The coronavirus pandemic has not been fun for anyone. But for most if not all business leaders, it has served as a reminder that cohesion among teams is one of the most important aspects of their role. It isn’t always easy to achieve, though.
Globalisation has given rise to the number of organisations whose teams are increasingly spread across multiple locations. Overseeing these teams is a challenge for many of the hundreds of leaders we have worked alongside, but the experiences they have gained can provide a number of lessons on how leaders can keep their teams stay connected in the virtual workplace.
Here we share some of those insights with you.
Tech can’t solve all people requirements
While remote working has become the standard for many organisations, it would be wrong to assume that employees feel truly connected simply because the business is blessed with a plethora of remote working tools.
People are by and large social beings, and for perhaps the first time they have been ejected from a somewhat busy environment and thrust into one that sees them isolated from colleagues.
On screen interaction via video conferencing platforms certainly helps from an engagement perspective, but some individuals might struggle with this new and unavoidable way of working. As a leader, it is your job to recognise those within the team whose wellbeing is affected.
Micromanagement doesn’t work
During ‘normal’ times, leaders can see and hear pretty much everything that is going on. But in the current world of virtual working the ability to monitor what each member of the team is doing all day is impossible.
Rather than get tangled up in a tizzy, leaders should see this as an opportunity to stop sweating the small stuff, show your people that you trust them, and give them enough space to swing into action and contribute to the wider organisational effort to get through this pandemic in the best way possible.
And if anyone on the team is slacking off, trust that this will come out in the wash eventually.
Speak when there is something to say
‘Technology is an enabler’ has been one of the many mantras banded around during these past few weeks. While this is true, that doesn’t mean that you have to ensure you’re in communication with your teams every five minutes.
Organising team calls and one-to-ones each day or every other day can become overbearing after a while and could lead to over-communication. Instead, decide what virtual meetings you really need to attend and the frequency with which you hold sessions with your people.
With each of us free from the daily distractions of office life, for now at least, treat your time and that of your teams as the precious commodity it is and impact this may have on your business and the people within it could be profound.
Learn and share
Have you ever noticed when leaving the cinema, the number of people who immediately burst into a critique of the film they have just seen? The same effect can be had after attending a webinar or online training sessions. A great way to keep the communication and exchange of ideas flowing is to register your teams onto one of the many webinars that are happening right now.
Arrange a team video conferencing call afterwards where everyone can share the key take-aways they took from it, and how that might impact some of the work they may be doing. We all need support, and we all have ideas and one of the challenges associated with remote working is the lack of creativity that comes with having teams together under one roof.
Participating in an online webinar or training session is a highly effective way of overcoming that challenges and ensuring greater cohesion among teams. There is an added benefit to this, too. Various research has shown that when team members feel part of a shared experience, their motivations levels spike.