Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: Investing In Teams

By Nicole Beasley

Updated December 20, 2018

Reviewer Chante’ Gamby, LCSW

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We've all heard the phrase: Teamwork makes the dream work. But what does it mean? There is a lot more to teams than just spreading around teamwork makes the dream work memes. In fact, a lot of time, effort, and cost go into building effective teams.

Building effective teams in your workplace can greatly improve your company's performance. Studies show that companies who invest in team building enjoy higher productivity, higher profits, and better customer satisfaction. Although there are costs involved regardless of how you work to build your teams, it is something every company should do. Consider it an investment in the future progress and prosperity of the company.

Why Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

So why is teamwork important? Teamwork makes the dream work because teams are more likely to be successful together than as individuals. Team building activities have many benefits, including improving communication and problem-solving skills so that procedures within the work environment run more smoothly.

Motivation

Motivation to be productive and engender customer service is extremely important to the success of your business. Team building activities give employees a renewed sense of energy. It makes them feel as though they are important to the team and the company, which in turn motivates them to succeed.

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

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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 a lot of emotional and figurative barriers.

Barriers such as different job levels and departments, as well as barriers between different types of people, genders, race and social status, can all come between individuals and keep teams from functioning appropriately.

Team building exercises will help break down those barriers. When you are investing in team building, everyone is on an even playing field. Everyone participates equally, and employees who would otherwise keep to themselves will discover that they work well with the other people in their department or company.

Also, managers who equally participate in team building exercises are more integrated into their teams. When managers are seen as regular people in a different job level, they become more personable and likable. This can make following the management more natural, peaceful, and productive for employees within the teams.

Enjoyment

Team building should always be enjoyable. If your employees feel pressured into participating and feel awkward during the process, you're going to miss out on a lot of the benefits that it can bring. Also, you want employees to enjoy their jobs. When you invest in team building, you bring employees closer together, which can make their jobs and workplace a much more enjoyable place to be. This will increase productivity as well.

Skill Improvement

Team building exercises are also a great way to brush up on skills that your employees may be lacking or need a refresher. If you have one or a few employees who are great with the skills you need your team to excel in, you can enlist them to lead the rest of the team in activities that brush up those skills for everyone.

Not only does this help improve performance and productivity, but it will also help your employees to know who they can go to for help. When employees support one another in this way, it helps take some of the pressure off of management, which can free up managers to also be more productive and get more accomplished in a day.

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Communication

To get teamwork to make the dream work, communication is key. You'll want to 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 is important to incorporate communication into team building so that employees can learn how each other communicates and put that knowledge to use during work hours.

But communication isn't just about what is said; it's also about how it is said. A great team has an energy, a buzz that you can almost feel tangible. One researcher decided to find out what creates that buzz. The study results showed 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.

Problem Solving

One of the key takeaways from team building is problem-solving skills. Problem-solving is much easier within a team environment than with individuals working alone. When team building activities focus on needing to work together to solve a problem, it helps 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 a must for success. Team building exercises that employ these concepts in a fun way get employees working together to creatively solve problems quickly and effectively.

Bonding

A more personal feel in the workplace can help employees feel more relaxed, less stressed, happier, and ultimately more productive. The best way to get that personal feel in your company is through a low-key team building. You can do things like going to a baseball game or meeting up for happy hour so that employees are not expected to do anything, but they have time to bond with one another and form those important interpersonal relationships.

Costs Of Teambuilding

There are some associated costs with team building that must be considered. You will need to work within your company's budget when planning team building activities. Even though many exercises can build teams without upfront out-of-pocket costs, there are always administrative costs associated with the time that your employees spend away from their regular duties.

Remember that teamwork makes the dream work. Building strong teams for the success of your business is important. Even though there are some costs involved in team building, the benefits far outweigh them. Remember that this is an investment you are making in your business, and it should be treated as such.

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 suffer from absences.

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Cost Of Materials

Depending on the team building exercises you choose, you may have some up-front costs associated with materials. Often this is very limited and amounts to some printing paper and ink or the cost of having something printed at the 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 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 are great 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 always be administrative costs. For every minute that your employees are engaged in team building, those are minutes that they are not performing their job duties.

When normal daily activities cease, even for an hour, for team building exercises, it takes away that hour from productivity. This can have an impact on your bottom line in profits and sales. Sometimes that impact is fairly minimal; sometimes it is more. Scheduling your team building activities during hours that are not peak business times will greatly help limit the impact.

Ways To Invest in Teams

For teamwork makes the dream work, you have to be willing to invest in teams. There are a lot of different ways that you can do that. The teambuilding activities you choose will likely depend on your company's budget and time constraints for other business activities.

Team Retreats

Team retreats are a great way to invest in teams. A team retreat will usually consist of a weekend-long retreat at a resort or facility that is geared toward the purpose. You will have team building activities, skill building activities, and time for socialization and bonding. If you can afford them, team retreats are a great investment because you will be sure to hit on every potential benefit of teambuilding in one swoop. Usually, companies who use team retreats schedule them for 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 easy for managers or in-house trainers to implement.

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Team Building Seminars

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

Team Competitions

Team competitions can happen alongside regular daily activities. They are the most cost-effective 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 a lot of different competitions you could have teams participate in, pitting departments or smaller teams against each other.

Team Sports

Team sports is another way to invest in teams. You can organize your departments into various teams, or you can get other companies involved in a tournament style set of games. Softball is usually the sport of choice when going this route. Team sports are a great option because it's fun, it's done on off hours, you can do it as a voluntary basis so that you don't have to pay employees for their participation, and it forces them to work together and form bonds.

Improving Team Leadership

Teamwork makes the dream work only 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 to your habits and policies to see if changes need to be made on your part.

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If you are wondering if you have the qualities it takes to be a good leader, or you are certain that you could use some help in being a more empathetic person for your team, you could turn to a therapist. A therapist can help you examine your attitudes and ability to empathize, and help you become a better person and a more effective leader.


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