Work Feels Better If You’re Part Of A Team

There’s no “I” in team.

Photo: Flickr

Science, that pesky minx, brings us another study that succinctly explains something that anyone who has worked at a job understands: feeling like you’re part of a “team” makes the drudgery of work a tiny bit better.

“Team” as a phrase for descrbing co-workers feels very much like jargon spouted by a chipper CEO standing in front of you at a staff meeting, bouncing on the balls of his feet and obsessively checking his phone. Work is work; gamifying it by referring to yourself and your coworkers as a team calls to mind kickball and forced socialization. But, regardless of how icky the phrase itself is, the feeling of belonging implied by the word is essential to the happiness of workers.

Niklas Steffens, the author of the study, told The Science of Us:

“Our research shows that health in the workplace is determined to a large extent by the social groups that we belong to at work — that is, by the degree to which we identify with them. We are less burnt out and have greater well-being when our team and our organization provides us with a sense of belonging and community — when it gives us a sense of ‘we-ness’.”

Work should not be a hostile environment; at the very least it should be neutral. Sitting down at your desk and typing your emails and writing your reports or whatever else it is one does should be fine, at the very minimum. Anything else is a fun bonus. But, that sense of “we-ness” is nice because hey, we’re all in this together, might as well make the most of it. No need to become best friends with everyone you work with, but being able to tolerate them enough to not hide from them when you see them headed for the kitchen is a good thing, indeed.