There are people in the workplace who absolutely love team building, and there are also those who, well, don’t. While many companies know that team building is something that they should do for their team, many don’t know the best approach. Effective team building is more than just buying a ping pong table for your breakroom and organizing team happy hours (though we think those are great, too). Effective team building includes facilitating activities to help your team connect and play together around a shared purpose. Team building can have a profound effect on your team. In fact, according to a 2016 article from Forbes.com, “team building is the most important investment you can make for your people.”
Your team is the backbone of your company, and keeping them happy is good for productivity and, at the end of the day, your bottom line. According to a study at the University of Warwick, happy employees can lead to a 12% increase in productivity, while unhappy team members show a decrease in productivity by 10%. In addition, if you\’re calculating the dollar figures, it is startling to see what unhappy employees can “cost” your company. While team building alone isn’t going to create happy employees, when combined with other things – creating an environment of growth and respect, creating opportunities to collaborate on exciting projects, celebrating accomplishments and milestones – employees will be happier, be more invested in their work, and stick around longer.
Employers and managers investing in any team building is valuable, and it is important to think about building in diverse opportunities for teams to connect. We believe that effective team building involves opportunities for people to get together and play. In order to have truly effective team building that ultimately shows positive results to the bottom line, it should include these things:
Opportunities to showcase diverse skills and hidden talents. Being able to see how other people work can create a stronger team dynamic. When we can see how other people work (even while playing), it helps us collaborate better on future work-related projects. Learning how others work can increase productivity, because teams can work more efficiently when they understand each other’s strengths and areas of opportunities.
Creative problem solving. Solving non-work related problems through play-based team building activities can allow employees to learn necessary skills together that can transfer to work. One incredible benefit of team building is the permission to be creative. There aren’t as many perceived parameters, and employees can really flex their creative muscle in preparation for work.
Some friendly competition. Not all team building has to include some competition, but it is a fast way to build team rapport and have a shared experience (like winning!). Team competition inherently requires collaboration, communication, strategy, and problem solving. These competitive team experiences can lead to more collaboration at work.
Laughter! This one is hard to manifest, but one of the fastest ways to induce laughter is through play. Play helps us turn off our self-awareness and be in the moment, which typically leads to laughter. Science tells us that laughter decreases stress by producing endorphins, burns calories, lowers blood pressure, increases happiness, and many more incredible benefits. If teams are laughing together, they are happier at work, and if they are happy at work, you see benefits to your bottom line.
When it comes to team building, something is better than nothing. Investing in your team is worth it. We firmly believe that building company culture with play should be a ritual, so it occurs regularly and your team knows that you value their happiness as much as their productivity.
Do you want to bring fun and purposeful activities to your workplace but aren’t sure how to find good ones and make them meaningful? Our newest crate, ConnectionCrate, sends activities to your office or home office designed specifically for socially distant and virtual teams to #startplayingatwork.
Now… go PLAY!