Teams are hugely important in modern office life and team building exercises – whether a day in the countryside or an afternoon of office games – can provide a fun and interesting way of creating a team atmosphere in your firm.
Why is team building important?
A study by Queens University of Charlotte found 75% of employers rate team work and collaboration as ‘very important’.
And while they may sound clichéd and dated, team building exercises are becoming ever more important in a world where remote working, flexible hours and video conferencing are increasingly common, leading to a dispersed workforce.
Whether they admit it or not, your employees and you are a team. You’re all working towards a common goal, so helping each other along the way is vital.
During team building exercises, everyone is on a level playing field; coming together as a team. This can easily be applied to business life – bosses can help new starters and vice versa.
Get people talking
During the working day, people are busy which leaves little time for chit chat. The beauty of the team building day is that it gives people the chance to better get to know one another.
A more social office tends to be a happier one. In fact, engaged offices are twice as productive with employees less likely to leave, claims Office Vibe.
If people enjoy coming to work, they are more likely to work harder. The University of Warwick found that happy workers are 21% more productive than unhappy workers. By creating a better team environment, people’s colleagues could become friends.
Spot strengths and weaknesses
As a boss, you will be able to see who your natural leaders are, who works well in a group and who can apply logical thinking to the task at hand. You can then switch teams about to see who works well together and what everyone’s skills are.
Ways to improve your team
You can use these techniques during team building exercises and in everyday work.
Take breaks together
Getting people to take breaks together improves productivity, a study by MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory found. It allows them to become friendlier with each other. When applied to real world situations, MIT saw productivity increase by 20%.
During team building exercises, stagger the breaks so people on a task together can break together. It has been found that during the group breaks employees also discuss the task at hand, leading to a faster completion rate.
Get an even spread
We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and while some of us flourish in group situations, others prefer to work by ourselves. One way to improve a team is to get everyone talking a little and to each other.
While having a team leader is great, conversation should flow between all members of the team freely, not just through the leader. The leader should be there to move the discussion among the team.
Find good leaders
A good leader is not someone who dominates a group but who lets it work to its fullest potential. They should be able to spot who is doing well and who is struggling and adjust the group dynamic to reflect this.
This could mean changing up the groups, moving focus to the quieter members of the team or simply providing a different task that better reflects the whole teams’ abilities.
Keep energy high
High energy teams perform better than low energy teams. While this won’t come as surprise, controlling energy in a group is trickier.
Throughout the team building day, switch tasks regularly to test different parts of the teams’ abilities. If you’ve got a hands-on physical task, follow it up with a more mental project.
If you see people starting to flag, it’s time to take a break. Let them re-group, get some food and a drink and come back. But the best way to keep energy up is to break before the slump, but without breaking the natural flow.
Posted by Ashleigh Sharp