There is no doubt team building is necessary in order for businesses to run as a strong, united team. Communication and healthy professional relationships play a big part in job satisfaction, in fact, it was found that businesses with effective communication were 50% more likely to have lower staff turnover and 67% of employees say good work colleagues were a reason to stay in a job.
However, when employers ask you to organise team building exercises it’s often difficult to find an activity that staff won’t treat like either a social occasion or view it as a wasted afternoon on pointless problem solving. Traditional team building activities have become dated; trying to build a structure in under a minute or practising trust exercises simply isn’t having the intended effect.
If you want a team to think outside the box, then you need to too when it comes to planning activities. Since ‘Gareth Malone’s The Choir: Sing While You Work’ was aired on the BBC, many companies have considered forming office choirs as a creative alternative. This has proven an effective way of creating a focused yet uplifting atmosphere that brings a team together.
Gemma Francis, founder of The Big Sing, has experienced the benefits performing as a choir could have for businesses through her team building workshops. She explains five reasons why so many businesses are making this switch and how singing as a collective is an effective way of helping employees develop.
Singing is known to release endorphins, the body’s feel good chemical, that reduces stress and keeps people feeling good. Last year 12.5 million days’ work were lost due to job related stress and anxiety, meaning anything to improve the mental wellbeing of employees should be a priority. This type of performance participation also improves self-confidence which is of course reflected in employees’ work.
Singing in a choir puts everyone at an equal level; with different people within the workplace hierarchy joining in, it breaks down those barriers. It acts an ice breaker which encourages people to communicate with those they might not necessarily speak to in a workplace situation on a day to day basis. So not only does singing together keep employees engaged as one unit but also helps iron out any colleague tension, which can be very disruptive to your business.
In addition to this, choirs can give employees a better sense of belonging because when singing, every member is vital to its’ success. By giving your team a collective focus and sense of achievement, they will be more likely to stay motivated once back in the workplace.
Your employees have many skills outside of their professional capacities and a corporate choir could give them the chance to utilise them. Employers frequently send their staff on training courses to further their professional skills, yet creativity is often forgotten. Creativity and innovative thinking are skills highly sought after by employers, yet there is little push from businesses to develop them. By encouraging creative experimentation keeps the mind actively thinking innovatively.
39% of employees feel underappreciated at work, and 77% claim they would work harder if they received recognition. Your staff will see the choir as your way of rewarding them for their efforts and will likely work harder in return, making the activity a small investment with long term benefits. Additionally, offering staff this opportunity shows you value them as people, not just as employees, because you have had their interests in mind, not just the business’.
Above all, singing is fun, and gives employees something to look forward to when coming into work. Everyone can sing, yes some are better than others but everyone has the physical ability to sing, meaning employees will all be able to engage fully. It is estimated that 2.8million people across the UK are members of choirs such as The Big Sing, which demonstrates how many people chose to join in their spare time.
Providing the opportunity to have fun shows staff you want them to get enjoyment out of the working day and they are likely to want to participate, unlike other dreaded team building workshops where they are often reluctant.