Team Building vs. Team Bonding – What’s the Difference?

Workplace Wellbeing
January 10, 2022
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Most of us have a general idea of what team building is. For many companies, team building is a staple part of their employee wellness programs. But do you know what team bonding and team bonding activities are? This piece will explain the difference between the two concepts, and give out some great team bonding ideas as well. 

Team building and Team Bonding: The Difference

Team building activities are something most employees and employers are familiar with. The idea behind team building exercises is to help your team operate more effectively together. In the end, the goal of team building activities is to try and increase the productivity of your employees. While there is a practical function, this doesn’t mean that team building activities aren’t fun or social. After all, the most effective teams are those that are motivated and can easily work well together. 

Team bonding activities, on the other hand, are those that focus mainly on that social aspect of your teams. Team building activities can sometimes deal with interpersonal relationships. This social dimension is, however, the main focus of any team bonding exercise. You could think of team bonding as a very specialized aspect and application of team building.

Team Bonding Activities: Why It Matters

Just because team bonding is part and parcel of team building, doesn’t mean that they benefit from the same strategies. When it comes to team bonding, you don’t have to focus so much on developing specific work skills. Rather, the main focus just needs to be on hosting events that team members enjoy.

This sounds simple but has a bigger impact than you might realize. If your employees enjoy the social aspect of work, they’re more likely to be motivated and productive. Team building exercises can help give your employees the skills needed to work well together. Team bonding activities will give them the actual motivation and drive to develop those skills.

Team Bonding Ideas 

Thankfully, coming up with team bonding ideas doesn’t need to be particularly difficult. There are two reasons that team bonding activities are easier than you think to develop.

Firstly, a lot of team bonding and team building activities can overlap. If the team building activities you use are enjoyable, people will look back on them as a positive experience they had with their coworkers.

Secondly, team bonding activities don’t require complexity to be effective. Some of the best team bonding events are the simplest. You just need to create a time and space for your employees to get together and socialize. Shared meals or parties are great ways to let employees socialize in a fun and casual manner.

A lot of team building activities work great as team bonding activities as well, as long as they are designed mostly for fun. You especially want to focus on games that help reveal things about people. Not to say that one should be digging up secrets unprofessionally, but any games where people get to share their hobbies, passions, and interests will help your team better connect on a human level.

In the era of remote work, it’s especially helpful to have some virtual team bonding activities planned. These virtual team bonding activities will help even a remotely deployed team develop some level of bonding. Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it once was to hold activities in a virtual setting. The COVID-19 pandemic spurred an interest in developing easy virtual games. Now you can host a virtual pub trivia night/beverage tasting or virtual escape room for your remote workers pretty easily.

It’s also important to look at team bonding activities that promote mental fitness, especially if you have a lot of people working from home. These kinds of mental fitness boosting activities can help stave off isolation, letting your team improve their mood and mental fitness as they connect. Make sure to check out our own corporate mental fitness programs for team-bonding resources that alleviate burnout, decrease stress, and boost morale. 

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