban, requiring teamwork to literally move forward (with the help of guides), and flexibility—FOCR can launch from a variety of locations along the Chicago River system.
Goal: Solving a specific problem
Interrogating the company’s mission, creating a yearlong goals calendar—all worthwhile causes that need a retreat-like setting and are meant to bring the team together with a bit of zest. This teambuilding goal calls for a beautiful, inspiring space.
Loyola’s Water Tower Campus has plenty of meeting spaces that offer more than projector screens and seating. Getting out of the office is a quick way to reframe thinking. Getting out of the office into a space rich in history with stunning skyline views is inspiring. Just look at those views.
Goal: Cut the shop talk, let off steam
Sometimes people need to be reminded that their work colleagues are people. Sometimes folks need to be reminded that they can have a great time with their colleagues. Sometime people need a sing-along.
(Photo courtesy of Redhead Piano Bar)
When the going gets tough, the tough should get going to Redhead Piano Bar. Did you know you can reserve tables or host a private party for a night of songs and sips? Good luck talking about spreadsheets with Carol from Accounting belting out Rocket Man in the booth next to you.
Goal: Get conscientious and volunteer
For your company, it is important that teambuilding is understood as an extension of the company’s mission and values. Giving back to the community is a great way to work towards a common goal while elevating conscientiousness among employees.
There are a range of charitable organizations that appreciate volunteer help in River North. For example, sign-up your team to serve a Wednesday Dinner for The Chicago Help Initiative. Many venues and organizations can work together to add a charitable angle to any event. For example, The Chopping Block can donate leftovers from your private cooking event to the food bank of your choice. Maybe you have got other things in mind outside of the above goals. Totally fine! Hopefully this has shown you that five minutes spent thinking deeply about your company goals can turn an outing into an investment.
At The Chopping Block, we have been teaching people in Chicago how to cook for over 20 years. We are a recreational cooking school that combines education and entertainment. Book your next teambuilding event with us.