If you have ever had ants invade your kitchen counter, last night’s leftovers, or bathroom sink, you generally do not see one single ant roaming around and going about his business — you usually see a whole long line of them that (appears) to be hundreds, or even thousands. Why do ants always appear in such mass amounts? The answer to this is simple — they are practicing teamwork! How could any one small ant pull off a whole invasion by his or herself? It would be nearly impossible, wouldn’t it?
When observing how ants approach situations by working together as a unit, you wonder how their “work place” is so successful. How can you work to achieve cohesive and effective teamwork among your coworkers in a workplace environment? Well, you can start with team building exercises. The foundation for any successful team is their ability to communicate, solve problems, and help one another to work effectively. Team building exercises can help you achieve the essential qualities that are so useful in a work environment. Stick around and use our ideas to help build up any team or group in the workplace.
Importance of Team Building In the Workplace
Group projects, whether you liked them or not, are not just for school — you will come across them in the workplace as well. Being able to work well in a team is essential for executing and participating in these projects effectively. Whether or not there are projects to be done, you are always going to have to employ teamwork efforts in the workplace. Before we go over ways to help strengthen teamwork, let’s revisit its importance in the workplace:
- Job Satisfaction: Working as a team requires everyone’s input and the chance to showcase their individual strengths. By being able to demonstrate individuality in a group, employee moral may increase, and lead to a better overall working experience.
- Efficiency: A better working experience for employees will also enable them to become more effective in their work. This leads to efficiency and being able to achieve goals faster and reach objectives both individually and as a group.
- Creativity: Being in a group setting allows for the flow of constant and individualized ideas. Because of this, there is much more room for creative action. When working alone, it can be harder to brainstorm creative ideas because you are only going off of what you know. Within a team environment, creativity should be embraced and encouraged.
- Communication: This is a major perk of teamwork and an effective result of team building. Working alone or in isolation can leave for a lot of holes and spaces. Teamwork requires that employees communication consistently and effectively with each other to share, pass, and brainstorm ideas. Information will not be lost or misinterpreted when communication is streamlined, and thus, less errors will be made in the workplace.
- Learning: By working directly with others, ideas are placed out in the open to be picked up, built upon, and expanded. This allows for a wonderful learning environment to interchange and pick up skills and strengths from fellow employees or managers.
Sample Team Building Activities for Employees
Here are some useful and effective team building activities for the workplace. Get your cubicle or office buddies ready, and let’s get started!
- Concentration: Regardless of if you work in a repetitive job or not, it is likely that you are going to feel tired or drained on occasion at work. Concentration is a great team building exercise to kick your brain back into gear. Have participants form two equal lines. One line will turn around and have about 40 seconds to change 10 things about themselves — all things that are visible for the other person to see. Once they turn around, their partner needs to find as many changes as they can that the other person made. This will definitely put your memory, concentration, and quick -thinking abilities on fire.
- Volunteering: Giving back is a way to energize yourself and those around you. Separate your employees into groups and have them pick a charity or a volunteer project that they want to work on. This will help them work together as a unit for the good and bettering of a good cause.
- Tear it Up: This exercise can be a good calming and thinking activity. Have employees sit down with a piece of paper. Have them close their eyes and verbally instruct them on how to fold and tear the paper. There is no right or wrong way to fold it! Once you are done, have them open their eyes and see how different everyone’s papers look. This helps ensure that proper communicate and listening can get a job done — and how everyone listens and interprets things differently.
- Take As Much As you Need: This is a nice activity to get to know your co-workers or managers. Have everyone sit in a circle and pass around a bag of coins, a toilet paper roll, or a box of tissue. Have them all, “take as much as they need”. Once they are done, depending on the number of items they took, have them say one interesting thing about themselves for each item.
- Beach Ball Toss: In a large workplace, you might not know anything about your co-workers aside from their job title or their name. This is a fun and simple get-to-know-each other exercise. Have various questions written on the beach ball. Throw the ball around in a circle, and the person who catches it has to answer the question closest to their pinky finger. Once you are done, everyone will seem more interesting than, “Joe from Accounting”.
‘Round Up Your Office-mates!
Keep in mind that creating a team is easy, but creating a team that is going to work well and effectively together to produce results in the workplace is not. These exercises in team building will get you and your employees, whether you are a manager or a worker, into the spirit and patterns of working and communicating regularly in a team environment.