With physical connection being less common for workplaces, many organisations are investing time and resources into programmes that encourage team collaboration and personal growth.
Psychologist and Author, Susan Pinker said: “Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and, like a vaccine, they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future, so simply […] shaking hands or giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust and it lowers your cortisol levels, so it lowers your stress*.”
So how does a workplace provide these interactions that are integral to happiness?
This is where team building workshops and team away days come in.
A study by the Economic and Social Research Council showed that social isolation is a key trigger for mental illness. Bringing people together is shown to increase our sense of happiness and wellbeing. There’s also evidence to suggest that being social sharpens our memory and cognitive skills.
Problem-Solving and Leadership
Giving a group of people a puzzle or challenge gives a team a purpose. And purpose drives us to work together to achieve a common goal. Problem-solving in a group has shown to cause less conflicts, less disputes and less disruption. There’s also a great opportunity for hidden talents and abilities to be shared and realised by the wider team, including hidden leadership potential.
Communication and collaboration are incredibly important for wellbeing, especially communication in the same room. With so many people working from home, a simple problem that would take 5 minutes to resolve in the office might take 24 hours to resolve while waiting for emails and phone calls working remotely. Finding new ways to communicate with each other is vital to a great workplace.
It’s also important to connect without a work-related goal; helping people to relax, find common ground and see each other as more than colleagues. This helps to build trust and remove barriers for more open communication.
A Change of Scenery
Team building isn’t about sitting behind a desk. A change in environment to refresh and reset can be hugely beneficial. Enjoying time together in an informal setting helps us to feel less stressed and more open to new experiences. Not only that but getting up and out is great for our physical health. It’s also great to get outside in the fresh air which is linked to an array of physiological benefits.
There are many benefits to an away day. But one of the key factors is that the day is fun. It’s a time to make memories and stories to look back on with fondness. It’s about feeling positive naturally without feeling “obliged to be positive”. It’s about enjoying good company with no pressure or stresses.
For a business, putting time aside to have an away day or team building session is proven to improve morale, increase productivity and improve communication.
And for each individual, feeling invested in and brought together means more engaged teams with confidence in their workplace values in prioritising their mental health.