by Helen Hamilton.
We all intrinsically know that a happy and productive working life starts with a solid team. From that wholesome seed of collective contentment springs personal satisfaction – and makes working life more enjoyable. If you want to get clinical about it (or your finance department needs convincing) happiness at work has also been shown to lead to a 13% increase in productivity.¹ With that in mind, here are our 11 steps for how you can have healthier, happier teams at work.
Hear, listen and discuss
The art of effective communication is the linchpin of good teamwork. As well as contributing towards better work, it also bolsters teams in stormier weather. Encouraging a culture of honesty (and the open discussion of when things haven’t gone to plan) helps team members to feel more confident in their roles and to keep improving.
Earn each other’s trust and respect
Healthy teams are created through sharing hard work, mutual support and group responsibility. There are many ways of fostering trust and respect, from simply making other cups of tea, to following good meeting etiquette and showing that you value your colleagues’ time as much as your own. A culture of offering to support your co-workers through the natural ebbs and flows of project work also pays back when you’re swamped with a project.
Are your superiors listening to you?
While a healthy group culture fosters a healthy team, it’s also true that much of a business’s culture is shaped from the top. If you think things need to be adapted, articulate this coolly and clearly to your bosses. You can help your case by thinking of practical solutions that will benefit your whole team, and holistically improve working life.
Learn new skills together
Acquiring new skills helps to motivate and mitigate against staleness – and doing this together multiplies the effect! Group training on new technology, or ways of working, is a good way of moving forward as an organisation and saves time in the long-term.
Take note - process makes the world go around…
Thriving working relationships need to be underpinned by clear project processes so that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. In short, everyone needs to know what they’re meant to be doing – and how. Love them or loathe them, good filing systems and sign off processes can save us all a world of pain in the digital age, as well as being another good way to show respect to your colleagues.
Have fun collectively
Good times together makes everyone feel part of the team and this cohesion leads to constructive work. Watch out though - what’s ‘fun’ is pretty subjective, so ring the changes to accommodate the majority. Whilst whole team karaoke might sound like your own personal hell (or heaven!), book clubs, pub quizzes and drinks nights are great ways to build teams.
Your ideas matter!
Ways of thinking, working and identifying new opportunities are all crucial aspects of success. The best teams embrace input from everyone. Be mindful of quieter team members who might struggle to get their voices heard. Simple changes such as giving introverts a heads up if you’re looking for new ideas ahead of a big meeting can be a good way of making things more inclusive.
The ‘identity’ factor
United behind common goals and purposes, a group identity will form and embed an underlying sense of direction for all team members. A strong collective culture can also help in terms of new hires, as like-minded people are drawn to your central values.
‘Eat your frogs’ together
Feeling like your workload is significantly tougher than your colleagues’ is a quick way to breed disenchantment and unhappiness. To mitigate this, be mindful of the nature of different jobs and projects and split the work on difficult tasks. There’s strength in numbers and any resulting achievements are altogether more motivating when shared.
Allow space for the individual
Individual spirit and the ability to ‘be oneself’ provides comfort, security and a happy place for everyone. Giving space for flexible working when possible can be a powerful way of showing team members that their individual needs are taken account of.
Make the most of diversity
It’s such a strength for a team to be able to harness different perspectives and experiences. We should aim to use this consciously to power-charge what we do – better work comes from a diverse range of talent and thinking!
About 11 London
11 London is an advertising and communications agency, based in West London. We work in the areas of health and humanity - with organisations, brands or products that improve or prolong life. To learn more about 11 London, please contact: