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Our latest evidence briefing, based on systematic review recently published in the Journal for Environmental and Public Health, reveals that teams who spend time bonding as a group really do have higher wellbeing and perform better.
After a review of nearly 1,400 scientific papers and reports from across the world, researchers from our work and learning evidence programme found that team activities are effective at making us happier at work. All the successful examples they found:
- involved everyone – including people who might be reluctant to interact in shared activities.
- had more than a one-off activity and carried on over time – examples ranged from as few as three one-hour workshops to a more extensive programme delivered over several years.
- had input from someone external to each work group. We can’t draw any conclusions from this. It could be that outsiders can offer fresh perspectives on issues, bring new skills and experiences. However, we don’t have any examples where social activities were initiated from within the work group. It may be that organisations are more likely to run an evaluation when they pay for external input.
The study found that it doesn’t have to be a big or complex activity to bring benefits. Simply spending time on a shared project, like mentoring programmes, action planning groups, social events or workshops, all were shown to have positive effects.