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Britons dread team building exercises

  • Britons dread team building exercises

  • Four in ten Britons have attended a workplace team building exercise

  • 60% of Brits find team building experiences embarrassing or cringe-worthy

  • The worst things Britons have had to do on a team building exercise include - ‘build a boat, which sank’ and ‘feed my boss chocolate while lying on the floor’

The pandemic has disrupted many workplaces, with employees across the country unable to see their colleagues for extensive periods of time while precautions are in place. There is one aspect of not being present together that workers are unlikely to miss - team building exercises.

A new YouGov survey reveals that more than four in ten Britons (42%) have been on a team building exercise, with those in ABC1 households (who tend to have professional/white collar occupations) more likely to have been subject to them than C2DE households (who tend to have manual/blue collar jobs), at 52% vs 29%.

Do team building exercises work?

The results show that participants are divided on whether team building exercises have the desired effect in the first place: helping teams work together better. Of those who have ever been on a team building exercise, 44% agree with the statement “I felt that myself and my team could work together more effectively as a result of the exercise”. But even more disagree (50%).

Most (54%) disagreed with the statement “I preferred being on team building exercises to having to work”. Four in ten (40%) found the exercise preferable to working.

In fact, most Britons who have been subject to a workplace team building exercise say they found the experience “embarrassing or cringe-worthy” (60%). Women are more likely to say so than men, although majorities of both still feel this way (64% vs 56%).

The prospect of a team building exercise is most likely to fill Britons with a sense of dread

Team building exercises strike fear into the heart of many workers, the results show. When asked what emotions they associate with the prospect of going on a team building exercise, the most common answer is “dread”, at 40% of Britons. Women in particular are more likely to dread team building days than men (48% vs 31%).

The second most common reaction is “annoyance” at 28%, followed by “indifference” at 22%, which is a more male response than female (29% vs 17%).

Few react positively to the news of a team building exercise – 13% feel a sense of approval, while 12% express excitement.

What is the worst thing Britons have had to do on a team building exercise?

YouGov also asked participants what are the worst things they’ve ever done on a team building exercise. Not everyone had a bad experience to share, but included below is a selection of the more entertaining answers.

  • Build a boat, which sank

  • Build a free standing paper giraffe

  • Feed my boss chocolate while laying on the floor

  • Form a conga line with everyone blindfolded except for the LAST person, who had to navigate the front

  • Hold hands with someone with warts

  • I can't remember the worst, but we definitely had to build a tower out of shoes, it was just weird

  • Listen and watch older men take over and mess up everything.

  • Pass an imaginary baby bird gently to the next person

  • Reveal a secret of mine

  • Tidying up a cemetery


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