Working full-time means spending at least 40 hours at work. If employees spend that much time at work they should feel comfortable and motivated. With aggressive goals and demanding deadlines it can be difficult to stay energized and feel supported by a supervisor. Teamwork activities are a great break from the day-to-day routine as well as being an opportunity for employees to learn how to trust and seek support from each other when they need it.
Puzzles are a lost art that are often dismissed as a childhood hobby. Help employees reconnect with their problem-solving abilities by solving puzzles. Purchase 100 piece puzzles. Divide employees into groups. Each group must complete as much of their puzzle as possible within 10 or 15 minutes. With 3-4 people in each group, they could all have their own ideas about how to complete the task. This activity forces employees to strategize and find common ground in order to complete the task. At the end of the designated time, have a discussion about what it was like to complete the task with given the time constraint. Employees can provide feedback on how they developed their strategy and what they would do differently the next time.
Working day after day, month after month, focusing on a discrete set of tasks, it can be difficult for employees to focus on any details outside of their own needs. Consider a job exchange activity to break up the workday. In a job exchange, employees are paired up and asked to spend some time thinking about what it is like to do another person's job--who they would interact with both internally and externally, how many hours would they work each day, what tasks they are responsible for, what resources they have or do not have to do their job, as well as how it feels to do their job. Each employee should take turns presenting his or her ideas about what a colleague's job entails. The employee whose job is being described can give feedback on whether the projections are true or not. A job exchange activity teaches employees empathy for their colleagues and gives them a better understanding of how hard their colleagues work.
Getting on the Same Page
Most misunderstandings or miscommunication in the office occur because clarifying details were never discussed. For example, tension is building in the Marketing Department around having to edit so many communications from other departments because they are using incorrect terminology. A meeting with the marketing staff and department leads to discuss appropriate terminology would reduce the time required for editing. Spend some time having honest discussions about what is stressful or frustrating. Set the expectation that the conversation will be honest and possibly difficult to hear but that it will result in clearing up issues that could impede the success of the team.
Shemiah Williams has been writing for various websites since 2009 and also writes for "Parle Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in business and technology and a master's degree in clinical psychology. Williams serves as a subject matter expert in many areas of health, relationships and professional development.