Gone (but not forgotten) are the days of teams chatting over coffee at their desks of a morning; firing ideas around the room at a lively brainstorm; working together on a presentation crammed around a single laptop; or popping out for a well deserved drink after work. Team culture has changed and, while we don’t know how long for, it’s important for managers to understand how to keep their teams working well together despite the distance and ongoing uncertainty.
Here are Optimum Recruitment’s top ways to help your team work together effectively during the ‘new normal’:
Wellbeing should be very high on any manager’s priority list in these turbulent times: mental health challenges are still on the rise. You can establish a culture of support and wellbeing in your team by organising bi-weekly or monthly wellbeing ‘cake and coffee’ chats, wherein you encourage people to be honest about how they are feeling. Managers can also be sure to bring up wellbeing in 1-to-1 sessions, alongside encouraging staff to set firm boundaries for their work/life balance and not feel that they always need to be ‘switched on’.
Though by now most IT and tech challenges should’ve been ironed out, you may find some persisting issues with keeping your team connected. If your business is using Slack, Zoom, Skype, Teams, Outlook, Whatsapp etc., staff could be overwhelmed at the amount of platforms and find it very difficult to keep track of them all. Streamlining your platforms will help team communications become more meaningful.
Research from Zen Internet found that those who have experienced an unreliable internet connection – nearly 9 in 10 home workers – waste an average of just over 30 minutes a day as a result. If some of your team members are still struggling with poor internet connectivity or speed, it may be worth speaking with IT or facilities to establish a solution – as even an up-front cost may prove more cost effective in the long-term.
Just because the old ways of collaboration aren’t always applicable in this new world, doesn’t mean team collaboration is a thing of the past. Many teams are still upholding their so-called ‘social traditions’ – weekly drinks that have migrated onto Zoom, coffee mornings on Skype, or quarterly team building via virtual cocktail making. Some teams carve out specific time in diaries for a collaboration call, where people can log onto live documents whilst chatting in order to work together. What works for your team will be unique to you, but make sure to ask your team what they would most benefit from.
A team that feels empowered and not undermined will naturally produce better outputs. That means resisting the urge for twice daily check-in meetings, and instead establishing with each individual how much or little contact they need. Delegate tasks as fairly as possible, weighing up each person’s home commitments but also the wider needs of the team, and also promote recognition for achievements and a job well done.
Great teams work well together both in times of crisis and calm – and working to strengthen the efficacy of your team will help them to thrive in both. If you’re looking to add new exceptional talent to your team, Optimum Recruitment can always offer advice and support. Please do get in touch with any questions.