A great workplace culture does not just happen. Both employers and employees need to put some effort into making connections A group off-site activity is a top team building tool and just might halt some resultant eye-rolling if you try to trap your team in a conference room and wheel out the whiteboard.
Team Building may have its roots in 80’s office culture but resonates today more than ever, work spills over into our personal lives and we are readily available at the end of a screen. If workers can socialize and engage in a communal and fun event, it builds connections and is plain old water cooler subject matter. Just saying – over 16% of people meet their partner at work and over 40% consider themselves as having a work“bestie”, so getting out of the workplace and getting an opportunity to mingle is important personally. Ok for the bosses out there it will increase productivity for sure. Happy workforce = Improved business.
If you have the lucky or not so lucky job of arranging the next work event you will have to figure out the where and the what’s of getting your workmates out of their comfortable cubes. The trick is to find somewhere that offers a great experience without taking all your time to organize.
Let’s look at the line-up………. first up is ………
The Stunt Ranch
Why settle for a bonding experience when you could have a James Bonding experience? That’s the motto of the Stunt Ranch on Fitzhugh Road, http://www.stuntranch.com/corporate-event You can choose from a host of fun activities, a company picnic or even make a mini movie. Call 512-898-9FUN (9386) to arrange and price out your event.
Austin Craft Lounge at 12919 Nutty Brown Road
This is a cool Art Studio sharing 5 acres with chickens, horses and rabbits. Enjoy the hill country and get crafty with your workmates and come home with a personalized and unique piece made by you. You will sand, paint, and use vinyl stencils to decorate with full instruction from staff. No crafting experience is necessary but power tools may be involved. From bottle opener to blanket ladder your group can choose from over 30 products to make, you can use one of the many designs and sayings available or come up with your own. Maybe your group members have a favorite sport, school or song you can use as inspiration, the Craft lounge team will work with you to customize your event. BYOB and catering is available. Prices start at $45 per person. https://austincraftlounge.com/private-events/
Target Practice ………
Austin Paint Ball
It is a tried and tested day of fun, exercise and a great pressure release. Austin Paint Ball is conveniently located just off the 290 before you hit Dripping Springs. https://www.austin-paintball.com It has 6 operational courses including Iwo Jima, set in 30 acres of Hill Country, so you can enjoy the setting and kick butt at the same time. Prices start at $27 per person, contact (512) 858-4448 or email@example.com to book.
Archery Training Center
Located on Old Manchaca Road a little on the edge of our area of focus but it is a great place for a Corporate event and they have hosted a number of large and small corporations in Austin. Teams of 2 will receive expert instruction and work through rounds to an eventual medal ceremony. 10 places on the shooting line at one time. 1-20 participants. Even numbers are best if you have over 10 participants. Prices start at $150 for 1-5 people, for a 3-hour Corporate Team Event. See http://www.archerytrainingcenter.com/about/programs Call (512) 975 1850 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your event.
Beer and Distillery Belt Tour
So other cities and towns have greenbelt between them or maybe they build more housing or offices, Austin likes to be different of course and we build craft beer, wine, vodka, cider and whisky distilleries between Austin and Dripping Springs. This makes for a pretty easy tour coz you can’t throw a rock without hitting a new and usually rather good locally produced “drinkie” establishment. Just hire a bus or limo (you can often get great coupons) for your group, because nobody should be driving around these, the drinks are strong. Most now have food or at the very least a food truck. Alternatively book a tour with Discover Texas Hill Country Brewery at http://discovertexaswine.com/discover-texas-hill-country-brewery-tours/ There are so many cool places to recommend, I could write another article on this alone. Jester Kings, Treaty Oak, Dripping Springs Vodka, Family Business Beer Company, Driftwood Estate Winery, Crowded Barrel Whiskey Co, Frog Pond Distillery, Tweaked Distilling, Revolution Spirits Distilling Co, Kooper Family Whiskey Co, San Louis Spirits and Deep Eddy Vodka, Phew … another one has probably opened up since I started writing. I would suggest you print out a list from google maps and do a straw poll between workmates.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
A bit of a change of pace but whether it is a small group or large the Wildflower Centre can accommodate your needs, call ahead for a large group. Guided tours are $75 for every 15 people plus $1 off regular admission per person. https://www.wildflower.org/visit/contact You can book a room, the library or auditorium for $200 upwards for the whole day. Catering is also available from the inhouse cafe that serves delicious food. You could just do the tour, look around and eat lunch also. The grounds are packed with beautiful plants all year round, sculptures and there are a number of trails for the outdoorsy types, as well as some fantastic tree swings for fun. The Wildflower Store is also one of the best gift stores in Austin so those who like to shop can get a quick retail fix. You can have a great group outing whilst helping a wonderful national resource, the Wildflower Center raises all its running costs.
Crux Climbing Center
Ok so not beside Dripping but it is still South Austin, right off South Congress, at 121 Pickle Road. https://www.cruxclimbingcenter.com/steps-to-a-happy-visit/ This is a cool and trendy spot, you can arrange a group event and even have a lock in. Contact Matt Roberts at email@example.com or call (512) 931-3911. They have everything you need to climb, even if you have beginners in your group they can accommodate all levels. This 22,000 sqft facility is stocked with rope climbing, bouldering and strength training areas, work out and lounge space. If that is not enough, right next door is The Infinite Monkey Theorem (Austin’s urban winery), Cosmic Coffee and Beer with food trucks including Leroy and Lewis BBQ and Pueblo Viejo tacos. A one day gear rate starts at $22 but you should contact them for a group rate.
For a unique and yummy team building event you can book a chef / home cook to come to your house or they also have partner kitchens available near Dripping Springs. https://fredaskitchen.com/pages/corporate-team-building-culinary-events Great for small groups of 8 to 15 people but they can also do larger team building events such as Iron Chef style competitions. They will engage your group by teaching and demonstrating authentic ethnic foods, taught by international chefs and home cooks who love to share their cuisines and stories. Customizable menus and they can accommodate any food restrictions. You don’t need to shop they bring everything including pots and pans and they even do all the dishes and clean up. Events start at $750 for up to 10 people, contact them on (512) 900-6643 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hills of Milk and Honey Farm Tour Dinner Events
They have developed unique farm-to-table dinner experiences. Guests will participate in a one hour educational farm tour, followed by dinner prepared by Farm Chef, Jana Muñiz and you can also be entertained by a local band on occasion. Your meal will be comprised of locally sourced ingredients. Events take place once per month, so you will need to reserve tickets in advance for your group. Book online at https://www.hillsofmilkandhoney.com/farm-dinners/ Cost $65, BYO. 2434 Martin Road, Dripping Springs,78620
Sky Cinemas Dripping Springs
How about a movie, it is an easy way of getting together out of the office, low key and won’t require much small talk. Sky Cinemas has lovely comfy recliner chairs and 14 screens. https://skycinemas.com The food is good, you order it in the foyer and they bring it to your seat, they also have a good selection of craft beers. You can rent one of the auditoriums and have a private event if you wish with catering. https://skycinemas.com/events or you could just block book for your group. They are located at Belterra Village, off the 290 just past Nutty Brown Road. The outdoor beer garden stage has local music 7pm-9pm, Friday and Saturday giving the place a cool community vibe.
So get booking your next event, maybe you’ll find out that Amy in Finance is a whizz crafter or Jeff is not just a top salesman but also could give Katniss Everdeen a run for her money with a bow and arrow.
Contributed by Alison Cairns … co-owner of Austin Craft Lounge and has lived in Austin for 17 years.