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New Year’s Resolutions: How To Host a Team Building Lunch

Olivia Kelley

Olivia Kelley

January 16, 2020

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Could adding a regularly scheduled team building lunch be the key to a successful 2020 for your company? We think it just might be! It’s no secret that we love positive workplace cultures. Establishing a positive culture in your office can lead to increased productivity, lower employee turnover rates, and achieving long-term business goals. 

As you prioritize and plan for the year ahead, put workplace culture and happiness at the top of your lists. Hosting a team building lunch is a great way to create bonds within your office and foster a positive culture! We made a guide to help you plan it out, step by step. 

Set a Date, Time, and Location

The first step to planning a successful team building lunch is knowing when you will host it. Check in with your team to see what days and times work best for them during the work week. It’s best to try and plan a few weeks ahead of time, so everyone can make sure their schedules are clear. We also suggest setting aside 2-3 hours for this event. That way, you have plenty of time for activities, eating, and discussion.

You’ll also want to decide where this event should take place. You may want to just have it in your office — either in an open kitchen or a large conference room. If you don’t have space in your office, see if there’s a coworking or event space you can rent for a few hours. Hosting an off-site event is a great way to get your team excited and anticipating what’s to come!

Make a Budget 

Next, you’ll want to plan out your budget for the event. If you don’t already have a set budget for team events, you will need to evaluate what funds you have available elsewhere to pull from. In our recent blog, How to Plan Your Office Catering Budget, we outline some helpful steps to determine what it will cost to feed your team for an event. Setting a budget ahead of time will keep you from overspending and give you a better idea of what your needs are. 

Decide What Food / Ambiance You Want  

It’s not a team building lunch until you order the food! There are a few things you will want to consider when choosing the right food for your event:

  • The ambiance – are you looking to have quality time around the table enjoying food together? Or do you prefer for people to focus on activities and discussion? In that case, something light that isn’t too challenging to eat may be more suitable
  • Budget – how much can you spend per person on food? Are there beverages at your lunch venue or does your budget need to cover drinks as well?
  • How hungry will people be? If you’re having a sit down event with a presentation or speaker, you may want a little extra food to keep people alert and focused. If you’ll be active, then you may want something quick and easy for the lunch portion.
  • What dietary restrictions and preferences does your team have? This is important, so that everyone can enjoy eating together and walk away feeling full and satisfied. 
  • Location – Think about what makes sense for your venue. Is there room for a sit down meal with plates, serving trays and silverware? If it’s a smaller space, you may want to stick to finger foods. 

Think about these questions to get an idea of what food makes the most sense for your team. If you work with a catering partner, they can handle the details for you and help plan the team building lunch of your dreams!

Plan a Team Building Lunch Activity 

Now it’s time to plan the team building part of your lunch! There are lots of different ways to go about this. Think about what makes the most sense for your team. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Pick a leadership or work-related book to read as a team for a few weeks prior to the event. Try to choose one that is interactive and has activities or questions to answer. Discuss at your team lunch and go over the activities and questions together!
  • Have your team take a personality test, like the Enneagram or Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator prior to the event. Have an expert guide your team in conversation and activities to better understand their types and how they can work together. 
  • Play games together! This could be board games you bring from home, office-related quizzes, or traditional team building games. Just have fun with it and get to know each other better!
  • Learn a new skill together. Bring in an expert on something you want to learn more about as a team. Make sure they include team activities to get people chatting and working together. Conclude with a fun game!

Follow Up With Your Team 

Last, but definitely not least, make sure you follow up with your team after these events. Send an email asking people to list the top three things they learned or what their favorite parts of the lunch were. Set goals to follow up on as a team. Get feedback on what could’ve been done better or what they loved and want to keep doing. The most important thing is that your team is gaining value from these lunches. People should walk away with a better understanding of their jobs and how they can play to each other’s strengths in the future. Make sure to listen and develop better practices as you go. You’ll be well on your way to a positive workplace culture before you know it!

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“Cater2.me has been able to get our employees from all different departments together, to get away from our desks, recharge, and be able to return to our work, happy and full.”

—Ellen K., Employee Experience Specialist, Frame.io