Not looking forward to your next team-building exercise? A new study from the What Works Centre for Wellbeing has revealed that shared workplace activities are boosting productivity and keeping workforces healthy over time through an improved ‘social atmosphere’.
The most successful activities were found to be the ones that involved the whole team, especially people who might be reluctant to participate to get everyone out of their comfort zone and open to new situations. The activities don’t need to be big or complex to bring out the best in a company. To the relief of many less confident workers across the country, challenges don’t need to involve awkward icebreakers or bridge building challenges so long as they encourage collaboration.
“People stay in, and go back to, jobs they like with people they like,” said Nancy Hey, Director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. “We are recommending that organisations carry out activities that boost social relations at work, and evaluate their impact.”
Along with boosting talent retention, team-building challenges boost office-wide inclusivity and can help encourage different departments to work together and become friendly outside of the office, bringing the positivity back with them when they return to their desks. They don’t need to be one-off challenges either, with research revealing that activities that carried on over time, from several hour workshops to even programmes delivered over several years.
“Good social relations between workers and between workers and management are amongst the most important factors for well-being at work, resilience and engagement,” said Professor Kevin Daniels, who led the research team. “The research shows that, with the right intent, it can be quite straightforward to improve social relations at work.”