Why team building?
The team is the centre of productivity in a workplace. Teams that function well ensure the wellbeing of an organisation. Members of the best teams accept the need for difference and diversity, are mutually supportive of each other’s strengths and can make up for people’s vulnerabilities in times of personal or professional challenge.
Where a team member experiences any sort of disability or health condition, including mental illness, the best teams are mutually supportive, flexible around roles and provide backup as required.
It is worthwhile investing in strategies that enable a team to develop the above qualities.
What is team building?
Team building is a combination of strategies designed to:
- build strong interpersonal relationships
- develop understanding of, and commitment to, team goals.
Common characteristics of team building experiences include team members working together on tasks that:
- are unfamiliar
- need a high level of cooperation to complete
- need team to members rely on each other in ways that are not normally required in the everyday working environment, generating mutual respect, rapport and support beyond what is commonly found in the workplace.
Do I have to spend large amounts of money to build my team?
No, while there are commercial options available that can provide benefits, there are many ways to foster team building without spending any money.
Supportive team environments are created by:
- structuring regular team meetings that enable active communication
- encouraging home/life balance
- pairing workers or using buddy programs, where two people work together or know what is going on in relation to a particular job/issue/topic. See our guide on mentoring:
- encouraging out of hours opportunities to celebrate achievements and strengthen interpersonal relations, but only where all team members are comfortable participating
- making sure that you are inclusive of people who have taken advantage of flexible work arrangements to work part time or from home, e.g. regular teleconferences, email contact etc. See our fact sheet on flexible work arrangements:
- challenging myths about physical health conditions, cultural diversity and mental illness and deterring the use of stigmatising language or behaviours
- providing information to all staff about valuing diversity, and being aware of physical and mental health. This can be achieved through disability awareness training and providing staff with Mental Health First Aid training:
Our Related Links contain no or low cost activities that could be used for team building in the workplace.
How will my workplace benefit from team building?
All team members will benefit from team building experiences. Employees who are less confident in the workplace or less certain of their place in the team, benefit significantly from structured team building strategies.
Increases in personal well being, job satisfaction and productivity are all positive outcomes of team building.