Team Building Trends & Networking News: Let’s Go Green in 2024!

Hi Everyone!

The trend toward sustainable events is gaining momentum as we roll into 2024! Reduce, reuse and recycle are familiar mantras, and companies are now getting more creative with sustainability being top of mind. This is the year we shout, “Go Green!”

There are some ways that are sweeping events in an attempt to green-ify the industry. It starts with selecting a venue that also has a focus on green initiatives. Then choosing a more central location to shorten everyone’s trip will cut down on transportation emissions (hint: Chicago is a very central location with a robust public transportation network). Also, choosing eco-friendly swag will encourage all attendees to continue their sustainability efforts long after the event’s over.

Our team at CEI embraces this initiative and is offering NEW team building activities that promote a greener lifestyle and actively give back to the planet and our global community. Check out some of our programs below that can be customized to your event. We look forward to making a greener, more sustainable 2024 with you!

Go Green!


Welcome to the Clean Water Challenge, an immersive team-building experience that fosters camaraderie while creating a global impact.

Through a series of dynamic and interactive activities, teams learn about the mechanics of water filtration, gaining an appreciation for the vital role of clean water in sustaining life.

Experience the thrill of The Green Team Challenge, where teams delve into exhilarating eco-challenges that go beyond the usual ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ approach. Teams engage in a series of unique green-focused trivia and tasks right in the meeting room. They earn valuable points and bragging rights on the way to being crowned Champions of Sustainability.

Bring your team together to make an impact with Creating a Buzz, an exciting team-building event with meaningful sustainability impact. Explore the world of bees and their vital role in our ecosystem through ecological trivia questions and buzz-worthy challenges.


  1. Invest in live office plants, not only do they add literal green, they also recycle all of the CO2 in the building into fresh oxygen.
  2. Promote the use of reusable water bottles and coffee/tea mugs.
  3. Limit the need for printed materials, opting instead for document sharing platforms like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.
  4. Turn off the lights and other non-essential equipment during off hours to conserve energy.
  5. Support a hybrid working environment to cut down on the amount of travel your employees need to make into/out of the office.
  6. Have fresh filtered water bottle fillers (not the old jugs). Bonus points: add a machine like Bevi to cut down on all those LaCroix cans.
  7. Check out an organization like Circularly to find ways that you can be a part of a circular economy and promote better corporate sustainability.


Sustainability in Chicago

Chicago is a leader of innovative environmental initiatives, and sustainability is a key focus of its policies. Chicago is integrating sustainability in the places residents work, live, learn, and play while preparing for a resilient future.
Contact CEI today to see how we can craft a custom sustainable event for your team!

The Opportunity of a Hybrid Model

“Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.”

– George Penn, Managing Vice President, Gartner
black and white image of a bearded man with a handlebar mustache sitting at a desk in an open office environment, he is laughing and has a strip of paper with "be happy" taped to his forehead, his computer screen shows some angled designs with various style and texture photos pieced together.

As companies try to bring more of the workforce back into the office, they are being confronted with differing hybrid vs full return to office models and reports from the experts, not to mention employees who are reporting higher levels of stress and varying rates of engagement. There’s no doubt that the effects of the pandemic and how it shifted societal views are being felt the world over. Now the question is becoming “Can we return to the way things used to be?” Or rather, “Should we be trying to?”

In June, Gallup released its State of the Global Workplace report, which states that 44% of the 122,000 employees it surveyed felt “a lot of” stress. These feelings of stress led to 51% of employees actively or passively looking for a new job. That rate of turnover is extremely detrimental to a company on every front. Between the hours needed to onboard new team members and the culture shift that happens with each new departure/arrival, progress and efficiency slow, which only leads to a rise in stress and frustrations.

So what should employers do? Will a sweeping return to office mandate help? Well, not necessarily. Gallup also reports that feeling disengaged has 3.8 times the influence on stress-levels as opposed to work location. It’s less about whether or not an employee is in office versus remote, and more about them feeling adequately utilized and properly cared for as an individual. In fact, when asking the “Quiet Quitters” of the survey, 41% say they would make their current company better with engagement and company culture, especially as it relates to recognition, opportunities to learn, fairer treatment, and clearer goals.

A team pretends to lose a member in a small waterfall.

Now, this all should be viewed as an opportunity. An opportunity to reset. An opportunity to meet your employees where they are. Take the time to understand what their personal and professional goals are, help them connect with their colleagues, and have meaningful interactions with them on a regular basis. Otherwise you risk an increase in burnout and active disengagement. Here’s a few easy ways to go about making those meaningful connections.

1. Have weekly meetings with your employees

Nothing helps build an IRL connection like meaningful conversations. Whether they’re just a weekly check-in or an in-depth progress report, it’s important to make sure you have an understanding of how your employees are doing, beyond simply what they’re doing. Do they want an opportunity to grow in their career? Are they overwhelmed by a certain project? These meetings should be a process of making your employees feel both seen and heard. Find ways that you can help them take that next step in life.

2. Host a networking or team building event with a twist — in-person or remote 

Think outside the wine mixer. The goal of networking and team building events is to make sure that people are fostering new connections in the workplace. CEI has loads of different ideas from game shows to casino nights to charitable events that will bring your whole team closer together and maximize their networking potential.

3. Be mindful of your remote employees

Make sure that every team member feels like they’re a part of the larger community. It is easier to have pop-in conversations when everyone is in the same building, but don’t neglect the talent that chooses to work from home. Make time for them, and actively seek out their input. Have a hybrid event coming up? Try to make it so that remote employees can still connect with their in-person cohorts.


The world has been forced to change a lot over the past few years. Every market and every industry is being presented with these changes. Don’t fear them. Accept these changes for the opportunities that they are. Opportunities to reconnect in new ways, and to build something brand new. 

Team Building = Your Best Investment

With all the questions floating around about what 2023 will bring, wouldn’t it be nice to know that our teams will be more efficient and effective than they were last year? What if there were a way to ensure that this year will be stronger than the last? What’s the one investment that can guarantee returns year in and year out? The answer to everything is simple…

It’s team building!

It has been shown that team building boosts morale and employee buy-in, but 2023 is going to continue to present new challenges and another wave of this, that, or the other thing — how can it benefit the bottom line? Team-building events are guaranteed investments back into your employees, and chances to get them out of the conference room and onto their feet, thinking about issues in new ways, with different people, building interdepartmental trust and letting their hidden abilities shine.

A team building a bike to donate to a local Chicago charity.
A local company putting together bikes to donate to a Chicago charity.

Bringing Remote Workers Together

Coming into 2023 it is hard to deny that remote and hybrid work is here to stay for many companies of all sizes. Outside of manufacturing and the events and entertainment industries, a lot of top-tier talent is pressuring employers for not just a hybrid schedule, but the ability to work from wherever. With more of the workforce working remotely, it is crucial to find new ways of connecting away from the breakroom.

This is where team building thrives. Team-building events are proven to develop positive relationships between employees and lead to a more satisfaction with the work they do. Working with Corporate Event Interactive (CEI), we will create an event that cultivates these relationships and fosters a deeper sense of belonging on your team. This will make for a more positive work environment and sense of community regardless of an employee’s proximity to the office.

Creating Relationships and Building Interdepartmental Bonds

It’s no secret that the foundation of team building is about creating relationships and building bonds. The name of the game is building teams. But those bonds don’t stop at departmental lines. In fact, team-building events can be a great way to help employees see each department and gain a better understanding of their colleagues’ positions. This understanding will help prevent problems, while also giving teams the necessary tools to work through any issues as they arise.

At CEI, we have a lot of programs that bring companies together and help them work interdepartmentally. Beyond resolving conflicts, interdepartmental bonds can generate new perspectives on projects. When employees feel more comfortable with their colleagues, they become more open to their ideas. This openness can lead to greater efficiency company-wide because not only are more innovative ideas being created, but teams are more aware of what each other are doing.

A team of new hires receiving their awards.
The winning team of a new hire orientation event.

Finding New Team Leaders

Team-building tends to show the different roles that employees step into when confronted with challenges. Some will take on any hands-on or physical tasks, while others excel at puzzles. Something to look out for is those leadership qualities that emerge from tasks. It might not be the one completing the task or even the loudest group member, but there will be team members that are better at encouraging their peers and pulling them through when a roadblock becomes all the more challenging. The new setting of a team-building event may give those natural leaders a chance to reveal their abilities that might not be as easily seen in a normal work environment — especially if they’re only ever seen through a Zoom window.

Should Employee A take on a new role? Will they thrive in a group with Employee B? Team-building events are great pressure cookers to help managers identify the strengths and weaknesses of different employees and teams. A better understanding of these attributes will help build more effective teams in the future, as well as assign tasks that will play to an employee’s abilities and better utilize them. When employees feel that they are better utilized, they perform more efficiently and more effectively.

Getting Together To Give Back

Organic teamwork comes most naturally from activities built around collaboration. Collaborative efforts makes employees feel more connected to each other and better supported in their work environment, and nothing builds collaboration quite like a cause. Whether that be a volunteer opportunity or a charitable event, when employees experience and take part in their company’s compassion, they feel a sense of pride in the work they do on a day-to-day basis.

The team at Corporate Event Interactive loves to help companies give back to a variety of causes. We love handcrafting events to meet your company’s needs, while connecting directly to those who will receive your donation. We’ve previously partnered with dozens of charities, clubs, and centers throughout the Chicagoland area. Need help figuring out your next charitable event? Let us help you out.

The CEI team behind a table of donations for a local charity.
We love to help teams give back.

Team Building Trends & Networking News, December 2021

Capture Company Culture
By Linda Whitlock

Hi Everyone,

With so many teams working remotely from home, maintaining company culture has been challenging, to say the least. The days of gathering together for lunch or after work socials are long forgotten (if non-existent). Impromptu outings now resemble meetings where arrangements have to be thought through, planned and scheduled in advance. Any gathering or activity with your team is an opportunity to help encourage better communication practices, build trust and values, and promote moments of joy at work. We all need to feel connected. Team building is one way to develop a strong company culture, providing a sense of community. It could be as simple as sharing stories of favorite childhood memories or recipes. Or, creating a fun and friendly competition between departments. There are many options that can be delivered virtually or in-person. When a team works together to achieve common goals, everyone wins! Individuals, the organization and customers. The benefits of team building go a long way, long after the activity experience ends. Contact us to help build and strengthen your company culture in 2022.
From our CEI team to yours, wishing you all a safe and relaxing holiday season. We look forward to working with you in 2022.
~ Linda

Team Building Trends & Networking News, February 2020

Corporate Social Responsibility: Why & How to Give Back

By Linda Whitlock
Practicing Corporate Social Responsibility is essential for today’s business owners. When companies are aware of the way their business practices affect both their stakeholders and the general public, this practice is valued as corporate citizenship.
Here is the Why:
In today’s media climate, customers, clients and employees are paying more attention to a company’s integrity and culture.Providing CSR opportunities at your event helps to foster a positive corporate image and promotes loyalty both internally, between employees and the company, and externally, between the company and its patronage.
Here is the How:
The following should considered to determine the ideal way to give back at your event.Amount of time you’d like to spend on your eventNumber of participants you’d like to involveDesired location for your eventSpecified budget for your eventSelected cause, corporate alignment, or local need
Facilitate anything from cleaning up a beach or park toparticipating in a combination team-building, care-package event!
Here Is How Your Company Can Execute a Rewarding CSR Event:
Send out pre-event info to your employees to garner excitement. Engage employees physically and mentally with contests that foster friendly competition.Invite a representative from the benefiting charity to speak.End with a photo opp of the team showcasing what they accomplished.Hire a team building company to bring your event to life!

CASE STUDY: Philanthropic Event for Pharmaceutical Company Multi Focus Event for 1,200 people

This pharmaceutical company wanted to provide a meaningful charitable team event for 1,200 attendees during their National Sales Meeting. The event would support the client’s larger overall Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative and annual day of service, benefiting local non-profit organizations in the Las Vegas area where the meeting was taking place.

Company Culture – Five Ideas for Your Team to Give Back

Colleagues Teambuilding & Volunteering
Colleagues Teambuilding & Volunteering

Company culture plays a big role in employee satisfaction and retention. Some companies embrace a work hard, play hard ideology, others embrace giving back to the communities in which they are located. Deloitte, Salesforce, Stryker and others listed in the March 2015 Fortune article by Benjamin Snyder (@WriterSnyder) pay their employees for their time while they give back. Employees are encouraged to get into the community and share their talents. They do good works for others, they can feel good about their achievements and proud of their company for supporting their efforts. This is a triple win!

Top 5 Team Building Themes for Foodies

Food brings people together. Inspire team building by gathering everyone for some fun around a prep table! We encourage friendly competition at our events so teams compete in challenges to win bonus ingredients. Of course taste testing is also a requirement! We hope you get inspired to try some of these mouthwatering activities!