4 Ways to Make Sure Your Last-Minute Team Building Activity Goes Smoothly

There are few things more stressful than trying to plan a team building event on a tight turnaround. But with the right approach, you can help ensure your event is a success, even with minimal lead time.


There are few things more stressful than trying to plan a team building event on a tight turnaround. But with the right approach, you can help ensure your event is a success, even with minimal lead time.       

Planning events is a no easy gig. It’s actually so tough that Forbes ranked event planning fifth on its list of the world’s most stressful jobs – and that’s for people who do it full time. This goes to show just how challenging it must be for somebody who isn’t an event pro and has simply been asked to plan an event in addition to their usual work. And when you add a time crunch to that equation, the outcome can be an overwhelming experience. 

You wouldn’t believe how often we hear from our customers that they’ve been tasked with putting together a team building activity on a very short timeline. And understandably, they often find the idea pretty overwhelming. That’s because, as is the case with planning any event, there are a whole lot of arrangements to make and logistical details to keep on top of in order to make it happen. 

But while it’s a big job to fit into a small amount of time, it is absolutely possible to put together an amazing corporate team building event that your colleagues will love, even on the tightest timelines. For example, we once helped T-Mobile plan and execute an epic team building event over a holiday. They reached out to us on a weekend and by Monday, we had a team building activity ready to go. If you want to read more about that, check out our case study. 

So, if you find yourself having to plan a team building activity in minimal time, don’t stress. Just take a deep breath and follow these four tips. 

Find Your Venue First 

When you’re planning an event in crunch time, the first thing you should do is find your venue. That’s because you may bump into availability issues when you’re looking at the last minute, which may it turn put some constraints on your next steps. For instance, you may find that the only venues you’re able to find are bigger than what really need which may mean you have to shell out more money to secure it.  

Or, it could also dictate the type of event you end up pursuing. Let’s say you’re hoping to do an indoor event for 50 people, but you can only find venues with 20-person capacities. You may have to tweak your approach and consider moving towards an outdoor team building activity so that you can take advantage of more ample outdoor space, such as a park, the beach, or even the streets of your city. In that case, you might also want to check out our Comprehensive Checklist: 25 Key Considerations for Outdoor Team Building. And if worst comes to worst, you can also explore corporate team building activities that you can do right in your own office. 

If you’re looking for a great venue and you don’t have a ton of time for thorough research, check out a service like Cvent to help you find and book a venue based on your schedule and budget parameters.  

Set Aside Some “Last-Minute” Cash 

When you’re building out the budget for your last-minute team building activity, it’s important that you set aside some “emergency” money for unexpected expendituresrush fees, and things you might’ve forgotten in the flurry of last-minute planning.  

Imagine you’re hosting an outdoor team building activity, you’ve managed to get it all together, and suddenly the weather forecast takes a turn for the worst. The challenge? In your rush to put together the event, you overlooked the potential need for cover, so you suddenly have to order a couple of tent rentals at the last minute. If you had cut your budget too tight, you might not have enough money left to cover the cost – and that would really rain on your parade. That’s also why we offer our Peace of Mind Plan on outdoor team building events which protects you against unexpected weather and lets you switch to one of our indoor activities at no extra cost.  

Keeping a detailed budget is a key part of a successful event. If you’re planning a last minute corporate team building activity and you don’t have much time to start from scratch, you can find a free budget template in our free resource, The Ultimate Guide to Team Building 

Be Flexible and Keep an Open Mind 

When you find yourself in a pinch, it’s important to keep an open mind about the type of event you put on. For example, if things aren’t coming together as far as your venue goes, you can always pivot and explore options you can do in your own office (more to come on that). At Outback, we also offer even faster and more efficient alternatives to traditional hosted team building events, including self-hosted team building activities and virtually hosted activities that allow you to minimize logistics and supplies and run your own event easily, efficiently, and successfully.  

These activities can be put together in a matter of hoursCase in point: Conexus Credit Union once contacted us on a Friday afternoon in search of a team building activity that they could do the following Monday. We were able to set them up with a Code Break Express activity that met their needs for a fast, fun, and simple team building solution. To learn more, check out our case study on the event. 

But if you’re committed to having a fully hosted team building activity, we can make that happen as well. At Outback Team Building & Training, we live by the brand promise of being fast so that our customers are able to get their perfect corporate team building activity, even on the tightest of timelines. 

Pick the Perfect Last-Minute Team Building Activity 

Once you’ve found your venue and finalized your budget, it’s time to pick the last-minute team building activity that will be the perfect fit for your situation. Here are six activities that can be easily executed on a tight timeline: 

  • Picnic Party Games – Company picnics are a quick and easy outdoor get-together to put on if you find yourself in a pinch. And with a Picnic Party Games team building event, you can take your traditional picnic to the next level. With this activity, you can head outside with your colleagues and infuse your day with a ton of fun, exciting games, and challenges. This can save you time on finding and locking down a venue. And best of all, we offer this activity in a self-hosted format to make it easy to execute and inexpensive as well! 
  • Throw a Company Potluck – Everyone loves a company potluck. It’s a great way for people to come together, get to know one another, and share their favorite foods with their colleagues. It can also be done on only a few days of notice. To get started, create a sign-up sheet outlining any dietary restrictions so that you can get an inventory of what people are bringing, and then set aside an extra long lunch hour to make it happen.  
  • Wild Goose Chase – A scavenger hunt is an awesome go-to option when it comes to last-minute team building events. And with Wild Goose Chase, you can add an extra level of fun to the traditional scavenger hunt. With our flexible options, you can also save yourself the time of having to create the challenges, find the landmarks, and come up with the crafts. This is a great way to get your team outside to explore their city. Think of it as rush hour redefined!  
  • Host a Show-and-Tell  There’s a real value in creating opportunities for colleagues to get to know each other on a personal level as well as a professional one. Throwing a grown-up show-and-tell is a quick and interesting way to help them become better acquainted in a less formal capacity. It’s a great opportunity for your team to show who they really are as individuals by sharing things they love and that are important to them. It’s an easy option to put together on short notice and can be done at your office if you don’t have time to find a venue.  
  • Team Pursuit  Finding a way to get your team together to recharge and have a little fun is never a bad thing. With Team Pursuit, that’s exactly what you’ll do through a diverse and customizable array of mental, physical, skill-based, and mystery challenges. And since it’s an app-based activity, we offer it in both a virtually hosted format as well as a self-hosted one. That means we can simply put together a program for you that you can download onto your smartphone and run on your own if you’re in a pinch – wherever, whenever.  
  • Random Acts of Kindness – Doing good for others has been shown to have big benefits for our wellbeing, and in turn our performance at work. Get your team outside and doing unsolicited good deeds for strangers with a Random Acts of Kindness team building activity. And like our other team building activities, you can download the entire activity onto your phone in a matter of minutes and be doing an exciting team building activity in no time. 

Learn More About Picking the Perfect Last-Minute Team Building Activity  

For more information about how you can plan a great corporate team building activity on a tight timeline, just reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.    

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