We’re beginning to get back together. But how have two years of dislocation affected employees and how do leaders, managers, and HR professionals work to rebuild and reenergize teams?
Meeting the challenges
Organizations have made valiant efforts to keep teams together during the pandemic. Most obviously they used Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, and other meeting apps to ensure people stayed connected and continued to collaborate. Managers and HR have been resourceful and inventive in trying to overcome the social deficit when people could no longer meet up in person. Online coffee breaks, virtual equivalents of teambuilding exercises, and mindfulness sessions have helped employees cope with isolation and distance.
Things have changed
But, mitigating efforts aside, the pandemic has altered the way we work. On the plus side, we’ve realized that technology can enable us to carry on working together even when we’re remote. This continues to benefit organizations that operate in different locations. Greater connectivity has also increased the scope for hiring talent. Now we know we can onboard new hires online we can dramatically expand the catchment area for hire. Rather than insist that employees relocate, businesses can come to them.
But we can’t ignore the negatives. For many employees, the stress of trying to manage work and personal life from home has proved too much. While hiring has continued new employees have missed out on those ‘welcome to the organization’ meetings and getting to know their colleagues. And, good though it is, the technology we’ve used hasn’t always matched the advantage of physical proximity with the chance encounters in the workplace that is so important for informal learning and knowledge sharing.
Our reliance on technology and automation and the sense of dislocation and disruption are likely to continue, so we as leaders and HR professionals need to react and ensure that our people can cope with the change.
Already organizations are using a hybrid model of working to make the best of both in-person and remote working giving employees more flexibility and choice and improving the work-life balance. You can put in place further measures to help employees overcome the stress of the pandemic, rebuild their mental resilience, and promote their general wellbeing so that they are ready for the challenges ahead.
8 tips on teambuilding after Covid:
- Recalibrate goals: Much of the past two years has been about surviving. Now we need to concentrate on thriving. Revisit your collective goals and objectives and make sure your employees’ development and wellbeing are at the heart of whatever you hope to achieve.
- Offer opportunity: Challenge the sense of stagnation by offering upskilling and reskilling. Development opportunities benefit both the individual and the team.
- Make sure people are in sync: Some people in the team may continue to work from home even if only part-time. It’s important for the team that they don’t miss out. Prioritize synchronous activities whether it’s learning together at the same time (hybrid learning) or organizing social events. The participation of all is critical for effective teamworking.
- Reconfigure the workspace: Create a communal space for social gatherings. It’s important that people have an area where they can meet and share experiences. This open space is particularly important when people are not in the workplace all the time. It allows them to drop in and not miss out.
- Check on mental health: Thankfully our general awareness of the importance of good mental health has increased. But as team leaders, we need to be proactive and take time to check in with our teams and ask them how they’re feeling. Concern for mental health needs to be seen as a key part of teambuilding. Poor morale affects performance and impedes teamwork.
- Practice empathetic leadership: Listening to the concerns of your team members and showing compassion. The benefits of displaying empathy include better team spirit, greater engagement, and a healthier working environment.
- Promote inclusivity: Working apart for so long has left people feeling isolated but also given them time to reflect on what they want. As the team recoalesces, you can put their experience to good use by being receptive to diverse opinions. Involving and valuing every team member improves cohesion and increases collaboration.
- Keep using and adapting technology: Digital learning and working support effective team building by allowing access to information and good communication in the workplace or when working remotely. Digital learning platforms can deliver learning on issues such as leadership, employee wellbeing, and conflict resolution when and wherever you or your team need it. E-learning offers opportunities for simulations, role plays, and gamification to get employees learning and support upskilling. Social learning encourages collaboration and enables teamwork to occur outside of formal team sessions.
We’re stronger and more effective when we work together, so support your teams.
To find out more on how you can help your organization move forward to the post-pandemic era, get in touch now.
Rob is Learning Pool’s Head of Marketing, providing marketing leadership across all facets of Learning Pool’s brand, products and technologies.
He started his marketing career in the late ’90s, with significant time spent working in the media sector and is particularly skilled in Marketing Management, Digital Strategy, Research and Market Planning.
Rob holds a Master’s Degree (MSc) in Marketing Management from Manchester Metropolitan University. He now spends most of his time working out how to clearly communicate our ever-growing range of learning technology solutions to interested audiences in Europe and across the US.
Away from the office, Rob tries to balance family life with a passion for cycling, hiking, travelling and all things outdoors.