Team flow in firefighters: Stressors and resources of teamwork influence the team flow experience
Aust, F., Heinemann, L., Holtz, M., Hagemann, V., & Peifer, C. (2021). Team flow in firefighters: Stressors and resources of teamwork influence the team flow experience. E-Poster presentation, 10th Meeting of the European Flow Researchers Network (EFRN), Lübeck, Germany, November, 26th – 27th, 2021.
Flow is often experienced under stress-related conditions and is associated with increased performance and well-being. There is evidence that different workplace stressors and resources affect individual flow. Bringing this research to the team-level, our study aims to investigate effects of typical teamwork-related stressors and resources on team flow. Firefighters work under extremely challenging conditions and are dependent on functioning teamwork. Accordingly, they are a promising sample for examining team flow and its contributing factors.
Multiple regression analyses show that the more often firefighters experienced stressors of teamwork (e.g., problems regarding leadership or missing shared mental models) the less often they experienced team flow. On the other hand, the experience of resources of teamwork (e.g., good communication and shared mental models) was associated with more frequent team flow. Collective orientation was positively associated with team flow. This relationship was mediated by the frequency of stressors and resources.
Stressors and resources that occur during teamwork predict team flow in firefighters. As team competencies are trainable, the study offers concrete approaches for interventions that strengthen teamwork and thus increase team flow. These can then not only benefit firefighters but also be transferred to teams working in other professions.
Relationships between Goal conflicts, Flow and Teamflow in fire protection operations by fire departments
Schwebe, J., Aust, F., Heinemann, L., Holtz, M., Hagemann, V., & Peifer, C. (2021). Relationships between Goal conflicts, Flow and Teamflow in fire protection operations by fire departments. E-Poster presentation, 10th Meeting of the European Flow Researchers Network (EFRN), Lübeck, Germany, November, 26th – 27th, 2021.
Flow and teamflow are states of high concentration and perseverance during task performance in an individual or a team task. Furthermore, literature revealed positive associations of those states with performance, information exchange and well-being. A prerequisite for flow and teamflow are clear goals. Incompatible with this are conflicting goals, i.e. goals that cannot all be pursued at the same time. In the field of fire protection, flow and teamflow can support successful fire protection missions. At the same time, conflicting goals are not uncommon during fire protection operations. Increased goal conflicts were associated with reduced flow and teamflow. A possible reason is that clear goals are needed to fully focus on the goal-directed activities. We found no difference of the correlations of goal conflict with flow and goal conflict with teamflow. This may be due to the importance of good communication and teamwork in fire protection missions, even for individual performance.
Effects of a team training for firefighters on perceived stress and cortisol levels
Aust, F., Heinemann, L., Holtz, M., Heyde, I., Oster, H., Hagemann, V. & Peifer, C. (2021). Effects of a team training for firefighters on perceived stress and cortisol levels. Poster presentation, CBBM – Five years in the new building, Lübeck, 30. September - 01. Oktober 2021.
Successful teamwork plays an essential role for efficient and safe firefighting operations. In contrast, suboptimal teamwork is a common but preventable source of danger and can lead to increased stress levels among firefighters. The project "Gemeinsam stark" (“Strong together”) aims to develop and evaluate team training that strengthens teamwork and reduces stress in fire operations for firefighters. For this purpose, a repeated measures design with an intervention and a control group is used. Multiple measurement methods (observation, physiological measures, surveys) are used to assess the beneficial effect of team training.
Entwicklung eines Teamtrainings zur Reduzierung von Stress in der Brandbekämpfung
Heinemann, L., Aust, F., Holtz, M., Peifer, C. & Hagemann, V. (2021). Entwicklung eines Teamtrainings zur Reduzierung von Stress in der Brandbekämpfung. Posterpräsentation, Dignomics Panels – Bremer Digitalökonomie 2025-2030, Bremen, 26. Oktober 2021.
Identifying stressors and resources in teamwork to counteract or promote them is important for safe and successful work. Teamwork skills can be trained and can thus contribute to stress reduction in fire protection operations. This is expected to reduce critical situations and increase accident prevention. However, the stressors and resources are not yet known for teams in fire protection operations. The aim of this study was to uncover these in order to create the conditions for designing target group-specific training on team cooperation. The most important stressors and resources were recorded on the basis of a nationwide survey of experienced emergency personnel.
The survey results provide insights for the target group-specific development of training modules for non-technical skills in fire protection operations, which can be tailored to the experiences of the emergency forces on the basis of the available data. Simultaneous attention to stressors and resources inherent in teamwork is so far unique and essential for safe work. The training modules are to be integrated into firefighter training in the long term in order to improve it, especially in the non-technical area.