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Team Building vs Team Recreation: Can YOU spot the difference?

Published Date: December 14, 2020

Team Building vs Team Recreation: Can YOU spot the difference?

  • While most of our simulations integrate team challenges that are a lot of fun, we are first and foremost, management consultants and team building facilitators.
  • Our team building ranges from 1 – 4+ days.
  • We do NOT specialize in activities that are strictly recreational.

For over a decade, many hotels and companies that specialize in recreational activities have been marketing their services as “team building”. While recreational events for teams have some benefits, corporate play days don’t generate bottom line results. They are NOT a substitute for “real” team building.

We integrate our expert business facilitation with engaging indoor and outdoor recreational team challenges to keep your team energized and create effective business team building simulations.

We hope that this chart, video, and podcast and these articles and blog posts (below) will help clarify the difference between team building and team recreation.

Team Building Team Recreation
Comparison What we Do What They Do
  • Learning style surveys
  • Participant profiles to identify:
    • business issues
    • team strengths
  • Full event planning (Available)
  • Executive Briefing to Set the Context
  • Team briefing by facilitator to link simulation to your business challenges
  • Facilitated:
    • cases
    • braistorming
    • problem solving
    • business exercises
Activities Optional Just for Fun
  • FULL Debriefing
  • Business Application Exercises

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NPR Podcast: Paintballing The Boss: Office Team-Building Exercises Gone Bad

Some Definitions

Here are the differences between team building and team recreation.

Team Building vs Team Recreation

Team Building

Team Building

Team building seeks to enhance team cohesiveness and performance to improve business results. In team building initiatives, a facilitator guides teams through the predictable phases of team development often described as forming, storming, norming, and performing. The goal is to help the team generate solutions, make decisions, resolve issues, strategize, plan, and execute initiatives smoothly

Let’s be clear. Many team building sessions involve recreation, however, recreation is a means to an end, not the end. Team building is never delivered just to have fun. That’s team recreation.

What we Offer

What we Offer

Core Services

Our core service is the design and faciltation of:

Team building can be delivered on-site at your company premises, off-site as a day session or at a hotel or resort involving overnight stays, locally or at a foreign destination.

What we Don’t Offer

We do NOT offer short, low-cost, stand-alone recreational activities for teams.

Value Added Services & Upgrades

Value Added Services & Upgrades

We offer clients who book our facilitation services, the convenience of one stop shopping to find suitable venues, handle logistics, and plan events.

Team Recreation

Team Recreation

Team recreation is intended to get your team out of the office for a time of relaxation, recreation, and leisure.

Team members interact for fun and to get to know each other better.

There are no specific business objectives or outcomes. However, it is hoped that if team members are more relaxed and comfortable with each other, this will improve interaction and communication at work.

Yes, team building can include recreational activities but a recreational just because a group engages in activities that are “fun”, this does not constitute “team building”.

Corporate Events

Team Entertainment, Socials, or Corporate Events

This is strictly for pleasure. It could be an interactive event such a chef’s table or an Improv night with audience participation or something more passive like a dinner, concert or even dinner theatre.

Executive retreats and team building retreats often include socials in the evening or during downtime.

If you want to reward your team with entertainment or recreation, that’s important to do from time to time but never try to pass it off as “team building”.

Media Articles

Media Articles

Our President and founder has been interviewed by a number of publications, clarifying the difference between team building and team recreation:

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Team Building Upgrades

We offer clients who book our facilitation services, the convenience of one- stop shopping to find suitable venues, handle logistics, and plan events.

Global – Available in all countries

Canada & Toronto Team Building

Jamaica Team Building

Dubai Team Building

Team Building in Oman

Asia Team Building

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Anne Thornley-Brown, M.B.A. @executiveoasis is the President of Executive Oasis International.

Executive Oasis International

Survive, Thrive, & Grow
Even in the Midst of Turbulence

Executive Oasis International, a Toronto team building and management consulting firm, designs and facilitates virtual team building, executive retreats, team building retreats, and business team building simulations for organizations facing rapid change.

Services are available globally including Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa), USA, Dubai, Oman, Caribbean (Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla), Europe (Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Italy), Japan, Singapore, Malaysia.

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