With every passing week of hybrid work, people who used to work side by side may lose the feeling of belonging, and identify with the company less and less. Why is team spirit important, and why do you need to look after it, even though half of contracts is still carried out online? Learn six ways to keep team spirit up in your company.
For people of 25 years of age and younger, workplace atmosphere is the second most important factor, just after the salary. (The report of Polish Agency for Enterprise Development “Job Market, Education, Competencies”, March 2020.) Although they don’t know the world without the Internet, they value being a part of a well-integrated team. Their older colleagues feel the consequences of limited interpersonal contact to a similar degree.
– Communication in the age of hybrid work is more important than ever. Home office weakens the feeling of belonging built on the foundation of common goals and values. This can present a serious threat to the functioning of the company. How can you prevent it? Certainly, you need to establish three rules for communication in the new normal. First: honesty and openness, second: mutual respect, and third: we talk about solutions rather than the problems. Then you need to look after the certain repetitive “rituals” – says Ania Ledwoń-Blacha from More Bananas agency.
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Informal team meetings
Plan informal team meetings, for example when employees meet to wish happy birthday to their colleague, it is very helpful in keeping the relations going. They were weakened by the lockdown, but they haven’t disappeared. It is especially important for dispersed teams, which didn’t have many opportunities to meet face to face even before the pandemic. The value of such “hybrid” meetings can be kept up, provided, of course, that employees had common conversation topics and non-professional passions before.
New team rituals
Create new team rituals, apart from looking after the old ones. They should be meetings that let people get to know one another better. Topics? Non-professional passions, recommended films or books, places where you can spend the time in an interesting way, and many more. If the team members had had a common experience of participation in sporting or cultural events before, it would be a natural continuation of such bond.
“Teammate Emergency Service”
Organize “Teammate Emergency Service”. In every team there are people who need either regular or ad-hoc assistance. They can be single parents, or people taking care of sick or dependent persons. Each of us experiences tough times, when getting assistance with groceries delivery or just having a sympathetic soul to talk to turns out to be invaluable help. The necessary requirement for this is, of course, being open and receptive to any offers of help and being honest in communication. All initiatives aimed at organizing help for the needy, for example the elderly, deserve your special attention. Helping brings people closer together – use it!
Lunch together at work
Having lunch together at work? Why not? As long as basic safety measures are at place! During common meals the atmosphere becomes more informal somewhat by itself. It is important to keep the time while talking about or favorite dishes and recipes (if we just stick to culinary topics), and don’t exceed the timeframe.
Introduce gamification, which is using the tools, mechanisms and schemes taken from games in order to streamline certain group processes, make them nicer and more interesting. There is no shortage of examples of gamification used to integrate work groups and improve efficiency. These can be, for instance, rankings of quality and speed of realized tasks. It is important for the “game” not to cause any animosity, but to encourage people to take an interest in how their colleagues are doing, and to share their experiences. Clear, transparent and consistent rules that cannot be arbitrarily changed are also crucial.
Internal trainings and workshops
Internal trainings and workshops with varied topics, not necessarily connected with work. Afficionados all over the world have one thing in common – the need to share their passion or hobby. So such activities support integration, broaden the horizons and teach new skills at the same time. Form Vietnamese cuisine to advanced Excel functionalities – everyone can share useful knowledge or can shine as an expert in something.
We are coming back to a slightly different normality, and we should remember that it carries new challenges with it, but also opens new opportunities. In the communication between employers and employees, new issues and new opportunities to get to know each other better emerge. You mustn’t let these opportunities go to waste!
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