Teamwork VS Individual Work

The age-old question, is individual work or teamwork better? We will never have a definite answer to this question, as different people have different working styles. Some people prefer working alone while others in a team. The most important thing is to always asses the task and figure out if it will be done better in a team or individually. Knowing when to go alone, and when to work together is vital for the successful completion of any task.

Individual work is better when the task in hand task requires high concentration and focus. Group work can cause a lot of unnecessary interruptions by other team members. According to a study known as the Coding War Games, they found out that programmers tend to work faster when they are working by themselves. On top of that, designers, artists, writers, and even engineers do their best work alone. Another important point to add on is being in the “zone”, also known as “flow”, where a person is fully immersed in an activity with focus, full involvement, and enjoyment.

According to psychologist Anders Ericsson, the best way to master a skill is to go directly to the part that is most challenging to you personally. Basically, this means that you find out your weakest point and work on that bit by bit. In his words, “if you want to improve, you have to be the one who generates the move; imagine in a group class, you are the one generating the move only a small percentage of the time”. By working alone, you can decide what to do and when to do it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Individual Work

  • You can work at your own pace not depending on someone else. You can decide what to do when.
  • You can concentrate easier and work faster. If you are working on a familiar task, you can get it done quickly since there are no outside interactions and extra meetings.
  • You get the whole credit for the work you do since you are working alone! There won’t be many situations where one does less but gets the same credit with others.
  • You get to make your own decisions.
  • You are the sole responsible for the job. If you fail, it is your fault. There aren’t any others to blame it for.
  • You have to motivate yourself. There are no others to motivate you for getting things done.
  • You can get bored working all by yourself. There isn’t anyone to talk to, share ideas with or get help from.
  • When you are working alone, if you get sick or need to take days off, the work will be delayed because there won’t be anyone to continue it for you.

On the other hand, teamwork is vital for brainstorming sessions because different people have different experiences and backgrounds. More ideas will be generated and productivity will also increase due to the motivation that is provided by the team members. During the brainstorming session, collect all the ideas that were generated and then choose the best one or connect some of the ideas together to produce a better one. Besides that, teamwork can also increase communication between team members. Communication is extremely important for a team to work well. In a team, everyone is unique and can provide a different perspective to look at the problem. Two or more people are always better than an individual for solving problems, finishing off difficult tasks and increasing creativity. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Teamwork

  • Working in teams increases collaboration and allows for brainstorming. As a result, more ideas are developed and productivity improves.
  • Two or more people are always better than one for solving problems, finishing off difficult tasks and increasing creativity.
  • Everyone is unique and has different skills, backgrounds, and experiences. Therefore, others in a team can help you see things from a different angle.
  • Teamwork encourages communication between team members. For this reason, relations between employees tend to be better and overtime employees learn to communicate better.
  • In some teams, there may be members who sit back and let others do all the work. In these types of teams, conflicts may occur and this can affect the mood of others in the team.
  • Working in a team requires many meetings and these meetings, if not managed well, can go off topic and decrease the efficiency of the team.
  • Making decisions can take longer for the sake of finding a consensus. Hence, delays occur.

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