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How Team Building Can Improve Mental Health in the Workplace

Team building activities can positively impact employee mental health and wellbeing. Effective teamwork gives the entire team an excellent support network. This is because learning to work as a team encourages strong work relationships, boosts engagement, gives team members confidence, and promotes social wellbeing. Therefore, team building events are vital to productivity and good mental health.

Team building is crucial for excellent mental wellbeing because it teaches teamwork. Unfortunately, some business leaders make the mistake of thinking that putting a bunch of highly skilled workers in a team brings good results. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Team members must learn to communicate, trust one another, show respect, and effectively demonstrate leadership skills.

Remote working is another factor regarding mental health and team building. Many remote workers feel isolated when working from home. This sense of isolation can create issues with mental wellbeing, engagement, and communication. However, many team leaders have found that remote team building activities effectively tackle mental health issues resulting from a work-from-home culture.

What is the connection between team building activities and good mental health? Why should you get employees together off-site to participate in fun, team building activities? Please read on to find the answers to these questions and more.

The Challenges of Mental Health in the Workplace

Unfortunately, mental health disorders are one of the greatest health challenges facing businesses. Poor mental health impacts an employee’s productivity, physical health, and performance. And it’s not only a high workload that causes problems. Relationship issues with superiors and colleagues and a lack of resources are some of the major triggers.

For example, a study found that up to 40 percent of sickness absence is due to some form of mental health struggles. This results in poor performance, increased employee turnover, and lower employee morale and engagement. Some estimates put the cost of work-related stress at $1,211.84 per person per year.

The CDC reports that businesses in the US could save up to $67.8 billion annually by addressing the issues of poor mental health in the workplace. In addition, by introducing programs to reduce and manage stress, businesses can save money on healthcare costs for employees.

Related reading: 7 things team building will never fix.

The Relationship Between Teamwork and Employee Mental Heath

Effective, cohesive teamwork is crucial in the workplace because it positively impacts mental health. Several studies show why company leaders should promote team building activities. And it is not just to drive profits, boost productivity, and focus on company growth. Teaching teams how to collaborate effectively benefits employees’ wellbeing.

One study found that individuals working in teams report significantly higher levels of job satisfaction and wellbeing than when working individually. In addition, team members reported having better relationships with managers and colleagues.

Other studies point to the fact that working in teams drives employee engagement. In addition, mental health benefits from working in teams include lower levels of stress, boosted employee confidence, and increased creativity and innovation. In short, teamwork and team building result in a positive work environment.

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Seven Ways Team Building Improves Employee Morale and Emotional Wellbeing

Any kind of team activity that promotes emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing is a wise company investment. Team building helps promote a strong company culture where employees are important. After all, investing in employee wellbeing is to invest in the success of the company. So how can team building address the mental health challenges in the workplace?

Here are seven ways team building positively impacts emotional wellbeing.

1. Team Building Exercises Promote Social Wellbeing

One of the many benefits of team building is that it puts employee wellbeing at the forefront. In addition, fun team activities help to build a sense of community in the workplace. This, in turn, gives employees a sense of belonging. It also encourages a healthy support network.

workplace mental health

The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports that all humans are social beings, and we do not function in isolation. And this is true of society and the workplace. For example, employees need to feel engaged at work, have colleagues they can rely on, and go to work with a sense of purpose.

Team building games and activities help employees get to know each other personally. They also break down barriers between management and employees. Therefore, creating team building opportunities can help alleviate feelings of isolation in the office.

2. Purposeful Team Building Events Encourage Better Workplace Relationships

Most office workers spend most of their waking time from Monday to Friday with their colleagues. So, it makes sense to plan activities to build healthy workplace relationships. In addition, workplace relationships can significantly impact your quality of life. Therefore, planning activities to help colleagues feel comfortable with each other is highly beneficial.

The Mandala project is an example of a fun team building activity to foster professional and personal relationships within a group. With this activity, Team members use a series of custom-made mandalas to create a collage of artwork. This popular Ful Tilt team activity creates unity within teams through strategic learning processes.

3. Fun Team Building Activities Build Morale

One of the biggest benefits of activities to strengthen teamwork is that it boosts employee morale. Team events help employees to get to know their coworkers in an informal setting. This helps to foster friendships and develop personal and professional support networks. What’s the result? An energized team that supports each other.

Regularly planning activities to boost emotional health improves problem-solving skills and innovation. In addition, this improves morale because employees feel they cope better with their assignments.

Additionally, team building exercises help employees learn more about one another and how they deal with challenges and work-related issues. This allows them to develop trust and understanding among themselves, helping them feel more comfortable and confident at work.

Check out the wide range of fun outdoor team building activities to help build morale and strengthen your workplace culture.

4. Effective Team Building Activities Improve Mental Wellbeing

Participating in team building activities has an overall positive effect on mental health. Why can this be said so confidently? We can say this because activities to promote and teach effective teamwork indirectly affect mental health. And if you avoid classic team building mistakes, your team building strategy can positively impact employee emotional wellbeing.

For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a state of wellbeing when a person can work productively and fruitfully, realize their own abilities, and cope with the normal stresses of life. So, how do activities for team building promote this “state of wellbeing”?

The journal World Psychiatry states that underlying factors for good mental wellbeing include the following:

  • A person learns excellent cognitive skills to solve problems and make decisions.
  • Use their abilities to communicate and interact with others.
  • Expresses empathy to understand how and why others act.
  • They can enjoy meaningful social interactions.
  • Employees learn to cope with adverse advents and overcome challenges.

The good news is that organizing effective team building events addresses all of these factors in a fun, enjoyable environment.

5. Virtual Team Building Events Support Remote Workers

Working from home (WFH) has its benefits and challenges. One of the challenges of the WFH culture is feelings of isolation and loneliness. According to some reports, nearly 45 percent of adults experienced emotional and mental health challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 through 2022.

Organizations that organize virtual team building activities find that their employees experience mental health benefits. Therefore, organizing events that promote communication and collaboration can help team members break down barriers. Some reports suggest that communication issues, loneliness, and staying motivated are the main challenges of working from home.

6. Participating in Team Building Activities Instills Confidence

One of the many benefits of team building events for mental health is that they instill self-esteem and confidence. Well-planned events for teams take participants out of their comfort zone. And they teach new skills or strengthen existing ones. The result is that individual confidence increases. Also, members feel inspired to stretch themselves and solve problems together.

team building events in winter

7. Team Building Events Are Opportunities for Gratitude and Appreciation

Planning fun team activities give team leaders and business owners opportunities to show gratitude. These events can be used to celebrate success, reward teams, or just say thank you at the end of the year for hard work. You can use team outings and company retreats as a way to give employees something back.

Studies show that practicing gratitude has a positive effect on mental health. For example, appreciativeness lessens anxiety, stress, and depression. Additionally, appreciation improves physical health and helps manage negative emotions like shame and guilt.

Team Building Activities that Promote Good Mental Health

What are some of the best events you can organize for your team to promote good mental wellbeing among employees? Here are three examples of positive, fun-filled activities that seasoned facilitators at FullTilt Team Development help to organize:

  • The Domino Effect: This creative, fun activity gets teams to build an innovative and inspiring machine that will intricately complete a simple task. The Domino Effect Challenge helps strengthen time management skills, communication, collaboration, and “Blue Ocean” thinking.
  • Cardboard Boat Build: Teams are engaged in healthy competition to build a boat from cardboard and tape that floats. This event has moderate physical fun activity and is suitable for indoor or outdoor events. The Cardboard Boat Challenge teaches communication, teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, and working under high pressure.
  • Wheelchair Build Challenge: Helping disadvantaged persons can positively affect mental health and promote empathy. The Wheelchair for Charity event is a unique way to encourage team members to work together and give something back to local communities. This event has benefits like time management skills, leadership, empathy, and a sizeable charity donation.

Team Building and Mental Health — In Conclusion

Organizing regular team building events can positively impact your employees’ mental wellbeing. This can be an important tool in mental health resources in a large organization. Additionally, you can help employees develop crucial skills necessary to make them valuable members of your workforce.

Are you stuck for ideas for your next corporate event? If so, contact a member of FullTilt at 310-400-6285 or use this online form to learn about our wide range of activities. We can advise on a team building strategy suitable for your company goals, budget, and wellbeing needs.