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11 Great Team Bonding Ideas for Startups on a Budget

Especially with a growing team, it’s important to make time for an evolving company culture. What better way than to get out of the office for a few hours or even a day of teamwork? That’s why we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“What company outings make for good bonding opportunities but don’t require a large budget?”

Team Bonding Ideas That Don’t Cost Much

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Home-Cooked Team Dinners 

“Sharing a meal is the most effective way to build strong relationships with people, especially when all parties have had a hand in creating that meal. Home-cooked meals by your team offer an opportunity to work together, solve problems atypical from their normal collaborations and enjoy a delicious outcome.” ~ Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark

2. Mini Departmental Summits 

“My team and I schedule frequent mini departmental summits. We get together online on a platform like Zoom or Slack, and brainstorm, laugh, brainstorm some more, and come up with truly innovative ideas. It’s important for a team to bond, and when everyone has a place at the “table,” it enhances and increases communication and openness. We’re more willing to work together to solve problems.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

3. Volunteering 

“Volunteering as a team allows for casual conversation while providing value to a good cause. This is all without any money out of pocket (or very little) and creates a camaraderie not found within many other activities.” ~ Jay Johnson, Small Lot Wine

4. A Park Picnic 

“For the cost of a sack of sandwiches, you can have a nice lunch with your employees at one of the nicer parks in your area. For the best effect, announce it as a surprise on a day that you’re having really great weather. It’s a chance to change surroundings and to experience the people you work with in a more casual setting.” ~ Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

5. A Museum Visit 

“We recently visited the Art Institute of Chicago with Museum Hack and had the best time. Museum Hack weaved team building activities into a tour that kept us laughing and learning. Best of all, it didn’t break the bank. I would absolutely recommend it to groups who want to have some fun together and get inspired.” ~ Andrew Kucheriavy, Intechnic

6. Escape The Room 

“We have done Escape The Room. It not only get’s different groups of people within my company together, but they have to problem solve to get out of the room. It’s a great experience for employee bonding.” ~ Kristy Knichel, Knichel Logistics

7. Going to the Movies 

“On occasion, we like to plan Friday movie nights for the entire team. It doesn’t require a large budget as everyone pays for their own ticket/popcorn, yet it’s a great opportunity for the entire team to bond outside of the work environment.” ~ Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

8. Coffee Breaks 

“If you have a coffee shop or bakery nearby, call and find out if they offer a locals discount (chances are they do!) and take a walk to get a treat for the day. Get some fresh air and an afternoon pick-me-up while catching up outside of the office.” ~ Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

9. Kart Racing or Mini Golf 

“We’ve had a blast kart racing and playing mini golf. These activities bring us together and get us to compete and collaborate without a huge budget required. It’s a way to unwind and have fun together, getting to know each other on a different level.” ~ Angela Ruth, Due

10. Laser Tag 

“We brought our entire team to a few games of laser tag recently. It wasn’t costly at all, but created a great experience for our team. We’ve done other activities such as softball, bowling, cornhole etc., but the laser tag game was the biggest hit.” ~ Magnus Simonarson, Consultwebs

11. Camping 

“Spending a lot of post-work time with your team members will inevitably strengthen the bond of your co-workers. Camping is a great opportunity to experience challenges together, laugh, relax — all while saving money. We all know the great feeling that comes with summer camp. Why not bring that to the workplace? Get rough and hang out around a campfire. It will change the dynamics of your team.” ~ Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors, LLC

Team Bonding Photo via Shutterstock

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