Employee engagement, as motivational speaker and Life by Design founder Ian Hutchinson once said, "is an investment we make for the privilege of staying in business." So, when morale seems to be low at the office, a surefire way to bring energy back is by showing a level of appreciation and engagement your employees can't get around the water cooler.

According to Gallup, 51 percent of the American workforce is not engaged. And despite what you might feel about a few employees being bumps on a log, disconnected employees cost companies between $450 and $500 billion each year.

While those statistics may be scary, there's plenty of good news to counteract them. As you might have guessed, there is a direct correlation between employee happiness and engagement. Companies that have happy employees outperform their competitors by 20 percent, and contented salespeople rack up 37 percent greater sales. Happy employees are 12 percent more productive and, on average, take 10 times fewer sick days.

Raising your team's spirits offers a slew of benefits, including better collaboration, communication, creativity, and performance. To that end, here are eight different activities your employees will enjoy more than another round of "two truths and a lie":

1. Hop over to a trampoline park. 

Remember the trampoline your neighbors had in their backyard? Imagine a whole room full of them. Trampoline parks are popping up across the country, and places like Rockin' Jump are offering packages for all types of groups, including corporate teams. Rockin' Jump also offers food and beverage in its packages and can accommodate groups ranging from 15 up to 300.

2. Try your hand at a ropes course. 

Ropes courses can encourage both personal and group growth and provide a day of outdoor or indoor fun. Offering both low and high ropes options, international ropes course company Ropes Course, Inc. can serve as a jumping-off point for finding the best activities for your team.

3. Look into an adult retreat. 

Retreats are relaxing, impactful, and truly a special way to get to know your employees. Websites like Unique Venues can help you find retreat centers or other venues in your area that will provide the perfect environment for team building and bonding.

4. Break out of an escape room.

There's nothing like a time limit to bring out people's competitive side. A breakout room is a great way to test your team's knowledge and coordinated problem-solving skills, while building camaraderie among people who might not interact otherwise. Local establishments or chains like Room Escape Adventures are ideal for groups who need to blow off a little steam through some old-fashioned, healthy competition.

5. Visit an arcade for grownups. 

Over the past few years, arcades for grownups have become exceedingly popular. What separates today's arcades from those of our youth is that most new arcades have bars and, in some cases, a full-service menu. Let your employees enjoy a pint over pinball at a local adult arcade or a franchise like Dave & Buster's, which offers packages for corporate events.

6. Add wine to your paint night. 

Research has shown that wine makes you more creative -- not that you needed the excuse in the first place. Businesses like Wine & Design (which you may have seen on "Shark Tank") allow you to sip while you sketch, shade, and paint your way to a memorable evening out after work. If you can't find a franchise near you, remember that many painting studios offer wine nights at some point or other, because they, too, know that bottles and brushes make a powerful duo.

7. Tour your home city. 

Every city has its highlights, so take your gang and discover them. Kansas City has its barbecue, San Francisco has its trolleys, and Buffalo has Niagara Falls. Check out what makes your city great, and you'll be surprised how often even the locals haven't taken part in their own city's traditions.

8. Volunteer with the entire office. 

A day spent volunteering can give your team as much as you give to others. Not only will you be doing some good on your day outside the office, but you'll also be getting some great PR for your company. Plenty of sites can match you to a volunteer opportunity that fits your company's interests, or you can ask your employees about spending a day where they already volunteer.

Any one of these activities will undoubtedly make for great memories. But more importantly, you will be fostering a better, happier office where people will actually want to come to work -- something that will help grow your business and your bottom line.

Published on: Feb 2, 2018