Team-building in heat: Employees endure tough activities while managers watch from air-conditioned spaces

May 20, 2024 | 03:43 pm PT
At my previous company, summer trips featuring demanding team-building activities were common, requiring employee participation while managers often opted out.

As team-building trips are growing increasingly popular, many companies have chosen to organize such events to enhance workplace cohesion and team spirit. However, not all activities achieve their desired goals, with some even creating conflicts and heavy undercurrents.

At a company I used to work for, we had annual summer company trips that few were excited to participate in. The human resources department had to persuade and even coerce employees to join.

At first, these trips only involved HR and employees. However, the absence of executives and managers led to rumors and resentment, eventually prompting them to join subsequent outings.

However, their participation also stirred controversy. During a beach trip, while employees were required to play strenuous games under the sun, management could relax in shaded areas or air-conditioned rooms. Furthermore, at the dinner party later that night, managers would go on stage to give a brief speech and then retreat to their rooms to dine privately.

This stark contrast between managers enjoying themselves while employees enduring hardship made me question the purpose of team-building activities, as well as management's attitudes towards their subordinates. Many of my colleagues told me they felt the same way.

Ideally, these trips should be an opportunity to strengthen office cohesiveness and team spirit without any hierarchical distinctions within the company, but the employees end up socializing only among themselves.

What even is the point of "team-building" trips if management feels like they are too good to fraternize with their employees?

Reader Bui Anh

*This opinion was translated into English by AI. Readers’ views are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress’ viewpoints.

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