How efficient is your workplace? Too often, employers assess productivity by looking at the performance of individuals, when what really makes a different is how those individuals come together as a team. Good teamwork is the secret behind the success of leading companies like Ford and Google, and if you want to enjoy similar success, you’ll need to find ways of encouraging your staff to think of themselves as a united group. The following approaches can help.
Could your staff benefit from learning new work-related or interpersonal skills? Research has shown that employees really value training and that it increases their loyalty to their employers. Done right, it can also help them bond with each other. Workers engage with training more easily when there’s an element of fun involved, and many trainers now use exercises designed for pairs or small groups, which livens up the experience and helps learners achieve a deeper understanding of the material. Having to help each other in this context encourages the development of a collaborative rather than purely competitive attitude, and training also gives your employees a shared experience to discuss beyond work itself.
People connect with each other better when they have a shared passion, so why not find a charity project your employees can get involved in? It’s a great way for your company to put something back into the community and it can boost your reputation. You could hold an office bake sale, so everyone can enjoy some tasty food while raising money, have fun by taking part in a sponsored event together, or raise money through a game or quiz. Often companies partner with charities over the long term and do regular fundraisers for them. The sense of achievement that brings can really help your workers feel good about the time they spend together.
Fun and games
All work and no play makes for a dull office, so a bit of time devoted to fun and games can actually make your staff more productive, and it really helps with team bonding. It can be as simple as playing the lottery together. It’s easy now to make a purchase online securely and you can check the Powerball lottery ticket winning numbers together, sharing the excitement and splitting the money you win. You can also try introducing an element of gamification into work that’s designed to encourage collaboration, so that teams getting the best results win fun prizes. When big bonuses are at stake, workers can find this stressful, but smaller, sillier prizes keep the focus on the enjoyment of the game.
Often seen as the ultimate bonding exercise, day trips can be expensive, but if chosen wisely they really pay back in terms of team bonding and the gains that stem from that. The key to success is to make sure you pick things that everyone can take part in (accounting for factors like disability or religious issues) and to hold the days in work time, so employees feel they’re really getting a treat instead of losing time off that they had other plans for. The trips could be as simple as a picnic in the park or a game of laser tag, or as exciting as a day spent racing quad bikes or learning how to parachute. Choosing activities in which participants feel they need to rely on each other is really helpful, but just spending time together in a relaxed situation gives people the chance to get to know each other in ways they won’t when at work.
Work day treats
You can also make your staff very happy by making the office a more pleasant place to be day to day. It’s been demonstrated that a positive office environment can significantly boost productivity, but that’s not just about water coolers, comfy seats and natural light. It can also be about buying everyone pizza on a Friday afternoon, letting people wear what they feel comfortable in or holding birthday celebrations for staff members. Get your workers involved in choosing how they’d like to spend office downtime together and use the opportunity to start conversations that get everyone involved.
Creating a more positive workplace atmosphere helps employees set aside the stressful side of work and learn to feel comfortable together. That, in turn, makes them more willing to ask one another for favors, to offer their assistance when somebody is struggling with a task, and to admit when they need help. These are the things that help a team work efficiently, and they could make all the difference to your business.