Team Building Lessons from Olympic Athletes

This summer, the world’s best athletes have gathered in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to compete for Olympic gold. They’ve shown amazing strength, determination, and persistence in order to qualify to compete on the world stage. Many of the qualities these athletes display can be applied to office teams as well. In a recent post on their blog, Spectrum Staffing identified three lessons that your team can learn from the athletes competing in the games of the 31st Olympiad.

  1. Communicate: All of the athletes come into the games with a plan, but as conditions change, it is crucial that they adapt and communicate to make the most of the competition and come out ahead. The same applies to corporate collaborations – it’s not enough for team members to simply come up with a plan at the start, but they must also be willing and able to communicate with each other at every step along the way. Stellar communication will open up the doors to highly effective collaboration as each team member is aware of the others’ positions, and is able to adjust their course correctly.
  2. Share One Vision: While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is highly important that your team all share the same goal as they strive towards the future. Being able to unify behind a common theme will allow your team members to know their roles and strive effectively towards the end result. They will be able to achieve smaller steps it takes along the way when they have all caught sight of the same vision.
  3. Commit To Hard Work: All of the Olympic athletes have trained tirelessly for years to earn a spot on the competition floor at Rio, and know that they must give at least 100% in order earn gold. Your team must also be aware of the hard work it will take to achieve the end result and be willing to go the distance.

Every Olympic athlete compete with the hope of returning home crowned as, “The Best in the World”, and many of the same principles they apply to their competition and training hold merit in the corporate world as well.

Boosting Employee Engagement Through Team Building

It’s no secret that happy employees are better team members. And the most direct path to team members’ happiness is through engagement; team members that feel engaged are more likely to perform better and put more trust into management. Deepening your employees’ engagement levels will result in a more productive and successful company. In a recent blog post on their website, cited a study that showed that 69% of workers thought that their company had an engagement problem, and 82% of those employees wanted their company to fix the problem. That’s a lot of unengaged employees. In their post,, lists 3 ways to boost employee engagement:

  1. Have fun: Having fun together is a crucial part of engaging your team, and not all of your options have to be stereotypical or cheesy activities. They suggest a team building tour from Museum Hack, who offers tours here in San Francisco at the de Young Museum. Their tours will have your team laughing and relaxing. Having fun together is a great way to recharge your batteries and return back to the office performing their best.
  2. Volunteer: What better way to engage your team than to unite them around the common cause of paying it forward. Spending some time giving to others at your local soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, or even the local animal shelter.
  3. Celebrate: Celebrating individual and team accomplishments, whether big or small, will help your employees to know that they are not unnoticed. Engaging your team members happy and engaged in the company will have a hugely positive impact on your company’s morale.

By boosting your team members’ engagement through team building, you will be impacting the atmosphere in your office in a positive way and helping your team to remain happy and productive.

New Bar Works Co-Working Space Opens in San Francisco

Jack’s restaurant, a historic building in downtown San Francisco, is finding new life as a co-working space; it is being revitalized by Bar Works, a company that has 3 similar spaces in New York City. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Bar Works decided upon the historic venue in order to make a statement as they charter a space in a brand new town. They cite Bar Works’ managing director, Franklin Kinard, who said, “By going after a landmark building, we felt it was a dramatic way to announce ourselves to the marketplace. It makes a statement.”

This space will be perfect for individuals working remotely who would prefer a dedicated workspace instead of bounding nomadically from coffeeshop to coffeeshop seeking fast wifi and a productive space to work. It will also be a great place for small teams to gather and work, as they will offer nearly 400 individual workspaces as well as conference rooms in the 6,000 square foot facility.

The Jack’s building has a storied history. It is the second oldest restaurant in San Francisco; it first opened it’s doors in 1864 and has been home to a series of restaurants and cafes since. For the first time in it’s history, it will be home to a business not in the foodservice industry, although Bar Works intends to obtain a liquor and wine license, as well as have coffee and light food available to its tenants.

The owners of this new co-working space hope to preserve a lot of the historical significance by maintaining some of the original operations and aesthetic through opening the bar and food service avenues within the building. Co-working prices will be comparable to the other companies already in town – $30 day passes, and $400-$600 a month for most spaces. Bar Works is hoping that by keeping some of the original vintage look of Jack’s while reopening its doors as a co-working space, they will be able to preserve an important piece of San Francisco history.

3 Activities to Strengthen Your Team’s Creativity

One of the biggest myths about creativity is that some people are born with it and some people are not. The truth of the matter is that, while some people may have a greater penchant for creativity, all people are on some level creative and can cultivate it like they would any other skill. These three companies specialize in team building activities that will draw out and challenge your team members’ creativity. As they learn to think imaginatively here, they will be cultivating the skills to think outside the box and problem solve more readily back in the office.

  1. Paint Nite: This company connects you with a local artist and party host. They meet your team at a local restaurant or similar type venue and invite you to create artwork while sipping some cocktails. They supply all the materials needed for you to have a good time and flex your creative muscles. This is perfect for a fun and relaxing evening of team bonding.
  2. Nerd Improv: This company offers customized improv workshops designed to strengthen your team members’ active listening skills, creativity, willingness to take risks, and connection. They offer on or offsite skill building workshops, they’ll host icebreaker games or MC events, or even provide customized on-boarding training. Nerd Improv will help: “foster positivity during brainstorming and idea creation, encourage teammates to push their comfort zones, and discover new traits individually and in others.”
  3. Mystery By Design: With over 25 distinct and customizable plots, Mystery By Design’s writers and actors will work with your company’s history, strength, and idiosyncrasies to design a murder mystery scenario that your team must work together to solve. You name to time and place, and they coordinate the story. These events will have your teams competing to think creatively, beat the clock, and solve the mystery.

Creativity is a valuable skill to any team; being able to think outside the box and problem solve quickly will help your team collaborate more effectively. These Bay Area businesses will help your team fire on all creative cylinders and run smoothly and effectively.

Tips for Remote Teams from Museum Hack

With the technological advances of today’s world, many companies are employing teams of people which are either fully or partially distributed – some teams might have a few central people all working in an office together and others from remote locations, and other companies may have all of their employees working from different parts of the country or globe. One company that has seen success with creating a thriving company culture while also employing a dispersed team is Museum Hack.

Museum Hack offers unconventional museum tours at some of the most recognizable museums in New York City, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Most of their team members are based right there in one of the three cities, but they have a supporting team of people working in customer service, sales, and marketing in locations all over the globe – multiple U.S. cities, as well as Canada, Columbia, and the Philippines. This allows them to cut down on overhead costs like expensive office spaces in New York City, and cuts out a commute for most of the employees. In a recent blog post on their website, Museum Hack identified some techniques they use to improve company culture, and specifically, team building practices they employed to help include their remote team in the company.

Tips and Tricks of the Dispersed Team Building Trade

  1. Icebreakers – this may seem sort of like a team building buzzword, but there’s a reason icebreaker games and questions are a popular form of group bonding…they work. Museum Hack has found that by beginning or group chat or phone call with a soft question allows their remote team to be seens as individuals with experiences and desires, not just a worker. And as an added bonus, icebreaker questions involve zero monetary investment and minimal planning, which makes them easy to adopt into your company’s culture right away.
  2. Company Trainages – once a month or so, Museum Hack hires a consultant to teach much of their staff a new skill. They bring in both full-time and part-time employees for an evening of education and fun. While they admit that it is a larger financial investment than icebreakers may be, they see a huge ROI from their evenings out building new skills and friendships.
  3. Paid Trips for Localization – definitely the team building technique with the greatest financial investment, but Museum Hack has seen tremendous results from paying for employees to come in to NYC for a weekend and meet the whole team. Meeting one another in person contributes a noticeable increase in productivity, dedication and collaboration from their remote team members.

While working with a distributed team can have great advantages – allowing employees to work almost whenever and wherever they would like, they have their disadvantages too – a feeling of isolation and lack of connection can easily crop up. However with a few simple techniques in place, even fully dispersed companies can flourish.

Pokémon GO Team Building Possibilities

Museum Hack Premieres Pokemon Themed Tours
Upon its release on July 6, 2016, Pokémon GO became a quick internet sensation –
swiftly surpassing apps like Twitter and Tinder in number of users and quickly rising to the top of the App Store charts. As the Pokemon GO craze continued, Museum Hack continued their pattern of remaining on top of trends by announcing a Pokémon GO themed tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their first tour launched on July 16 and received some media attention.

Museum Hack has also written about how museums have seen an uprise in people walking through their doors, often for the first time, looking for Pokémon. This game is getting people off their couches, out of their houses, and into their neighborhoods. Museum Hack is no stranger to innovation and activity in fields that seem unlikely candidates for these sorts of new approaches. They have developed a brand of exciting and unconventional tours that are offered in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Gallery of National Art in DC, and most recently, the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Catch All Your Team Members with Pokémon Team Building
Any one of their tours would be a great team building option – they are fun, exciting, and group-oriented. The Pokemon themed tour would be a particularly great team bonding activity, as most people are already familiar with or are playing Pokemon GO and can dive right into engaging with and enjoying the tour. While these tours are currently only offered in New York City, there are rumors that private Pokemon tours will be coming to San Francisco soon. Until then however, you can request customized corporate tours here: They could certainly put together an afternoon or evening full of Pokemon-related museum activities that would allow your team to laugh and play together.

When Team Building Is Necessary

If you’re here on, you know that team building is important, and you also know that there are certain situations that call for team building more than others. There are certain times when your team is operating on all cylinders, and others when they could use some improvement. It is crucial in these moments to take some time and course correct before the less-than-optimal operating conditions become the new norm. There are a few common moving parts that could factor into team building becoming a necessity for your team.

A team member is having a hard time fitting in.

Even if a new hire seemed like a good cultural fit for your company and your department during his or her interview doesn’t mean there may not be hiccups later. This happens to even the best of teams, and even in the friendliest of work environments, but a short team building event, onsite or off, might be all it takes for your newest team member to come out of his or her shell and feel like an involved and valuable member of the team. Once your team opens up to its most recent addition, and vice versa, your team will be humming along smoothly and producing results to its fullest potential in no time.


Team or company morale is low.

Maybe your team just put on one of it’s biggest events of the year, or just completed the most strenuous sales quarter of the year – taking a break to play and laugh as a team could be just what your team members need to get back on their feet and feeling energized again. Or maybe it feels like the gears are grinding slowly to a halt and you are finding that your team just needs a break in the action in order to start feeling like themselves again. A fun event – maybe a night out on the town, or an organized competition from one of the companies featured on this website – could be the perfect thing to raise spirits and boost morale.


Your team is not communicating or collaborating to their fullest potential.

Team building games can be especially effective at increasing a team’s communication abilities; by competing in activities far varied from those they encounter in the office, team building exercises allow your team member the chance to learn one another’s communication styles, strengths, and personalities. The things they learn about their teammates here can help them work better together in the office later.


It’s been awhile since your last team building event.

Like an oil change in your car, or a yearly well check at the doctor’s office – regular team building events can help prevent hiccups and stall outs before they happen. Team bonding events will see great ROI as your team or company learns more about each other and themselves.


If your team or company is struggling to find their inspiration, not to worry, you’re not alone and there are plenty of resources to help your team find a fresh rhythm again. Whether it’s after adding a fresh addition, or when experiencing communication problems or a lack of morale, or even just routine maintenance, team bonding activities play a vital role in the strength and health of your department and company.  


Thanks to this Kelly Services blog post for inspiring this post.

Team Building Lessons Learned From Museum Hack

New York-based company, Museum Hack has recently moved into the Bay Area neighborhood and brought with them their unique brand of team building activities centered around the exciting and unknown stories of the artifacts and pieces at the de Young Museum. They have had great success with team building activities in New York City, and these are some tips and tricks we have learned from their adventures so far in NYC and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Provide Real Experiences: Museum Hack prides themselves in creating lasting impressions with their guests by offering memorable experiences that will be remembered for years to come. Their guides’ authenticity shines through during each of their tours as they encourage their guests to be themselves through their example. They don’t take themselves, or the museums, too seriously.

Provide Real Stories: This goal stems from their continued commitment to authenticity. Museum Hack’s guides spend the time to learn the stories about the pieces at the museum. They work to become experts with the information and engage their guests with the art through true and entertaining stories.

Re-Invent Your Surroundings: Museum Hack began when CEO Nick Gray was taken on a date to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The young woman that Gray went with shared some of her favorite stories about the different pieces in the Met. Gray’s eyes were opened to the entertaining and educational opportunities offered by this personalized approach. Museum Hack has been committed to unique and inventive approaches to private and corporate museum tours ever since.

Through providing authentic and exciting museum tours, Museum Hack has changed the way people look at and experience museums. By connecting with their guests through their customized and authentic approach and providing them with true and entertaining stories, Museum Hacks guides pave the way for their guests to laugh and connect with one another. This blend of truthfulness and engagement have allowed them to transform not only the way people experience museums, but corporate team building as well.


As I searched for food-fueled team building in the Bay Area, I discovered Cozymeal. This company offers a wide variety of culinary experiences with a goal to, “connect people, build relationships, [and] make memories”. Cozymeal offers three corporate team building options: cooking classes, private dining, and market tours. Some of the cooking classes offered include: “An Exploration of Ramen”, pasta making, and a sushi making competition, each led by an expert chef. Cozymeal events can take place at a variety of venues, such as the chef’s home, a restaurant’s kitchen, an art gallery, or large event space. They even offer the option for the chef to come to your venue.

Cozymeal has worked with groups from many well-known companies: Google, Facebook, and Macy’s, to name a few. They offer more than team building to–their chefs can cater private events as well.

As I read the reviews on their Yelp page, I found over and over that every clients’ interactions with the chefs seemed wonderful. One reviewer mentioned that the chef for her event allowed them to stay a half hour over their time because they got started late, and she also managed to make space for all 16 people in the kitchen in her home. This reviewer continued:

If you’re looking to learn how to cook a certain type of cuisine/meal or for ideas on an interactive group activity, Cozymeals is a wonderful choice.

Cozymeal offers such a wide variety of options, it seems hard to imagine a group or scenario in which their services would not be a great addition.

You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Laser Quest

While searching for adventurous team bonding options, I came across Laser Quest. This laser tag company offers birthday parties, day camps, and even educational programs on top of their corporate group activities. They have locations all across the country, including one in San Jose.

They offer a few different levels of corporate tours: exclusive quests, a teamwork program and the ultimate quest. Their exclusive quests offer your team the option of Laser Quest’s entire facility. One game is $250 for up to 32 players, $500 for two games, and $670 for three games. Their “Quest For Success” teamwork program is a unique half-day workshop designed to emphasize characteristics of effective teamwork. And finally, their ultimate quest includes unlimited games, exclusive use of their facility, and team activities between games. The ultimate quest package is $1650 for 2 and 1/2 hours, $2,250 for 3 and 1/2 hours, and $2,800 for 4.5 hours. Those prices are for groups up to 60, with options available for larger groups as well.

This video offers more information about Laser Quest’s “Quest For Success” workshop.

You can also connect with Laser Quest on Facebook.