“Teamwork makes the dream work.” It is such a simple statement, yet it evokes ambition, hope and positivity. It is such a wonderful feeling to work in an environment that promotes teamwork. From the outside, it is easy to spot a workplace where employees are happy and thriving in a positive atmosphere. Alternatively, the same can be said about a toxic or hostile workplace and may be even easier to observe.

A year into the pandemic, teamwork takes on a new meaning. Whether teamwork is present or non-existent these days, its meaning is felt deeper and stronger. When you see it in action, its significance is richer because, in some cases, companies are being carried through the pandemic with a skeleton crew. With millions of people collecting unemployment compensation, some for over a year now, it is increasingly difficult for employers to fill positions or entice employees to come back to work. With the extra $300.00 added weekly, people are making more money collecting unemployment than they were working at their jobs. Restaurants and other places of employment are having to shut down, reduce hours, or cut how many days they are open due to lack of employees. This leaves the skeleton crew or staff that are physically working to take on more responsibility, a heavier workload, and therefore, undue stress. In addition, there are endless cases of individuals that have come down with the virus which puts many out of work for weeks at a time, and that effect seems to spiral out of control in the workplace due to exposure.

On the brighter side, these struggles can bring employees closer together as they look out for and empathize with each other. Teamwork does not always mean working in close proximity. Within our company, we are located in different parts of the world, but we work extremely well together as a team. We are witness to this now more than ever with the “work from home” orders. Many employers have team meetings virtually and accomplish great things while attending the meetings from home. An employer that shows equality in treatment and pay and also recognizes and rewards their employees – pandemic or not – generates a culture where employees are willing to give their best! There is always that eager, hard-working employee that carries the load with a smile on his or her face. On-the-other-hand, some teams are unfortunate enough to have the person that does not play well with others, who lets everyone else do the legwork. This can create resentment among coworkers with differing work ethics as it disrupts the harmonious, uplifting environment companies are trying so hard to create.

During the past year, or at some time in your life, you may have experienced any level of this personally, or you may have been a witness to a poorly run business, mistreatment in the workplace, lack of teamwork, or lack of a team. When you see the struggles, you can start thinking about how you or your team can do things differently. When you observe the triumphs, you can see how innovative, fun, out-of-the-box workplaces ignite creativity and promote productivity. We spend most of our lives working, so make sure you are happy with your work and work environment as this can spill over into home life as well. Only you are responsible for your own happiness, so take control and try to enact the necessary changes in your workplace. In other words, be the change! Think of it like this:

T – Together

E – Everyone

A – Achieves

M – More