We spend more on Team Building than HR

Malvah Studio
3 min readNov 29, 2021

“Team building is the best investment you’ll make” — Forbes

Every year we spend a significant budget on team building activities. This includes monthly team outings (we play golf, we drive segways, we paint mugs, we visit the shooting range), team lunches every odd Friday and an end of year team weekend away.

Team Weekend away in Langebaan, South Africa

This may sound like an excessive amount of time and money spent on hanging out together. I mean, it’s not like we have over 50 employees and need to make space for everyone to get to know the broader team. There are 5 of us. We know each other pretty well.

Segway tour of the vineyards at Spier, Stellenbosch

For instance, we notice if Tim hasn’t had his morning coffee from the café downstairs, we know Takealot orders arriving at the office are probably for Carli, unless it’s pool accessories for Ty’s brand new pool. We know how many Tinder dates Kallia has been on this week and how many of them Lané stole her phone and swiped on.

Ty doing Kallia’s hair at a themed team photoshoot.

During the National Lockdown that resulted from the Covid 19 Pandemic, we took our team building activities online. We set themes, got dressed up, played games, did quizzes and just spent some time socialising together, apart. If you ask us it made a big difference in breaking through the sense of isolation that permanently working remotely introduced. We have work chat groups where we share updates and memes throughout the day. But online team building activities helped us boost face to face bonding so we could conserve our team culture while we were all separated for a couple of months.

Online team building, theme ‘starts with the letter m’. From top left, Ty — Mexican, top right Tim — Margate, bottom left Carli — Malvah Logo, bottom right Kallia — Marshmallow.

According to The Harvard Business Review, team building is an important contributor to overall workplace culture. We have always been very invested in creating a good workplace culture. Employees are guided by the culture in a working environment, “it tells (them) whether to risk telling (their) bosses about (their) new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems.” We want to foster a culture of trust, openness and loyalty at Studio Malvah and team building activities help us break down barriers that may have prevented this culture from being established.

Teams who drink together, stay together.

The sense of camaraderie, community and even ‘friendship’ that exists between us as a result means we can be better team members and co-workers for one another. We spend 40+ hours a week together, we prefer to enjoy each others company and spending time outside of the office helps us build connections that go beyond asking for the Figma password.

Ty at our trip to the shooting range, he was oddly a natural.

Now that we’re back in the office semi-permanently, it’s time to plan our end of year function. This year we booked an Airbnb on the West Coast. We plan to braai, play ping pong, swim, crack a few bezzas and celebrate the end of another year and the start of the next as a team.

Team photoshoot

We’re a pretty fun group (at least we think so). If you’d like to get to know our team and possibly collaborate on a project. Drop us a line ✉️



Malvah Studio

We're a small Cape Town based design studio born through passion and fixated on progress. We create unique brand experiences on screen and on paper.