Organizing a rural Teambuilding session

The 10 keys to a Teambuilding session in a farmhouse

Team building is a North American invention that argues that workers are more productive when they are happy and satisfied with their work environment. That’s why team building activities, lasting one or several days, have become popular among companies. These events are filled with activities aimed at enhancing teamwork, cohesion, and a positive atmosphere among workgroups. Team building outings in nature, in rural tourism houses and farmhouses, have become even more common.

Employees in companies have very different characteristics, but the activities of a team building stay are usually aimed at promoting creative problem-solving, increasing collaboration, or strengthening the bond among team members. Each group is unique, but there are essential points to consider when organizing a successful team building event. The goal of a rural team building is to have a cohesive and satisfied group of colleagues, as a satisfied team is a more productive one.

1. Establishing the objectives of rural team building sessions

Before organizing corporate team building sessions in nature, it’s important to consider what the team needs, what skills of the members need to be reinforced. Beyond the group’s productivity, it may be desirable to improve problem-solving skills within the team, which is often closely related to communication. Rural group sessions can also focus on enhancing creativity, overall group cohesion, or building trust among team members, including new additions. All these purposes fit within rural team building.

Once the skills to be enhanced or the difficulties to be addressed by the group have been decided, the organization of activities and details of rural team building can begin, with dynamics, outings, and activities specifically designed for the established objectives.

2. Define the characteristics of the group

Each team is unique. Beyond the goals of the group, to organize rural team building sessions, it’s necessary to understand the differences among team members. The first thing to know are the basic characteristics, such as each individual’s likes and preferences. Once these preferences and differences are established, consider the relationships between team members, understand the general behavior of the group, and identify its strengths and weaknesses. This will allow enhancing connections among individuals who may not frequently connect when working together. Thus, activities for rural team building can be selected based on members’ preferences, focusing on both group and individual needs.

3. Decide on the duration and location of your rural stay

All activities and dynamics of a rural team building event will depend on the duration and location. Catalonia offers many possibilities, but rural areas like Osona or Garrotxa are perfect for corporate team building sessions lasting one or more days. Being close to Barcelona, it’s not necessary for the stay to last more than a day, but a whole weekend can also be spent without much preparation, being close to all amenities and without the need for extensive travel.

Hosting corporate team building sessions in a rural house is a great idea as it allows strengthening group cohesion through cohabitation and everyday activities, sharing common spaces, and having group meals. Beyond specific activities, these gatherings contribute to the overall team building objectives.

4. Base the team building on outdoor activities

The essence of rural team building lies in the environment, nature. This fundamental aspect must be considered when organizing a corporate stay in a rural setting. When the team is out of the office, the dynamics among group members change. Changing the environment, stepping out of the comfort zone, breathing fresh air—rural team building provides a unique opportunity to take participants out of their comfort zone, allowing them to get to know each other outside the work environment.

The benefits of organizing team building in a rural setting go beyond leaving the comfort zone. Group cohesion activities in a rural environment offer benefits impossible to achieve in an urban setting. Nature contributes to health, as the air is much cleaner. A clean space with better air quality and the possibility of physical exercise improves participants’ mood and physical well-being. This ultimately affects the success of rural team building.

A corporate stay in nature can also be a moment of disconnection. Consider different relaxation activities suitable for the rural environment. The benefits of team building in a natural environment are many, and group work activities can greatly benefit from them. From discovering the local heritage to meditation or sports, consider all possibilities!

5. Reinforce the sense of belonging

One of the fundamental goals of team building and cohesion dynamics in nature is to reinforce the sense of belonging to the group. It’s proven that a team works much better and with more enthusiasm when it’s cohesive and has a common goal. Therefore, regardless of the purpose of rural team building, all activities and dynamics should involve all group members and promote cohesion. Tasks where each member contributes their skills to achieve a common goal should be sought to integrate this sense of belonging into rural team building sessions.

In the long run, stimulating pride in belonging to a work team will make it much more enjoyable to share company challenges and achievements. Through fun and everyday interaction in a rural farmhouse, bonds between coworkers are formed. Rural team building should make group members feel part of a community and believe that teamwork with good communication will lead to achieving their goals. At the end of the stay, participants should see that they haven’t just spent a weekend with their coworkers but have engaged in a team exercise with long-term benefits.

6. Choose activities tailored to all team members

Once the corporate or productive objectives of a rural team building event are established, it’s time to choose the types of activities in nature that best suit the team’s preferences and capabilities. First and foremost, this decision should depend on the established goals and the skills to be enhanced with rural team building (communication, group cohesion, etc.), but attention should also be paid to details such as group size and preferences. Remember that, although there may be short or long-term business objectives, the main purpose of team building is to make team members feel good, ultimately benefiting productivity!

Outdoor team building activities are ideal in rural environments such as the Valley of Ges, Osona, and Garrotxa. Outdoor areas offer opportunities for group cohesion activities focused on hiking, cycling excursions, horseback riding, and even climbing for the more adventurous. Gastronomic and cultural team building activities are also excellent options for combining communication and group cohesion with exploring the environment. Catalonia offers diverse regions with different cultures and cuisines, making rural team building a great way to explore different environments and take the team out of their comfort zone.

7. Combine active and relaxed team building activities

Rural team building events offer a wide range of activities in nature, but this also means balancing physically demanding activities with those dedicated to relaxation or even meditation. Nature is an ideal setting for all these activities.

Although outdoor team building is ideal in areas like Garrotxa and Osona, natural environments offer many more opportunities. Activities involving meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, or yoga can be done outdoors, taking advantage of an exceptional environment to offer the team a moment to rest and reflect. In addition, rural houses are perfect for fostering group cohesion through cohabitation and organizing small brainstorming sessions where participants can share their thoughts and ideas about the project they have in common. Care should be taken to ensure that these sessions remain informal and relaxed rather than turning into formal business meetings. Different types of rural team building activities can be combined to create a team stay that satisfies the tastes and personalities of the group.

8. Organize rural team building without intermediaries

Organizing rural team building activities may seem daunting, but simply combining all the above points can lead to a successful group cohesion weekend. Firstly, rural team building has an essential advantage: space. The benefits of nature and the possibilities offered by the environment are a significant part of the process, so once the location is chosen, the rest of the organization is just details.

Although there are companies specialized in organizing team building activities for businesses, no one knows a group better than someone who works with them. Therefore, organizing rural team building without intermediaries is a good idea. Hiking or cooking contests are examples of team activities that are part of outdoor and gastronomic team building and are perfectly suited to a weekend in a rural house. Additionally, remember that spending a weekend together in a rural house is already a cohesion activity in itself!

9. Hire a specialized organization for outdoor group cohesion activities

Rural team building can be organized perfectly well without intermediaries, but some team activities do require contacting experts. If team building includes activities such as horse riding, climbing, or specific cultural excursions, it’s best to look for local companies specializing in these activities.

Escape rooms are one of the most popular team building activities in recent years, significantly enhancing teamwork, cohesion, and communication with different themes. Although this is an option to consider and would also require external organization, the rural environment allows for much more than just indoor spaces, providing opportunities for innovative team building activities.

In Osona, there are numerous companies specializing in activities ideal for a rural team building stay. Among them, there is Volaventura, which fosters connections through hot air balloon flights, the Vic tourist office with its visitor packages, or Burricleta, specialized in bicycle routes in Osona for all levels.

10. Assess the results of rural team building

Beyond the results in a purely business sense, after team building, observe the changes in dynamics and relationships among group members, which will later translate into productivity. Has camaraderie increased? And communication? If there was a specific problem, has it been solved? Are challenges overcome more quickly?

To evaluate all these improvements, there’s nothing better than observing how team members interact. Informal group surveys can be conducted to understand how participants felt and whether they believe the team building was successful, but where changes will be most evident is in attitudes, dynamics, and the work environment.