How intramurals encourage teamwork on and off the field
It’s a common problem: interdepartmental communication can be rocky or even downright dysfunctional. Getting a sales team to see eye-to-eye with an accounting team or an operations team with human resources isn’t always the easiest task. Sometimes departments appear to be working toward opposite goals, and when they’re pursuing the same goals they have differing ideas on how to succeed. Sports teams, on the other hand, work together toward a clear goal — beating the other team. Whether in basketball, volleyball, rugby, or bowling, creating interdepartmental teams can encourage better teamwork in the office.
The clearest benefit of friendly competition is the connection it creates among teammates. Cheering each other on and supporting each other builds trust, can improve individual happiness, and boosts morale. As the team gets used to praising and critiquing their teammates on the field, they’ll bring those skills with them off the field and into the workplace.
Intramurals are relatively relaxed, making them accessible to any skill level, and the casual setting promotes networking. It’s an opportunity for employees who normally wouldn’t cross paths to get to know each other, and by extension to get to know each other’s departments while having a bit of fun. “When I first came to MultiView, it was a great way to make friends at work,” says Eric Heino, a Senior Marketing Consultant at MultiView’s Toronto office. “It’s nice to be able to blow off steam and we also have something to talk about at work that’s not actually work.”
Those new to sports can learn from their teammates, gaining new skills and confidence, and seasoned athletes can learn through teaching. The fast-paced environment of a game encourages taking risks, learning from mistakes, and adapting. When translated to the workplace, these skills and confidence can help departments work more efficiently as a unit.
It’s no secret happy employees perform better. Intramural sports let employees unwind and show the company’s commitment to employee health. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that companies who invested in their employees’ health and wellness also had 11 percent more engaged employees. Those employees had more favorable views of their workplaces and took on extra projects or responsibilities.
Even knowing the benefits, according to the SHRM only about 16 percent of companies sponsor sports teams for their employees. For those looking to start, there are a few tricks you can use to get your intramural program started. First, choose sports that fit into your company culture; volleyball may be great for one office and curling for another. If possible, have different seasons throughout the year on different nights to accommodate interests and schedules. Second, make sure your C-Suite and managers are the first to sign up so they can evangelize the program. Third, communicate through means other than email. Make recruiting posters, post in company newsletters, and share stories on social media.
If you already have an intramurals program in place, great! If not, it might be time to do a survey and choose your first sport.
OR, you could apply to join the MultiView team today, and get in on the fun!