11 May 2020

Team Development – Keeping an Eye on What’s Next

Our Operations Director, Milla Clynes, shares her thoughts on virtual team development and how to keep abreast of what’s coming next.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people about managing their teams remotely. The common challenges involved in managing people remotely range from bad internet connections, juggling between kids and work or supporting a partner working, to the difficulty of engaging with people on a virtual call, the ever-expanding work hours and limited productivity, and to just trying to keep motivated and engaged with ‘zoom fatigue’ kicking in with most of us.

A lot of the norms and rules of the office have been thrown in the air and it’s hard to know the new rules (especially if they haven’t been explicitly agreed). People managers have been figuring out the new rules and are working with their teams as best they can to keep the business moving along. Stepping back from the challenges, can we all agree what an incredible achievement it has been for all of us having adjusted to working remotely and using unfamiliar technology so quickly and smoothly?! Digital transformation is literally happening in front of our eyes – and so much is being learnt about alternative ways of working in organisations. Let’s hope that some of the benefits of the situation (such as the short commutes, getting more outdoor time into the day, time spent with family and getting to know our colleagues in a completely different light) can be integrated in whatever our next normal will be.

Over the last eight weeks, we have moved from crisis mode into a stable phase and are beginning to get used to this new normal with all its benefits and challenges. Teams have had a chance to breathe and to think about how they are working and implement better workflows rather than the ones cobbled together during the first week or two of the quarantine. What we now need is to start looking at what comes next. If we allow ourselves to get through this crisis without thought about how we want to shape the next normal, we will have wasted a valuable opportunity.

Wherever on the government’s roadmap of businesses and organisations opening you are, things will not return to the way they were, and preparations need to take place. Restrictions and guidelines will be in place that we will need to abide by, but we should look to shape the future for ourselves, especially as regards to how we work together as teams and the skills we will need. Take some time to review the old ways of working, what worked, what didn’t work, then do the same for the current working arrangements – design a way of communicating, collaborating and supporting your team that works for everyone.

Right now, more than anything, people need work that engages them and motivates them. What a great team building and development opportunity to engage with your team to design your next normal together. Amid making business plans for reopening and designing the logistics around that, get your team engaged in thinking about how to redefine your ways of working, incorporating the option to continue to work and collaborate remotely. Redefine communication flows and make use of the ways we have learnt to communicate more often, more clearly, and engaging with each other in both a human and business-like way.

Now is a time to think about the new skills and competencies that will be needed from your team in the next normal and start working to build these. This is a time to rebuild, connect, innovate and learn together to make reopening and the next normal not only smooth but wildly successful. This is a chance for our teams to re-emerge from this crisis not only stronger but better, more agile and ready to take on and shape the future.


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