The Benefits of Face to Face teamwork


All change

Pre-2020, going to work meant exactly that – going to work. Being in the office, with colleagues. But as we all know, the workplace has changed since then. Employees had a period of enforced separation from team-mates and colleagues, and jumping on a video call from home became second nature. Teams got used to doing everything via a screen, and remote working very quickly became the norm. There are, of course, many benefits to working from home (not least avoiding the rush hour traffic!) – so much so, that some employees would love things to stay that way.

The downsides of remote work

But there are also downsides to being remote, and the lockdown had a mental health impact, with levels of distress in Aussies higher at the end of 2020 than in the heady days of freedom at the start of the same year. One of the things that the pandemic really reinforced was the incredible value of meeting face to face with team mates. Maybe not every day, but at least some of the time. Many employers understand this, so have gone for a hybrid working environment, where staff must come in for a certain number of days per week. The Australian HR Institute found that 48% of employers ask staff to be in the office for between 3 and 5 days a week, and the most popular approach (32% of all companies surveyed) is having staff in for 3 days a week.

The upsides of face to face

So just what are the benefits of in-person working, which are driving teams back into the office? Here’s what we hear from talking to teams across Australia and New Zealand:

  1. Better working experience – having in-person, face to face contact with colleagues just makes work more enjoyable. We all need human contact, and getting that at work makes people feel less isolated, more connected and generally happier in their role.
  2. Better relationships – yes, you can do a lot on video calls, and build some form of relationship. But the best relationships of all are those that are built by being in the same place. That’s when the magic really happens. It’s where loyalty and trust are forged, and relationships grow from co-worker to team-mate to friend.
  3. Greater engagement – staff who are physically in the room tend to be more involved and engaged. We hear this all the time from clients, and it’s backed up by a Bain and Company study that found that ‘teams that regularly meet in person are more likely to be engaged, perform better, and have higher levels of job satisfaction.’
  4. Effective communication – communication is about so much more than the words that are spoken. When colleagues meet face to face, they are much more likely to pick up on the non-verbal communication cues, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures and body language. Let’s face it, anything from the shoulder down simply can’t be seen on a screen (meetings in track suit bottoms anyone?). When we meet with the whole person, communication is taken to another level – essential when leaders need to be sure that everyone understands the goals and is on the same page.
  5. Focus on people – last but definitely not least, let’s not forget the distractions that creep in when we’re trying to work with people through a screen. It’s all too easy to get side tracked when someone is talking – you think you’ll just check your email, you’re distracted by your own appearance, or you’re working out how to put a comment in the chat or share your screen. When the technology (great as it is) is removed, teams can only focus on the others in the room.

So as you can see there are at least five great reasons to engage in person with colleagues. And remember, face to face meetings don’t have to be in the office or round a table. Getting out and having fun together is important too.

So don’t just get together formally – build in informal, fun activities such as the team building events from Tailored Team Building. Your team will reap the benefits!