Four Ways to Encourage Teamwork Within the Office

“There’s no ‘I’ in team.”

“We’re only as strong as our weakest length.”

Tired of lame teamwork clichés? Most people can’t stand them – including your employees! But the simple fact is, teamwork is essential in an office environment. Encouraging individual employees to work as a unit has a number of benefits:

  • Teamwork boosts morale and productivity. “Esprit de corps” can motivate employees to work harder so that they meet the group’s expectations.
  • Teamwork increases retention. When employees work together and support one another’s efforts, they feel more connected to the group – and more loyal to your organization.
  • Teamwork leverages individual strengths for the greater good. When a variety of people work on a project together, they can leverage each member’s unique knowledge, experience and perspective to develop fresh approaches and new solutions.

It’s pretty clear that cohesive, high-performing teams can be a real boon for your business. How can you build stronger ones?

Here are four tips from to encourage more teamwork within your office:

Be Clear About Expectations, Commitments and Responsibilities

Creating a successful, focused work team starts with great communication. From the outset, make sure employees know:

  • Why the team was created, and why each team member was selected.
  • What management expects, including the overarching business goal driving the need for the team.
  • What each member is responsible for achieving.
  • Timelines, deadlines and milestones – whether members are working on a discrete project or on an ongoing function/activity.
  • Why members’ services are needed, and how their work is valuable to both their careers and the organization as a whole.

Encourage Social Interactions

When employees know one another personally and feel comfortable communicating openly, they’re more likely to work well as a group. So break down barriers and build camaraderie by hosting a teambuilding event.

What you do is up to you – just choose an activity that matches your corporate culture and fits your budget. Ideas include a lunchtime potluck, an outdoor activity (ropes courses are a popular option right now) or an office game event, where employees rotate through a series of challenges in randomly selected teams.

Treat Everyone Fairly

Notice that we didn’t say “the same.” As a manager, it’s not your job to give every team member the same responsibilities, pay or recognition. But to keep your employees functioning well as a team, you should give employees the same amounts of things that are important to them. An individualized approach works best in team management – even when its members are working toward a shared goal.

Be Mindful of the Needs of Virtual Employees

Globalization, new technology and the need for specialized skill sets are driving the need for virtual teams. When team members are physically dispersed, adjust your strategy and keep these points in mind:

  • Set realistic deadlines. Distance complicates projects, especially if team members are spread across time zones.
  • Establish regular communications. Choose the right technology and frequency for both individual and group communications.
  • Create a virtual water cooler. Facilitate the informal, spontaneous communications that build social ties, trust and a sense of shared purpose among team members.

Need Team Players for Your Organization?

Contact Spectrum Staffing Services, experienced employment agency, for hardworking individuals who will mesh with your culture, hit the ground running and work well with the other members on your team.

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