Times are changing in the world of work these days. Technology has made it easier, more efficient and more cost-effective for a lot of people to work remotely from home (or anywhere). There are tremendous benefits for people who require flexibility in their work schedule due to childcare, eldercare or their own physical or mental health concerns. Besides, it’s amazing to be able to do your job while lounging on the beach or sitting in a coffee shop!
But as helpful as it is for some people to telecommute, it can also lead to isolation and loss of focus if not managed well. Your success and satisfaction in your job may depend on making it a priority to spend time regularly with others in your workforce.
So, for those of you who are spending a lot of time away from the office and for everyone who is working in a company facility with co-workers, I want to share some of the advantages of teamwork.
Two (or more) heads are better than one
Have you ever noticed how one idea often sparks another? When a team is challenged to solve a problem, create a product or accomplish a task, dialogue between team members can boost the process exponentially. Creativity is generated when someone shares an idea and a teammate adds their own “flavor” to the discussion. Multiple perspectives can often result in someone realizing what could go right and what could go wrong. Pitfalls are often avoided when a team member sees potential problems.
Keeping up the work when you need a break
Teamwork can be a form of cross-training, because co-workers become familiar with the responsibilities and knowledge held by their teammates. Some companies make an effort to cross-train employees in order to ensure coverage, but even without formal programs we can all learn a lot from regular communication with others at work. This is beneficial to you and to your company when the inevitable situations arise when you need to be off for sickness or vacation.
Accountability is a great motivator
Be honest… if no one knows or cares if you got your work done, how motivated are you to do it? Some people are inspired to great productivity by inner drive, but most of us benefit from a little extra accountability. It is not a good feeling to meet with your team and admit that you didn’t do your part, so knowing you will be facing them is likely to energize you to meet your deadlines. Accountability is a very effective factor in productivity, and a benefit of teamwork.
Healthy competition raises everyone
While teamwork is the essence of people working together and in sync with each other, it can’t squelch individuality or the desire to compete, especially for certain personality types. When members of a team challenge themselves and each other to better performance, higher goals and excellence, everyone wins.
It is more fun!
Balanced with the freedom of working independently is the camaraderie of interacting with others who share your goals and understand the challenges you face and the talents you bring to the table. Sometimes the greatest problem-solving starts with humor, which stimulates creativity. Prioritizing healthy relationships in your life adds quality and meaning to your work as well as forming bonds that can last beyond the workplace. People who work in the same field often “get” you in ways others can’t. What better way is there to increase enjoyment in your work and make friends?
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.