Importance of teamwork for small businesses

In a remote working world, good teamworking has never been a more important skill to learn. Here’s how having a healthy team can aid business success in 2024.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Teamwork is an important skill in today’s business landscape. Remote working has colleagues collaborating on the same project or business goal while in different locations. Managers need to be aware of the effect this has on the workforce, and how their own leadership style may need to change to accommodate the shifting approach to teamwork in the remote age.

Still, teamwork remains essential. Cooperation means fewer delays, giving teams time for innovation, creative thinking, and problem-solving – especially in project management.

At the macro-level, teamwork also contributes to a more harmonious organisational culture, making it a key HR priority. Strong working relationships lead to better communication, support, and motivation.

It might sound like a tall order. But all of these benefits are genuinely within reach for companies that encourage and reward teamwork. We explain how, and why, to prioritise teamwork in your own business strategy, below.

What is the importance of teamwork in the workplace?

Teamwork is important for fostering good working relationships that can be used to improve business output, culture, and growth. Without it, employees will find it difficult to work together to get tasks done, creating delays or even conflict in the workplace.

As it turns out, there is a reason every hiring manager asks the question, ‘do you work well with others?’, in interviews: teamwork pays off.

Done well, siloed workers become a cohesive unit that can trust one another to get things done. People work towards a common goal, rather than in their own interests. In effect, it ensures synergy in the workplace for supercharged productivity.

The reverse is also true. Salesforce reports that 86% of executives blame ineffective collaboration and communication as a major cause of failure in business. 

Salesforce says the respondents defined ‘failure’ as time wasted and more conflict. This implies that teamwork makes firms more productive and increases staff satisfaction.

How has teamwork changed in 2024?

In 2023, over 40% of businesses have switched to a hybrid working model as a result of the pandemic legacy. Such a huge behavioural shift has created plenty of challenges for HR managers to grapple with, bringing ramifications for bosses and employees alike.

Here are three HR challenges that the post-COVID workplace poses that can affect teamwork:

👄 1. Virtual interaction

Between 2019 and 2021, use of workplace communication tools increased by 44%. Collaborating via Zoom might be more convenient for workers. But it is also more likely to lead to miscommunication. Booking a meeting into colleagues’ calendars also takes time, discouraging people from chatting through ideas or issues as they arise.

Not having proper oversight of your team and how they are working is a real problem for business owners. It could anger employees who feel their good work is going unrecognised. We’ll explore alternative ways to manage employees remotely in the article below.

⌚ 2. Employee turnover is on the rise

The fallout from the Great Resignation – when thousands of workers handed in their notice – has sent staff turnover rate skyrocketing for many companies. Some argue this is a direct result of the new, remote-based workplace, which has made it more difficult for managers to connect with their reports.

Savvy leaders have realised that building a healthy team is the best way to fortify their workforce, and make it easier to spot the signs if someone is planning an exit. Strong, supportive teams will also more easily withstand the impact if a key coworker makes a sudden exit.

👋 3. Company culture has been diluted

Pre-COVID, firms would invest in organisational culture by arranging work socials or team away days. But now, with the majority of us based online, such office-centric ways of reinforcing culture will no longer work.

Company leaders must instead reimagine their culture for a remote world, and find ways to nurture bonds with employees they may never meet. Doing so reduces the risk of workplace conflict, and help people shift away from behaviours or attitudes that invite drama.

10 benefits that show the importance of teamwork

Knowing the general, company-wide uplift that teamwork brings to companies will help to build a case for you to prioritise it across the entire employee lifecycle. Here are the top five reasons why teamwork is important for people teams:

💨 1. Teamworking improves business efficiency

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Teamwork enhances decision-making abilities by pooling resources and expertise. Instead of one person working on a problem, a group can share ideas and brainstorm collectively to arrive at a solution much faster.

😊 2. Teamworking boosts staff wellbeing

Having multiple people to collaborate on a task helps to reduce the risk of staff burnout, improving overall employee wellbeing. While one person may struggle to handle their individual tasks, a team working together can help each other if one person’s workload gets overstuffed.

👍 3. Teamworking reduces conflict in the workplace

The ability to work as a team is an effective form of conflict resolution. Disputes in the workplace might be rare, but they can also be extremely disruptive to teams. Conflicts are much less likely to cause damage if the team members know how to work with each other to resolve them in a timely and professional manner.

🎨 4. Teamworking fosters innovation

Team brainstorming sessions can be a highly effective way to consider tasks and challenges with a more creative mindset. The best teams will adopt a ‘there’s no stupid questions’ mindset and let everyone have a go at pitching an idea – the best way to encourage creative thinking and problem-solving.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 5. Teamworking embraces diversity in the workplace

Teamworking invites a diverse range of perspectives and skills, building what might have started as an average idea into something brilliantly game changing for the company. It also ensures every person in the team feels like their ideas are equally valued, improving employee happiness.

📈 6. Teamworking can encourage personal growth

Good teamwork is key for a person’s professional development. When colleagues have a good relationship, they’ll feel comfortable offering constructive feedback to grow each other’s skillset and knowledge. Having a supportive team base where people aren’t afraid to make a mistake will also help managers identify areas for improvement.

💪 7. Teamworking strengthens employee engagement

The UK has one of the worst records for employee engagement. Demotivated staff are more likely to engage in anti-work trends, jeopardising productivity. Having a close bond with colleagues means staff will feel supported, improving engagement and ensuring they remain motivated to meet goals and deadlines.

🧱 8. Teamworking improves adaptability and resilience

Healthy teams stick together. If every coworker is aligned to the same goals and core values, they can put on a united front during volatile situations. For example, a period of significant business disruption, like the resignation of the CEO.

⭐ 9. Teamworking leads to higher quality work

In a healthy team, coworkers or managers will be able to view and appraise their colleagues’ work, or feel comfortable to ask for feedback. The quality of the work produced will therefore likely improve. Team members will gain quality assurance on their work, helping them to spot errors early on and gain insight for future tasks.

😟 10. Teamworking helps reduce stress

If you’re working in a stressful environment – such as today’s economic downturn – this can negatively affect employee mental health. Close-knit colleagues will be happy to offer each other emotional support – something they will be best-placed to do because they alone understand the demands and stresses of the job.

Importance of teamwork in project management

If there was only one area that good, effective teamworking could be implemented in a business, it must be project management. When running or planning a project, with so many people working on dependent tasks, close collaboration and coordination among every team member involved is the essential ingredient for success.

Here are four main reasons why teamwork is important for project management and delivery:

🧠 1. Helps with knowledge sharing

Team members need to keep track of lots of project elements like spending, objectives, and progress. If you’re in a close-knit team that meets regularly and communicates openly, project collaborators and stakeholders can share and absorb this information much more efficiently.

Sharing information and expertise between the team is also an effective way to upskill employees. Team leaders should encourage open discussion and create channels for ideas to be shared in real-time, for example via a project management software dashboard.

💰 2. Saves money

Depending on the timeframe, a single update can impact every person’s workload. If a group is not working closely and keeping each other accountable for deliverables, the whole project will stall.

Teams that collaborate inefficiently are more likely to inadvertently repeat work or waste time due to miscommunication. Working as part of a joint effort means resources are well-managed, leading to more successful project outcomes and, ultimately, a higher return on investment.

🩹 3. Reduces risk

Teamworking builds trust between coworkers. Knowing that a team member can be relied upon to carry out specific task areas will make project managers happier to delegate, reducing the risk of them trying to take on all the duties by themself (almost guaranteed to fail).

Close teamworking also ensures you’ll have a second pair of eyes to check your work. That means project teams are far more likely to spot challenges or bottlenecks during the initial project planning stage, reducing the chance of delays or overspending.

🏃‍♀️ 4. Supports agile project management

Agile project management is an iterative way of working that necessitates close partnerships with teammates. Groups deliver the project in stages so that progress can be constantly assessed. This ensures that the entire team can give feedback continuously to make immediate improvements to every iteration.

The agile project management methodology is becoming more popular amongst businesses, particularly for those based in the tech sector. But firms need to know good teamworking before they can adopt this approach, as it is almost wholly reliant on the entire team’s ability to work well together.

Importance of teamwork for project management: a case study

To explain just how important teamwork is in project management, we’ve come up with an example of just how badly a project can veer if course if members stop working together:

You’re a campaign manager in a remote PR agency, tasked with designing a local ad for a new product that will launch over the weekend. You’ll work alongside a junior marketer.

After a quick Zoom call, the two of you decide on the ad layout together on Thursday. But that evening, you realise you don’t like it. You decide to make some quick changes to the ad, and email the new version to the junior marketer in the morning.

Unfortunately, they use a different email service to you and miss the update. Instead, they accidentally print out 500 copies of the old file to send out over the weekend.

You head back in on Monday and can’t find the junior marketer’s panicked messages in your packed inbox. It’s only that afternoon when you realise you’re over budget and out of time.

Now imagine that in the above scenario, the campaign manager had used project management software to ensure that all team members were using the same resource to plan and manage the project. They would have had:

  • Messaging functionalities for streamlined communication
  • Project plans, such as a Gantt chart, to plan a proper launch timeline
  • Dashboards for a centralised source of information
  • Notifications so they were instantly aware of any changes made
  • Scheduled check-ins to make time for each other’s thoughts
  • Clear milestones and objectives, so they were both working to same goal

Importance of communication in teamwork

Effective communication is the foundation of successful teamwork. That’s particularly true when you’re managing a project. Small firms tend to have reduced manpower, meaning workers will often be playing multiple roles. Everyone on the team needs to stay abreast of any changes that may affect deadlines and delivery success.

PM tools, including even free project management software, provide many useful features to help streamline and expedite communication. These include real-time notifications, task comments, internal messengers, and document sharing.

7 key teamworking principles for HR managers

As we’ve discussed, following the advent of remote work policies post-COVID, today’s firms are constantly switching between both verbal and non-verbal of communication. According to Lucid’s 2022 State of Collaboration report, 83% of employees now say virtual meetings are part of their company’s culture.

Still, particularly when conversing about sensitive subjects, HR managers should ensure employees are following seven key principles to guarantee any interactions are working effectively to meet goals and objectives. We’ve outlined them below:

7 key points of communication

🧡 Show empathy. During conflict, HR managers should encourage employees to see things from the other person’s point of view. This will help employees to understand where their colleagues are coming from and where conflict might arise.

👂 Listen. Encourage departments to hold regular catch-ups or workshops where feedback can be given and ideas shared. This will nurture an environment where people feel comfortable to speak up.

🔍 Proofread. For written or typed messages, teach workers to take a few seconds to read back what you’ve said. Is it clear and concise? Or is there potential for misunderstanding.

🙅 Consider non-verbal communication. Soft skills are a very important skill for workers to learn. When conversing face-to-face, educate staff on the importance of tone of voice or body language.

😊 Be personable. Even in a business environment, it is beneficial to be personable. Bosses can lead from the top down with this approach by letting their personality shine through during company meetings and messaging.

🙏 Show respect. Respect is a persuasive tactic – not to mention, a basic expectation. Inclusion training can help to train the workforce on how to respect differences, and highlight areas where people might hold bias or outdated beliefs.

💻 Choose the right medium. Whether email, phone call, or meeting – consider which is best for the message the company or team is delivering (not just the one that senior leaders prefer).

Understanding the value of teamwork

Teamwork remains essential in today’s business landscape. Solid working relationships contribute to increased efficiency, reduced conflict, and improved adaptability and resilience. Particularly for those firms managing projects, such as agencies and campaign teams, teamwork can be the deciding factor between success and failure.

Shrewd business leaders will also recognise that, in today’s poor hiring climate, it is far easier to spot signs of disengagement or low morale in a tightly-bonded, healthy team.

Organisations can achieve positive and effective teamwork with project management software. Collaboration is easy as PM systems stimulate users to send updates and communicate with stakeholders – all while keeping a full historic record of every action.

Teamwork FAQs
  • What is effective communication?
    Effective communication is not about whether a message gets handed over to the recipient in time. It’s about ensuring that the emotion and intentions behind the information is relayed to your teammate so that they know how important a task is and what their role is. Effective communication is fundamental to avoid misunderstandings, conflict, and/or delays.
  • What are the 4 Cs of effective communication?
    The four C's of effective communication are clear, complete, concise, and courteous. Clear and concise messaging means keeping on topic with short, simple directions. Complete communication is about offering all the necessary information to avoid a lot of back and forth. Courtesy is being polite to maintain positive and professional working relationships.
  • What is the core value of teamwork?
    Because teamwork is so important, many firms choose to introduce it as a core value (a guiding principle that tells people what you value as a leader). Being part of a team encourages employees to feel a sense of belonging and respect. Choosing it as a core value makes teams more close-knit, efficient, and supported: three easy ways to achieve success.
Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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