City Cruises

10 minutes with Alex Stanley, founder of Onigo – the team who make team-building fun


PA Life talked to Alex Stanley, the founder of Onigo. His team of experts make team-building fun by creating experiences that bring colleagues closer together in a playful environment to boost wellbeing and happiness. Alex wanted to provide a service to businesses that helps them bring their people together and forge meaningful connection in a fun and different way.

Alex has a wealth of experience of designing and delivering large scale outdoor events, ranging from 5km fun runs to team-building challenges. He understands the power of bringing people together and the importance of human connection perhaps better than most of us thanks to his own experiences of feeling isolated and disconnected in the past.

Let’s start with why businesses need to invest in team-building?

72% of global workers say they experience loneliness monthly; with 55 percent saying weekly. 94 percent of leaders say that their teams are growing lonelier while working remotely. Lonely workers are seven times less likely to be engaged at work. They are five times more likely to miss work due to stress or illness. And, twice as often to think about leaving their employer.

This is why team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It increases social connection and sense of belonging in the workplace. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building decreases workplace loneliness whilst increasing workers’ health, engagement, performance, and loyalty. It means better employee engagement, better company culture and ultimately, a better bottom line.

And fortunately, the best team activities are fun, engaging and without the cringe!

How do you make team-building fun for everyone considering the diverse needs and likes of participants?

We know that every combination of people is unique, so we craft each experience with inclusivity in mind. By considering every detail, from the ideal group size to event duration and difficulty level, all the way through to the themes and content of the puzzles, we ensure our games can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone. And whether it’s an online escape room or a in-person CSI game, the only way to succeed is to work as a team by harnessing each individual team members’ individual skills as a collective force to achieve a single goal; ensuring everyone contributes and is fully involved.

What’s unique about Onigo?

Onigo is unique in three ways:

1.Firstly, all our team building games are designed and delivered by our own team – we don’t use any third-party suppliers and all our content is original.

2. Secondly, we are cringe free – no more tired trust exercises or naff activities – all games are interactive, engaging and exciting.

3. Finally – each of our games is carefully designed to create meaningful team bonds. A lot of activities are labelled as team building but don’t contain some of the key ingredients required to deliver the desired outcome such as challenge, collaboration and achieving a shared goal.

What help do you offer PAs and EAs planning team-building events?

From the way our games are designed and delivered to our easy booking process and superstar hosts, our goal is to create a hassle-free experience for the booker. Simply put – we provide a personal service, taking care of the heavy lifting, so they can just show up and play. We are proud to be rated 4.9/5 on Trustpilot from over 200 reviews and our happy clients include Microsoft, Google, American Express, Sage, Disney, HSBC and Unilever.

Can you work with any size team and multiple teams on the same day?

Our events cater for groups of 4 to 300 people. The group is divided into teams of 4 – 8 people which is the optimum size of team to get the best results. Games typically last between 60 and 90 minutes and we can run multiple sessions throughout the day to fit a client’s needs.

What are you planning for this summer? Any new offerings for PAs and EAs to know about?

We have just launched a brand new type of team building activity for this summer! It incorporates pioneering game design and is played using the new Onigo GPS app. These new outdoor adventure games combine clever twists and cryptic puzzles with advanced gamification techniques to motivate engagement and maximise the fun.

We have two themes to choose from – a murder mystery challenge or a Da Vinci code treasure hunt.

Groups meet their Gamemaster on-site, play in small teams and take on a puzzle-fuelled challenge in the great outdoors! Both games are available in Hyde Park, London, with further venues to be announced.

Can you share an example of an amazing Onigo team-building day?

Last summer we ran a team-building day for Numis bank, organised by one of their Executive Assistants. Being a busy team, they wanted an activity delivered in their office which didn’t require being away from the desk for too long. The participants were able to choose when during the day they could take part in order to fit it around their work schedule.

In response to this, we proposed our spy-themed table-top escape game. This fully mobile experience can be delivered at any venue and teams interact with physical props, gadgets, codes, cyphers – all in a race to see which team can crack the secret code the quickest.

Participants signed up to one of the three 75 min sessions, each facilitated by 2 of our Game Hosts, and we created an overall leader-board based on finish times. The event culminated with drinks and prize giving in the office’s event space at the end of the day. The event was a huge success – received great feedback from participants, a 5* review and the client has booked in again for this summer!

More information about Onigo and their team-building experiences can be found here.

We are pleased to have Onigo as a Recommended Supplier.