Sometimes people want to organise a secret or surprise event. This can be fun but you need to take care over the type of event that you organise. A Treasure Hunt, for example, will not be a problem for the majority of people. You do need to make sure that people don’t have any recent or recurring injuries if they are walking any distance, but apart from this it is one of the least problematic events.
However, organising a secret high ropes course event is a different matter. People do need to be given warning and an opportunity to consider whether they want to participate and, if necessary, to discretely exclude themselves.
Occasionally there are alpha type managers who take the view that everyone will get on with the challenge and enjoy it. They are not scared, why should anyone else be? Often these situations involve genuine and ingrained fear and occasionally phobias. It is risky to expose people to these situations and, more than that, an organisation would be hard pressed to defend it if it was taken to a tribunal.
There is a lot of evidence that teams who are exposed to great challenge, even life threatening conditions, bond deeply and work very effectively as a team because of their experiences. However there is no evidence to suggest that Doris from accounts will process invoices quicker if you force her to confront a fear of heights that has been with her since she got stuck on a fire escape when she was five years old.
Events which should be considered carefully in this context include anything involving heights, water, speed and guns. If you have any concerns in this area at all there is, these days, a huge choice of team building events that everyone will enjoy without risk and we will be pleased to advise you.