What are you actually paying for when you book a corporate team building activity? It’s a question which has become much more important over the past year or so; the cost of virtual team building is considerably less than for face-to-face events (for various reasons which we discuss in our blog here) but just because they are delivered from the comfort of our office doesn’t mean that they don’t share many of the costs involved for our live events.
Let’s be honest – businesses ultimately need to make a profit; it’s kind of the point. Even though we generally choose a career that we love, and will work for the fulfillment it brings us, we still do it partly so that we can pay our mortgages and feed ourselves.
So, we thought it would be useful to have a little run down of the costs involved in running a corporate team building event, both virtual and face to face (and the obvious benefits to the team taking part) to prove that we don’t just pick a figure out of thin air!
Things you can see
When you take part in one of our events you’ll be physically aware of one particular thing; a group of actors facilitating a murder mystery. There may be two of them on a Zoom call, or there may be 6 of them working a room of 60 people, but it’s this, along with various props and costumes that you, as the client, see first hand.
Equity has a minimum weekly wage for its members and a rough working out of an hourly equivalent would be around £20. Do I pay my actors more than £20 to run an hour long event on Zoom? Yes! Because not only are they working for that hour, they will also have put in the time to go over their part previously and feed back and evaluate afterwards, not to mention any necessary rehearsals with the rest of the team. Particularly in the case of face to face events the actual activity may take 2 or 3 hours, but for an actor that’s their whole day gone; they’ve committed to me and may be turning down other work as a result.
Not only that, but I have a fantastic team of actors; I’m paying for the trust I have in them to deliver exactly what the client wants and needs. Interaction is key, and without actors/facilitators, it simply can’t happen.
Things you don’t see but which are tangible
Of course there are all the usual overheads of any small business (office space, broadband, stationery etc) and if we’re delivering live events we have to take into account how we’ll get there (fuel, subsistence, wear and tear on cars). One of the elements which we’re particularly proud is the use of web based clues for both our virtual and face to face events. Therefore domain names, web hosting and design all feature heavily; there’s a surprising amount of time, effort and money involved in setting up numerous websites with relevant, dynamic content.
For virtual events, we use Zoom (other services are available!). We’ll often need two or more accounts on the go with several licensed users to allow us to present multiple events at once. We don’t want to be turning down bookings just because we’re cutting costs on overheads such as this!
Things you can’t see
What exactly is it that the actors are facilitating? Fundamentally, it’s a murder mystery story, but it’s so much more than that. Each activity is scripted from scratch to not only provide a clear and intriguing plot, but also to make sure it contains all of the elements required for effective team development.
How long shall we spend at the crime scene? What percentage of time should we spend in breakout rooms vs the main room? Will this particular clue allow for open discussion in the groups and at which point should it be revealed? How can we ensure that everyone gets their say during breakout sessions? Is the plot appropriate and relevant for the group activities it’s been designed for?
These are just a very few of the questions we ask ourselves when creating content, and so charging for the time it takes to write the material for a team building activity is crucial, not least because of the 17+ years experience which go into creating them. It’s the element which is least visible, but most fundamental.
So back to the initial question;
How much does it cost?
Over the past few years we’ve come to learn that an unrealistically small budget = less interaction. The time it takes to write an event doesn’t really change; the number of actors required does, and that’s where the costs go up and down. So as a ballpark figure; a team of 10 taking part in a 60 minute online event with 2 actors would expect to pay around £275 (equating to £27.50 per head). A 3-hour face to face event with 6 actors will cost around £2,000 (for a team of 50, that’s £40 per head). To put it in perspective, you’d probably pay somewhere around that price per head to take your team out for a decent meal.
Is it worth it?
Worth doesn’t necessarily equate to money, so it’s all very well finding an activity which fits in your budget, but what is the real benefit to you and your team? We can talk for hours about that one, but for now we’ll refer to a recent testimonial:
“A great event run by Teams Unpuzzled. Helen and her team work well together to make the event fun, informative and a opportunity for us to understand more about one another as a group. A professionally run event that helped our team to identify some practical ways to work more collaboratively. A different take on the usual corporate team building activities with a strong focus on ensuring that we took away some valuable insights”