Team Building Frequently Asked Questions
Are you suitable for me? I want something…
… held abroad.
Why don't you…
What should I …
… do next?
Ah, but there's the problem. Ask 10 different people what their idea of fun is and you might just get 10 different answers. If you're not careful, you end up with something that one third of your group will love, one third don't mind doing and the remaining third view as their very idea of hell. The vast majority of our options are what we call "all inclusive", by which we mean there is something in there for everyone to enjoy. We send everyone away having had fun – not just those who happen to like the one kind of activity on offer.
But surely that is a forlorn hope? Doesn't everyone groan when they hear they are doing some more team building? Doesn't everyone moan after it "that was a waste of time"? Not with our options. Our background is in learning and development and all of our options are designed to mix participant enjoyment with real team learning for those clients who want it. Not all do – but even those who choose our options for their pure fun content appreciate the parallels back to the workplace that is a key mark of all of our events. Our activities offer a spread of learning potential – from those that are best handled by a 5 minute summary at the end of an event to those that utilise our comprehensive and powerful structured debriefing process that can literally take days. It all depends just how much learning you want!
If there's one thing that really makes us stand out from the crowd it is the fact that our activities are different to the norm. All of our team building activities are, well, our own. We designed them, we developed them, we deliver them. Our options are only available from us and our internationally-based partners . And you can forget anything you think you know about team building options. Ours are very, very different to the norm and always a great hit. For example, unless you've been fortunate enough to have been on one of our Wild West events before, the only people in your team who could claim to have any kind of experience that comes close will be over 120 years old, American and were part of the Klondike gold rush!
Probably shouldn't be thinking of holding it in the UK then, huh? Wait a moment! We have a large selection of options that can take advantage of good weather and nice grounds, when both are available, yet be held indoors without detriment to the experience in the event that the weather doesn't hold or the venue's grounds are non-existent or unavailable on the day. These events really do offer you the best of both worlds!
We just don't do options that people sit out of. As we have written elsewhere above, the vast majority of our options are what we call "all inclusive", by which we mean there is something in there for everyone to enjoy. There really is no excuse for anyone to sit out of a Sandstone team building event. And they are all just too engaging for anyone to want to look for an excuse anyway!
Then you have come to the right place. We understand that agendae (ah, the benefits of a classical education!) can overrun, underrun, get ripped apart and stuck back together with sticky tape on a regular basis at any team away day, let alone a full blown conference. You need someone who can start early, start late, finish early, fill in for a missing speaker, make the tea, slice the pizza, deal with the jackhammer next door – and so on. We've done every one of those things for clients. Flexible? Oh yes.
We often have people ask us "can you offer anything for our group – there's only 4 or 5 of us?" We hear the resigned tone they adopt – an "I've been told too many times already that team building is only for larger groups than mine" depressed kind of sound. So they are delighted when we answer "The smallest we cater for are groups of 3". And so, now, are you.
We know that most team activities have a realistic limit of about 50 to 60 people. Beyond that and they start to resemble playing crazy golf on a busy August day at the seaside – you are always waiting for the groups in front to have their go first. One of the reasons for our success has, without doubt, been the fact that all of our options are completely scaleable. We use technology to efficiently and effectively deliver team building events to even the largest of groups. We frequently have groups of over 250 people and the largest group we have worked with is 750 – and that is only until someone wants us to work with a larger group still. Large conferences, huge away days – you name it, we can help.
Perhaps you are looking to have something fun, energising and maybe even thought provoking within an otherwise busy agenda. Or perhaps you just want something to fill a gap. We have some options such as Attributes, MiniTreasure and Marbility specifically designed to fill gaps as short as 15 minutes and up to 3 hours. Whereupon our larger options take over of course.
Sounds like the title of a song! Clients ask us to run events lasting for perhaps an evening and a day, 2 full days or longer. Anything lasting over a day needs to not only engage people at the start, it needs to keep their attention throughout. And usually, deliver things of value to individuals, the team and the organisation. Those are key strengths of many of our activities. We're happy to explain further, of course.
All of our options are completely mobile. We go pretty well anywhere – you can see where we have worked recently on a zoomable map here. We're happy to run events on a client's site. More commonly, we do so at third party venues such as hotels and conference centres. And we can utilise unusual venues as well. We've even run an event in a dirty, disused foundry! Believe it or not, it really fitted the client's requirements!! In the UK, we've followed the four winds and run in Aberdeen in the north, Southampton in the south, Plymouth in the West and Norwich in the east. Overseas, we've worked in most European countries, the United States, Malaysia… we could go on. Hey, we've even worked in the middle of the Sahara desert! If we can do that, you're going to be hard pressed to find somewhere we can't help you with.
Ah, finally, a tricky one. It depends why you want that. Most of our options can take advantage of good weather and happen mostly outdoors (though all of our activities can retreat indoors without spoiling anything if the weather is unkind on the day). So if everything else is right about what we offer you, we're a great choice. If you want it because you want something physically challenging in the great outdoors, we're probably not your best option. We'd ask you to consider why you think you want that, though. In our experience, groups that choose such options usually end up splitting a team rather than building it and without much in the way of compensating benefits. Why? Events that need the great outdoors are usually chosen by one or a few people who really fancy it and impose it on those who would prefer to go to the dentist than hang off a cliff or skin a rabbit. Cliques develop for and against doing things in the great outdoors and team harmony may take some time to recover from that. Also, teams that work indoors often find it difficult to relate a 'great outdoors' event to their working reality – so learning is minimal at best.
We have considerable experience dealing with multinational groups, often from diverse cultures and sometimes without English as a shared, common language. Whether your group is UK based or flying in to your chosen venue from all corners of the world, you'd be hard pressed to offer us a challenge we haven't seen – and delivered successfully against – before. Many of our activities are available in different languages and with the help of our international partners and enough notice, we can usually offer a facilitation team with specific language skills within it to ensure a smooth and successful event.
All of our activities are completely accessible. We are able to provide Braille copies of our briefing packs and Signing for our presenters. While some of our larger activities such as Cube may contain one or more elements unsuitable for those who have a physical disability, for every such element there are at least 10 more that are completely suitable. None of our elements in any of our activities are compulsory and all participants irrespective of their fitness levels, disabilities, length of hair or any other characteristic are free to choose what they wish to have a go at and which they would prefer to skip. We always check for any individual disabilities within a group ahead of an event and make all possible accommodations to limit any discomfort or disadvantage. For example, at a recent Cube event, one prospective participant had a form of dyslexia that was alleviated by printing onto paper a particular shade of pink. If we know about something, we can handle it. We are always keen to ensure everyone joins in as much as they wish to.
Great! May we suggest Bermuda, say the last two weeks in August? When we say our options are all fully mobile, we really do mean it. Our unique events have run for groups large and small on every continent except Antarctica. And even there we can claim a close association having run a team building event for a group as part of its preparation to living and working there for a prolonged period! Our international partners run our options in their own territories (including the US, Portugal and Spain) to our demanding standards. We handle everything else from the UK – Malaysia, Algeria, Norway, Sweden, France, Ireland and Belgium spring to mind as just a few of the countries we have run events in.
No problem. Did you expect there to be one?
Now the most likely reason that you ask that is the fact that the majority of team building options out there are competitive. And of those that are more collaborative in nature, they are either pretty one-dimensional, unexciting or both. We have some of the most innovative and successful collaborative activities ever created. Designed to be collaborative and put over a "one team" approach, our flagship offering is Cube. For smaller groups, we have no shortage of collaborative options either. If you want a "one team" event, we've surely got to be on your shortlist.
Welcome to the majority. A very large number of our clients appreciate our help and guidance – not only in selecting the right activity, but also in defining what the event needs to target in the first place. Whether you have a good idea of what you are looking for from your event or are just starting to research the options with a completely blank page, we're here to help.
Yes. And honest. And ethical. Is there really anything we could say here that you'd believe? We know you want to believe us, but fortunately we have as many references as you need to help put your mind at rest.
Of course. We carry full £5 million public liability insurance on all of our events worldwide. We're happy to provide documentary evidence to any client that requires it.
Only during a Wild West event. The rest of the time, the fact that we have been around since 1992 and have a client list that impresses even us suggests we are professionals determined to stay at the very top of our industry and we're well capable of doing so. But thanks for asking.
Now we know you are only asking that because most of the companies that claim to offer team building are not team building companies but event organisers who buy in lead facilitators and often equipment too. Middlemen in other words. Don't get us wrong, we think middlemen who add value by bringing everything together offer a valuable service. But middlemen who only find a real team building company and add no value but just inflate the final bill kind of irritate us. They also make it hard for real prospective clients to tell a good offering apart from a poor one. All of our activities are designed, developed and run by us. When you buy Sandstone, you get Sandstone. This is what we do.
Yes, but only those who add real value to the offering. No offence, but there are so many event management companies out there and so few offer a really professional service that really makes a difference to the end client. We're picky, but if you are an event management company (and why else would this FAQ interest you?) you can try us. We know we won't let your reputation down. We just want to be sure you won't let ours down.
Yes. We work with many charities and are pleased to support worthy causes. Ask us about it. We promise not to bite.
Yes. We we’ll create a proposal with at least 3 options where possible within the geographic location and indicated budget if provided. It will also take into account any preferences for type of venue. Each option given will be suitable for running the activity we are proposing. That said, the majority of our clients usually know or have a good idea where they would prefer to go and we are happy with that also. Our requirements of a venue are generally not demanding and very few venues are unable to accommodate us.
You could do far worse than print out our detailed brief form. It lists just about everything you should be thinking about. In fact, why not complete it online and send it to us? Then we can help!
Because we are a team building company. Hey, nothing against those things. People who love them really love them. We know that. We are happy to arrange them for clients who are running with one of our main options and want to offer an optional, more traditional outdoorsy option for their people. But, sorry, we just don't think they offer anything in the way of team building. Worse, they can split a team rather than build it. What? Why? Well, developing an effective team is about harnessing the differences within the team so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Within any team of a reasonable size, about a third of the people love that kind of thing, another third don't mind doing it if it makes the first third happy, but for the remaining third it is their very idea of hell. Unless you are very careful, cliques and resentments get created, transferred back to the workplace and down goes a team's effectiveness. Our "stuff" is inclusive and is designed to offer real opportunities for teams to learn from them, improving their lot back in the workplace. That's who we are.
There are just too many variables. Our options are priced differently depending on the different equipment and numbers of people we need to run them. The number of participants is a big influence. The location, the duration of the event, the options you want – we could go on. Hence we don't. Our prices are not closely guarded secrets – give us enough information about your requirement and we'll gladly give you an accurate figure that we'll commit to very quickly indeed. That said, we have two options that are run completely online and we do show prices for them on our specialist web-based activities site.
We're a successful company and very proud of what we do. We have a fabulous, settled and professional team and only rarely need to add to it. Our goal is not to grow like topsy and risk the reputation we have worked hard to earn. We work really strange hours and there are no barriers to what every team member gets involved with. If none of that puts you off, contact us. Maybe we will offer you a job.
Well, contact us – please!!! Call us on 01158 715690, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, complete our web form, complete our detailed brief form – we really don't mind. Just don't forget to do at least one of them!
We're tempted to say a wet suit and flippers. But that wouldn't be true. Comfortable clothes and sensible shoes are our most usual combination. Some events require something a bit more formal for other parts of the agenda, but most clients allow participants time to change for our bit before we start. Anything more specific than that will be communicated to you in plenty of time – and usually not to do with the team building part of the event.
Nothing. Really. We are very good at what we do.