The importance of an unproductive team

The Importance of an Unproductive Team

Yes, that’s actually my team up there. And yes, we’re actually like that.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I love my team. We’re a tight-knit group of creative, intelligent, savvy weirdos and we don’t care who knows it.

Being part of a team that you feel connected to and engaged with can play a huge role in your overall happiness at work. Even if you aren’t thrilled about your assignment for the day, at least you get to do it with people you enjoy being around.

And, best of all, having that camaraderie in place makes it easier to blow off steam when work stress starts getting too high. By being strategically unproductive with your team, you can reduce stress, improve your workplace happiness and even increase your overall productivity.

Here are a few ways that being unproductive with your team might actually empower your team’s efficiency:

Happy teams make for happier workers

It should come as no surprise that happy workers are more engaged, loyal and ultimately productive at their jobs, and a strong team can play a large role in that happiness. Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For had overall higher retention rates, even in traditionally high-turnover fields like information technology and professional services.

However, it’s about more than just not being miserable at your job: it’s about engagement, or feeling a meaningful connection to your work and organization. Working together with a team towards a common goal is a powerful experience, whether you’re playing sports or crushing sales quotas.

And besides, happier, more engaged workers offer benefits to the business as a whole as well: Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” study estimates the cost of disengaged workers at between $450 and $550 billion annually.

Eat, drink and be merry

Team lunches are always great fun; few things bring people together quite like a good meal. And while it may seem like primarily a morale-building exercise, it turns out there’s actually some productivity benefits to your mid-afternoon nibble.

In a study conducted at the Warwick Business School, students who completed a task after indulging in fruit, chocolate or soft drinks were 12% more productive than those who didn’t get a snack. So the next time you and your team pounce on the leftovers in the breakroom, leave the guilt behind. You’re just engaging your productivity.

The team that laughs together works harder together

Thanks to our always-on email and access to social media, it’s easier than ever before to break up the monotony of the workday with a well-timed YouTube video or animated gif shared with your teammates. But the question remains: is this just goofing off, or are there actual productivity benefits to sharing a midday laugh with your team?

As it turns out, there’s some science behind a good workplace chuckle, chortle and yes, even guffaw: in a the same Warwick University study, students who completed a task after watching 10 minutes of comedy were demonstrated to be more productive than those who did not.

So the next time you’re hesitating over sending out that meme that just made you LOL, remember: it’s for the good of the business. It’s science.

Teams that can strike a balance between heads-down productivity and a well-timed goof-off session will be far more balanced in the workplace than their unhappy counterparts. I like to think that my team and I have found this balance, ugly sweaters and Grumpy Cats, et al.

Looking for more insights on how we can work better together? Check out our 2015 Workplace Survey Results.

About Joshua Erwin

Josh is a content creator and strategist with a passion for all things tech, such as the latest gadgets, apps, games and more. Josh loves listening to and playing music and is a big college football fan, especially for his alma mater Georgia Bulldogs. When not writing for PGi, you’ll find him gaming or drumming on Sundays for the Atlanta Falcons.

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