Most businesses have a list of company values that define what kind of organisation they are. These tend to vary wildly from company to company, but one that often remains a constant is 'teamwork'.
While many CEOs might like to think they built the business from the bottom up all by themselves, in actual fact most firms would crash and burn without a dedicated team of employees ready and willing to work together. If your business is full of people who don't work well together, your productivity and general employee motivation will drop rapidly.
As such, most of the world's top businesses put a strong focus on teamwork, with employees working well together for the good of the business. This can be difficult to foster, and it is not something that can be forced. However, perhaps the biggest challenge employers face when it comes to promoting teamwork is flexible working.
It is now law that all workers in the UK have the right to request flexible working from their employer. This could result in them starting and finishing at different times to your other employees, or it could mean they work mainly or entirely from the comfort of their own home. This is good for productivity, but can be harmful to teamwork.
It is often difficult for people to form meaningful relationships with colleagues they never see or speak to, except occasionally over the phone. If an employee does not spend much time in the office, it means they will not be privy to any of the casual discussions about the job that go on, as contacting them means sending an email or making a phone call.
This can lead to those who work flexibly to become distanced from the rest of their colleagues, impacting their ability to feel like part of a team. If a large portion of your workforce is regularly absent from the office, this can become a huge problem.
So how can you fix this? One option is have regular training and teambuilding sessions. You don't have to force teamwork, but you should at least make sure your employees interact with each other from time to time.
If you can get them completing a task together, or simply allow them to socialise as they are trained, it will foster a greater team spirit within your workforce. Your flexible workers will feel included and your office employees will be able to put faces and voices to the names of their colleagues.
It is worth conducting these training sessions in an external venue. If your flexible workers are forced to come into the office, they might feel out of place among all the people who work there every day. Instead, take everybody out of their comfort zone so nobody is in a different position to the others.
If you can hold regular teambuilding exercises like this, as well as other excuses to bring your workforce together, you will soon find that teamwork ceases to become an issue. Your employees will be familiar with each other and therefore much more likely to work well together when the time comes.