There aren’t many smiling faces around right now — and it’s not because of the face masks. COVID-19 is causing huge levels of sadness, stress and anxiety all around the world, and it’s not surprising. For the past few months, hardly anything has been certain, a situation which has taken a great toll on everyone.
While the health pandemic sweeping the globe is a very major issue which needs dealing with seriously, it’s still important to find joy in life. Devastating events often bring out the best in people, with individuals coming together to support each other and connect. One way you can help others in your dental team is to work together and blow off steam.
Team building activities are always great for office morale, something almost every dental practice could do with now more than ever. Here are some ways you can grow as a team while having fun at the same time.
Create a memory wall
We’re so focused on the negatives of current life that it’s easy to forget about all the wonderful moments we’ve shared together. To help remember the happiness from the past and emphasize that there will be more happiness in the future, create a memory wall with all the best stories and experiences from the past year.
A memory wall can be as basic or complex as you like. To keep things simple, hand everyone a piece of paper and ask them to write down a cheerful memory or draw a little doodle of something that happened in the dental practice. Then everyone pins their paper onto a corkboard which you place on the wall. It’s a fun way to remember past memories and it will continue to make people smile for weeks.
Play penny for your thoughts
Penny for your thoughts is a game that’s similar to creating a memory wall, but more personal. You start by collecting coins with dates on them and placing them into a box. Make sure the date on the oldest coin is after the birth year of the youngest member of staff. For example, in 2020, if the youngest staff member is 20, the oldest coin should be dated 2000.
Employees take it in turns to select a coin from the box and then say something significant that happened in their lives that year. With busy appointment schedules and lots of work to be done with very few breaks, dental staff often don’t get much of a chance to discuss their personal lives. This is a great way around it.
Visit an escape room
There’s nothing like threatening to lock colleagues together in a room and throw away the key to get them working as a team to prevent that from ever happening. Escape rooms are great opportunities for everyone to work together, think outside the box and have fun at the same time. They’re also fantastic for better understanding people’s strengths and weaknesses.
Escape rooms come in many different themes — even psycho dentist practices! They’re usually suitable for 2-8 players, making them perfect for small dental practice teams. Because of COVID-19, quite a few escape the room games are closed. But there are still plenty that are open and safe.
DIY scavenger hunt
Get out the office and have a little fun with a custom-made scavenger hunt. Instead of asking your colleagues to find hidden items, give them tasks to do and get them to snap photos as evidence. Some ideas could include feeding birds, striking the same pose as a statue, finding an unusual store, eating some street food, etc.
Divide everyone up into two groups, give each group the same list of tasks and start the timer. The first group to make it back to the dental office with all the tasks completed wins. If there are some tough tasks on the list, you might want to set an end time, instead of waiting for one team to complete all tasks first.
Marshmallow spaghetti tower
Encourage staff to think creatively and work together by asking them to build a marshmallow spaghetti tower. Ask everyone to pair off and hand each pair:
- 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
- 1 roll of masking tape
- 1 yard of string
- 1 marshmallow
Each team has 30 minutes to construct a tower out of the supplies given. The only two rules are that the tower must be able to stand alone without any support for at least five seconds and the marshmallow needs to be at the very top of the tower.
Two truths, one lie: lockdown edition
The standard two truths, one lie game involves each team member giving one true statement about themselves and one false statement about themselves. The rest of the team has to guess which statement is the lie. People can ask the person giving the statements to make it easier.
The lockdown edition adds a fun twist — everyone needs to give two truths and one lie about the things they did or didn’t do during lockdown. For example, three statements could be:
- I wore my pajamas all day.
- I survived for a week on ramen.
- I spent 12 hours playing video games.
Team building during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t easy. How can you encourage your team to get together while everybody has to stay apart? Thankfully, with a little creative thinking, you can still enjoy fun team building exercises that will add a little joy to the work week while still keeping everyone safe.