Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: Investing In Teams

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated February 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Most people have heard the phrase “teamwork makes the dream work,” and there’s a reason it’s so commonly used in the workplace. Building effective teams in your workplace can greatly improve your company’s performance.

Studies show that companies that invest in team-building enjoy higher productivity, greater profits, and better customer satisfaction.

Although there are costs involved, companies that are successful often consider their teams to be an investment in the future progress and prosperity of the company.

Wondering how your team can become more efficient?

Why teamwork makes the dream work

People working in teams are often more likely to be successful together than as individuals. Team-building activities can reap many benefits in an organization. The following are just a few:


Team-building activities can give employees a renewed sense of energy and motivation. This can make them feel as though they are valuable to the team and the company, which in turn can motivate them to succeed. For this reason, it can help to learn how to increase employee motivation.

Continuous learning also tends to motivate people. Even if they don’t realize it, almost everyone has a thirst for knowledge. Working on knowledge-based activities in team-building exercises can help individuals feel that they are worth the investment, and they might be more motivated to participate because they immediately get something out of it.

Breaking barriers

There are all different types of barriers in the workplace. There are physical barriers like walls and cubicles that keep people separated during their daily routines, but there are also emotional and figurative barriers. Barriers such as different job levels and departments, as well as barriers between different types of people, can come between individuals and keep teams from functioning appropriately.

Team-building exercises can help break down those barriers. When you invest in team-building, you can build a sense that everyone is on an even playing field. During team-building activities, everyone participates equally, and employees who would otherwise keep to themselves may discover that they work well with the other people in their department or company.

Managers who also participate in team-building exercises tend to be more integrated into their teams. When managers are seen as regular people who exist at different job levels, they often become more personable and likable. This can make following management more natural, peaceful, and productive for employees within the teams.


Team-building exercises are meant to be enjoyable. If your employees feel pressured into participating and feel awkward during the process, your organization may miss out on a lot of the benefits that these activities can provide. The company benefits when employees enjoy their jobs. When you invest in team-building, you can bring employees closer together, which can make their workplace a much more enjoyable place to be. This can increase productivity as well.

Skill improvement

Team-building exercises are also an effective way to brush up on skills that your employees may be lacking or need a refresher on. If you have a few employees who excel in the areas you need your team to improve on, you can enlist them to lead the rest of the team in activities that help everyone else grow. Not only can this help improve performance and productivity, but it can also show your employees whom they can go to for help. When employees support one another in this way, it can take some of the pressure off management, which may free them up to be more productive during the day.


Communication is often one of the pillars of successful team-building. To achieve this, you might include plenty of team-building exercises that focus on how to convey messages to each other effectively. Everyone has a different communication style and personal language style that they use when communicating informally. It can be helpful to incorporate communication into team-building so that employees can learn how everyone else communicates and put that knowledge to use during work hours.

Communication isn’t just about what is said; it’s also about how it is said. An efficient team tends to have energy, a buzz that you can almost feel. One researcher at Harvard Business Review decided to find out what creates that buzz and found that how teams communicate—their tone of voice and how much they talk and listen—plays a major role in the effectiveness of the team.


Another common component of effective team-building is developing problem-solving skills. Problem-solving is typically much easier within a team environment than with individuals working alone. When team-building activities emphasize needing to work together to solve a problem, it can help employees learn how to rely on one another and work together to come up with solutions.

Every business has its challenges, and thinking outside the box is often a must for success. Team-building exercises that employ these concepts in a fun way can get employees working together to creatively solve problems quickly and effectively.


A more personal feel in the workplace can help employees feel more relaxed, less stressed, happier, and ultimately more productive. One of the most effective ways to get that personal feel in your company is through low-key team-building. You can plan activities like going to a baseball game or meeting up for happy hour so that employees are not expected to do anything yet have time to bond with one another and form important interpersonal relationships.


Costs of team-building

There are usually some costs associated with team-building, and you will often need to work within your company’s budget when planning team-building activities. Even though many exercises can build teams without upfront costs, there are usually administrative costs associated with the time that your employees spend away from their regular duties. The following are some of the potential costs:

  • Employee Pay: If you make team-building exercises and activities mandatory, you will have to pay your employees for the time they spend on those activities. If you plan activities during off-business hours, this could even mean paying some overtime for the week so that business needs during work hours do not experience absences.
  • Cost Of Materials: Depending on the team-building exercises you choose, you may have some up-front costs associated with materials. Often this is limited and amounts to some printing paper and ink or the cost of having something printed at a copy store. You may also need additional materials if you are having a scavenger hunt or giving out prizes for competing teams.
  • Facilitator Cost: If you choose a team-building activity such as an escape room, you’ll likely have facilitator costs. You’ll have to pay for the cost of the facility and the activity that you have chosen to do with your teams. These activities are not a necessity, but they can be effective team-building exercises if you can afford them in your budget.
  • Administrative Costs: Even if your team-building exercises seem to cost nothing, there will often still be administrative costs. Every minute that your employees are engaged in team-building during business hours is a minute that they are not performing their job duties. When normal daily activities cease, even for an hour, it takes away that hour from productivity. This can have an impact on your bottom line in profits and sales. Scheduling your team-building activities during hours that are not peak business times can help limit the impact.

Ways to invest in teams

There are a lot of different ways to invest in your teams. The team-building activities you choose may depend on your company’s budget and time constraints for other business activities. The following are a few common team-building options:

Team retreats

Team retreats usually consist of a weekend-long retreat at a resort or facility. During this time, you can have team-building activities, skill-building activities, and time for socialization and bonding. If you can afford them, team retreats can be a solid investment because you can hit on every potential benefit of team-building at one event. Companies that use team retreats usually schedule them once or twice a year.

Team activities

There are many team activities that you can do right within your place of business. You can include team-building activities in your company meetings and daily routines. You can also schedule time for team-building activities during non-peak business hours. Most activities of this type have minimal associated costs and are relatively simple for managers or in-house trainers to implement.

Team-building seminars

Team-building seminars are another option for investing in teams. Team seminars usually involve less participation and more speakers who give advice and tools for working together more effectively. Team seminars can be beneficial, but they may not be as effective as other team-building activities.

Team competitions

Team competitions can happen alongside regular daily activities. They are usually the most cost-effective strategy because prizes do not have to be expensive, you’re not paying employees additional hours to attend activities, and you’re not losing any productivity during business hours. There are many competitions you could have teams participate in, including competitions between departments. 

Wondering how your team can become more efficient?

Improve your leadership skills

Teams are usually only effective if the leadership of the teams is effective. If you’re a manager who has tried a lot of different team-building exercises but you still aren’t getting an effectively run department, you might need to look at your habits to see if changes need to be made on your part.

Online counseling with BetterHelp

If you are wondering if you have the qualities it takes to be a good leader or you’re searching for ways to contribute more to your team, you might turn to BetterHelp for guidance. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that can connect you with a therapist who has experience in team-building. Online counseling has been shown to be just as effective as in-office counseling, and it tends to be more flexible. 

If you have a busy work schedule, BetterHelp allows you to work around it and schedule your sessions according to your availability. This can offer the freedom and flexibility you need to retain your focus on your career while still getting the mental health support you deserve. 

With BetterHelp, you can connect with a licensed counselor via phone or videoconferencing. You can also contact your counselor in between sessions via in-app messaging, and they’ll respond as soon as they are able. 


In many instances, being part of a team can mean increased productivity, a greater sense of belonging, and more opportunities to experience growth. If you’d like to improve your teamwork skills or become a more effective leader, it could be helpful to meet online with a therapist at your convenience. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a therapist with experience helping people grow in these areas to advance their careers. Take the first step and reach out to BetterHelp today.
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