Teamwork low as employees focus on job security

UK workers are finding it more difficult to work as a team in the recession, concentrating more instead on protecting their own jobs, according to research.

According to a study of more than 3,000 employees by BT Business, only 19 per cent revealed they preferred to work with colleagues - and instead wanted to safeguard their own projects and contacts.

More than one in 10 admitted that they were becoming more insular, while more than a quarter were putting in extra hours.

BT Business said this was a natural reaction by UK workers to protect their own jobs. However, Mike Bourne, professor at the Cranfield University School of Management, said that this could be a problem as team collaboration was vital for businesses to steer their way through the current economic climate.

He said that successful firms have business processes to automate teamwork, such as unified communication, which made sharing unavoidable. This is because individuals and workgroups have to access common projects and customer information as a matter of course.

"When a company integrates its communication channels it automates information sharing, allowing every employee to answer a customer inquiry or respond quickly to new inquiries," said John Dovey, IT services director at BT Business, in a statement.

"The approach helps firms to operate more effectively in the current climate and to be in better shape for the upturn when it comes."