Co-workers. Are you just tolerating your co-workers? Sometimes we just need some time to relax with our co-workers in a non-work environment to really get to know and start enjoying the people we work with every day.

Almost a third of U.S. office workers dislike team-building activities, according to a 2012 Wakefield Research Study commissioned by the cloud technology company Citrix. Although companies have the best intentions when they plan these activities, says David W. Ballard of the American Psychological Association, they can be counterproductive if not executed properly—disrupting trust, heightening tensions, and allowing cynicism to grow in the workplace.

Team building activities make most employees cringe. Yet, most employees would benefit from understanding their co-workers on a different level. We provide a few “bonding” opportunities to think about doing with your co-workers this summer.

  1. Volunteering opportunities. Buffalo County has plenty of options for volunteering. Jubilee Center, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the City of Kearney are a few places that welcome volunteers! Get a group of your co-workers to help out others in your community.
  2. Sports/Fitness. We have many opportunities through Kearney Park and Rec to be involved in adult sports leagues. Grab a few co-workers and set up a pickle ball or volleyball team. Or, just hit Harmon Park and do a few walking or swimming laps. Kearney has plenty of parks. There is probably one close to your worksite. Prairie View golf course has discounted golf for Activate Buffalo County Members too!
  3. A perfect way to get to know some of your co-workers is by eating together. Everyone loves to eat, right? Do a co-workers get together at one of our awesome restaurants in town.
  4. Professional Development Activities. The Chamber of commerce routinely has speakers coming to town. Get a group to sign up for one. Or challenge everyone in the office to read a self-development book.

Kerry Patterson, co-author of the New York Times best-seller “Influencer,” notes that as you study the careers of successful individuals in organizations, they share a common quality: They’re well-connected to a variety of people throughout the organization. How do they get connected? “Much of what takes place in companies is done through the informal social network,” Patterson says.

Sometimes the last thing you want to do is do something with your coworkers after hours. But, maybe that could be the key to unlocking new relationship potential with the people you work with every day.