Once a year, we set aside a week to gather the entire Debitoor team from all of our offices in one place. Our headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, hosted all of our colleagues this year, where we had a chance to work together, in person.
With increasing digitisation, especially when working with colleagues in other cities or countries, it can easily be the case that you never meet people that you speak with every day at work.
At Debitoor, although we focus on creating and providing the latest in invoicing software and technology to benefit our users, we still believe in the ‘old-fashioned’ ways when it comes to getting to know our colleagues.
We prioritise this one week each year as it gives us a chance not only to improve communication between offices and individuals, it also provides an opportunity for us to discuss the software - from updates to issues, regulations to new additions, our Team Days ultimately aim to help us improve the experience for our users.
Why team building matters
For many, the term ‘Team Days’ might conjure flashbacks to poorly organised retreats or mandatory participation in less-than-exciting ‘get to know you’ events. But that’s not how we go about it: we believe it’s possible to focus on team-building, have frank and productive discussions about the software, and have fun. In other words: to have it all.
There are many critiques of team-building events in business but also in media (The Office, anyone?), yet studies show that it is one of the most important things that a business can do to build positive relationships between colleagues and boost productivity.
Productivity is closely linked to engagement levels. An officevibe.com article states that businesses in the US that have engaged employees see 2.5x the revenue than those with disengaged employees, who can also end up costing a business money.
Though seemingly difficult to measure, engagement relates to the amount of energy that exists within a team - when all members are contributing to a discussion nearly equally, for example, and there are no members who rarely contribute.
An engaged team is more likely to come up with innovative solutions/ideas faster, and more easily than a team with partial engagement - meaning significantly improved productivity.
Getting nerdy - the science behind team building
An article in Harvard Business Review takes a look at the science behind a good team. The study found:
“...patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success. Not only that, but they are as significant as all the other factors - individual intelligence, personality, skill, and the substance of discussions - combined.”
The article goes on to explain findings that the engagement and energy of a team outside the workplace was a clear indicator of productivity. By creating a space for increased socialisation and communication, a business can directly contribute to their bottom line. Not to mention happier employees.
But what does a successful team look like? This study found that teams with high productivity have several defining characteristics. These characteristics are deeply connected with how the team communicates. A team with members who:
- Contribute equally to discussions
- Face each other when talking
- Discuss topics between members (not just with the boss)
- Take breaks and return with useful contributions
...is more likely not only to be more productive and work more efficiently, but its members are also more likely to report that they’ve had a positive experience - a good day.
How to plan team-building events
A trip to the pub after working hours can certainly be a good way to learn more about your employees and colleagues. But does it contribute to building a better team in the office?
According to an article in the International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management, there are a some parameters that should be followed when designing team-building exercises. A few important ones include:
- A team-building exercise should incorporate actual work goals
- Team-building should provide ideas that can be acted upon
- Annual team-building events should be included in the business structure
Their findings make it clear that fun events certainly have their place in giving employees the opportunity to socialise on a personal level, but that effective team-building for a business includes events that focus on company goals.
What Team Days means to us
The activities that we take part in during Team Days each year give us a chance to get to know one another on an individual level. By building better understanding between the people you work with everyday, we’re working towards continuing to build a better product for our users.
After all, we depend on each other - to explain and resolve issues, to describe requests from our users, to provide more efficient support - these all stem from solid communication between the people on our team that allow us to make Debitoor better and better each day.