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Do we even need teams?

We hear a lot these days about how we should (or could) be working differently. Technology has meant that we can have that face to face meeting with a colleague in another city. We can also collaborate online and edit documents simultaneously. So why should we ever leave our building? Why spend time and money fostering teams? Particularly when you consider that an ever growing proportion of our workforce work remotely.

Flexible working is another adage that companies try to accommodate – and rightly so. We all know that the way we get engaged employees is to treat them with a high degree of trust and manage the output – not how late they stay in the office.

So if we place less importance on people being at work and give them the tools to perform their jobs without spending time with colleagues, then surely the whole concept of team is dead – right?

What technology doesn’t provide is relationships. It doesn’t give us the opportunity to discover common-ground or build up a rapport through shared experiences or attitudes. In short, it’s a bit sterile.

Flexible working does support the case for improving productivity quality and often quantity too. People who are engaged with their employer tend to give more, and a sensible approach to flexible working from employee and employer can benefit both parties. Unlike technological improvements, it does allow relationships to develop, but with less time spent together, there is a limit to how far.

The inherent risk of not having a team culture is that your employees have one point of support – their boss. They direct their questions, gripes, concerns, ideas to that one person. And when the manager can’t hear those frustrations? You can be sure that they will be heard somewhere.

We know that people who have a sense of belonging are more engaged. They are also more likely to promote your brand, stay with a company for longer and go the extra mile (improving quality and quantity). We also know that people who feel part of a supportive team take less time off sick,

We need to make a conscious effort to bring these people together. It doesn’t matter how often – once or twice a year is better than nothing. An occasion to get them talking about anything and everything – and not just work. Don’t overload their agenda with company updates and training on new initiatives. Give them time to just talk and find the common ground. You’ll find that when they return to their jobs the lines of communication will stay open.

Having a supportive network is vital. Encourage the use of technology – but it’s not a replacement for face to face contact. Support flexible working – but not at the cost of the relationships. As Michael Jordan said, Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.

Outoftheboxactivities  provides low cost, high impactful teambuilding activities for you to deliver. Included are comprehensive instructions, debrief notes and all the equipment you need. Prices start from just £15 per person.



Contributor: Julie Price @

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