Work is now remote. You’ve struggled as an individual to adapt to the change, but you’re also noticing organizational struggles as the group tries to come to grips with it’s ‘new normal’. Though most of us are adapting to this change as individuals, our organizations are struggling to keep pace. We’re working in new locations, with new hours, and have new workflows – but the organization is still in many ways stuck in the ‘old office’ way of thinking – and it’s having a bad impact on morale and productivity.
Rethink Your Meetings
Your team members have all have adjusted to new hours and new routines, but does your weekly calendar of meetings look the same? Made to meet the needs of a now nonexistent office, keeping to the schedule of a world that no longer exists can be a major source of stress and anxiety for your team members.
Even the way your meetings are held – if not examined critically – can impose unnecessary strain and undermine productivity. Yesterday’s brainstorming sessions might have been fun affairs at the office, but conducted over Zoom, might feel confusing and stressful to many involved.
On the other hand, this new world of work opens up plenty of new opportunities for meetings. Stage fright prevents many from confidently presenting their thoughts at the office – but in the digital domain – speaking to a screen might come more easily!
Try Standup Rituals
One meeting idea capable of helping many teams align and motivate their members is borrowed from software developers. Known as the ‘Standup’, holding these on a regular basis can have a big impact on team morale and productivity.
A standup is a short, simple, and highly informal meeting. Generally lasting no longer than 15 minutes (sometimes less than 5), it is little more than each team member taking a few seconds to brief the team on the work they’re doing that day. If someone is encountering a particular difficulty, or if their work requires the input of anyone else on the team, this meeting is an opportunity to consult the team for ideas, guidance, and collaboration.
The reason for the standup, however, isn’t just about team collaboration. Held at the start of the workweek and/or workday, these meetings become a small ritual that makes shifting from ‘life’ into ‘work’ mode much easy for members of remote teams.
Think About Social Sessions
Along with the water cooler, a big part of company culture seems to have been left behind at the office. In addition to losing the familiar patterns of work, we have also lost familiar associations and encounters with our colleagues. The lunchroom chats, birthday cakes, and little parties that colored office life are now gone – but we can fill the void with new ways to connect as colleagues and work friends.
Though the water cooler and lunch room are no longer available, today’s ‘new normal’ offers exciting opportunities for connection and team-building. Consider, for example, the idea of dedicating time for the team to come together online to play games together. Companies like Jackbox Games build simple, fun, multiplayer browser games that can be enjoyed by the whole team. Setting aside 30 minutes once a week to play them can help foster a fantastic connection and team-building!
Share Your Struggles
Newly remote workers have had to struggle with a lot of change and uncertainty, and they’ve each done so almost completely alone. Even now, they’re required to continually adapt their lives to a new and shifting world in isolation from their team members, communities, friends, and loved ones.
This struggle is a hard one, one that nobody expected, and one that nobody ought to go through, and one that nobody knows really how to deal with.
In the old office world, stating that you had no idea how to fix a problem was not encouraged. In today’s remote world, it’s a simple reality faced by nearly everyone working. Despite this, old office expectations prevent many from being honest about their struggles, denying them – and the rest of your team – the solution that might be achieved through collaboration.
The key to unlocking this kind of collaboration is to lead by example. Whether you’re a team leader or a team member, simply being upfront about the struggles and frustrations of living in this new world of work can have a big impact on team morale. Your struggle is shared by the entire team, but you and each member likely feel that you’re struggling independently.
Nothing brings people together like a shared struggle. Today’s work challenges may be more intense than ever before, but the bonding, connection, and growth we foster by struggling together could lead to a ‘new normal’ better than we could ever imagine!
Leave the Old Office Behind
Yesterday’s office is gone forever.
Whether we return to our old buildings or stay at home in the coming months, the world of work we once knew will never be as it was.
While we might mourn the loss of some of our favourite routines, rituals, and patterns – with the death of an old approach to work comes the opportunity for a new and better one.
Today’s environment is all-new. Old meetings, old approaches, and old thinking aren’t the tools that will help us understand and navigate it. Though the current state of work is a chaotic one, in that chaos is the opportunity for a new order that better meets the needs of your team and each of its members.
Fortunately, discovering that new order isn’t up to just you! Questioning old ways, trying new things, and thinking differently isn’t easy – but do so and you’ll find that your problems are shared by everyone. Earnestly seek solutions, and your example will motivate the rest of your team to come together like never before!