The Benefits of Team Building Exercises in the Workplace

Mon, Sep 24, 2012


Bring any business consultant into a dysfunctional workplace, and the first thing they’ll suggest is trying out some team building exercises. This will usually draw raised eyebrows from upper management and a mix of snickers and groans from the staffers that are forced to take part. But the fact remains that team building exercises can be hugely beneficial for relationships, communication and workflow in the office. Teamwork doesn’t happen automatically. It takes work and dedication to create it, as well as the interest and support of those in charge. If you’re willing to deal with the jokes and put in the work anyway, here are just a few of the benefits of team building exercises in the workplace.

The first and probably most important benefit is improved relationships with coworkers. Just because people work at the same company doesn’t mean they are similar people, or will immediately get along. And if you have a busy office where results are all that people care about, chances are there hasn’t been much time set aside to get to know one another. While you don’t necessarily need everyone in your department to be best friends, it certainly helps if they like each other and root for one another’s success. After all, that’s what teamwork is all about. While those relationships can develop at a happy hour or work party, doing some revealing and fun team building exercises can break down walls in a hurry, and avoid keeping those relationships relegated to various cliques.

Communication is also crucial for success at work. Some offices do feature people working independently, but most companies are divided into departments, which are then sub-divided into smaller teams with managers. How well those teams communicate with each other and the company as a whole can improve performance and efficient use of time while minimizing costly mistakes. It’s often the case in large companies when people don’t communicate that work gets repeated or some major piece of a campaign or project gets left out. People are not naturally effective communicators. It must be taught and developed. Rather than forcing people into long, boring communication classes, incorporate those techniques into fun team building exercises. By placing people in scenarios that aren’t focused on work but require strong communication, you’ll insure each team member becomes more comfortable with each other and with communicating what they need, when they need it.

Problem solving is also a key factor in an effective workplace. When issues arise, you don’t want employees that will just try to brush them under the carpet, pass the buck or point fingers. The best employees embrace problems as opportunities to distinguish themselves. And in many instances, problems are solved more quickly when a group of people works them out together. Team building exercises have been created that set up physical and mental problems, and force a group of people to solve them together. It won’t always be pretty, but it will be helpful.

Finally, teamwork can only happen if people trust each other. The team building exercises that are often most ridiculed are the ones designed to create that trust between coworkers, such as falling into each other’s arms, untying human knots or standing up in a group. While they may be awkward at first, they always work despite people’s misgivings. Without trust in the workplace, gossip abounds and people only look out for themselves. When trust is there people look out for each other, praise their successes and help in times of need. Check out the Fradley Croft team building company for some examples of exercises that would work for your department. But while any of these may feel uncomfortable at first, trust in their proven efficacy and you’ll be more than happy that you did.

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