How is your team coping? Getting back to normal isn’t a walk in the park.
The past two years have seen a lot of disruption, and as new health advice becomes available, teams all over the world have tried their best to adapt and to understand what’s expected of them. Now, while we are still managing some aspects of the pandemic, it’s clear that ‘getting back to normal’ isn’t as clear cut as many people thought it would be.
There continues to be changing advice, restrictions and outbreaks, and the messaging coming from all angles seems to be conflicting and inconsistent. Each person is doing a lot of work to understand what’s expected of them, what the ‘right’ thing to do is, and what their own personal boundaries are when it comes to staying safe – all while moving to work from home, back in the office, and home again.
For leaders, it can be particularly tricky to navigate as you try to balance productivity, safety, team cohesion – all while the expectations are changing regularly. As a leader, it is your responsibility to come up with different ways to ensure the productivity of your team throughout these times. If you’re finding it a challenge to operate through this time, remember that keeping it simple is the way to go. Here are three ways you can do that:
Keep to your groove
Stay consistent in the way that you communicate with your team. Whether you’re meeting daily or weekly, make sure you keep doing it, regardless of whether your team is in the office, working from home or combining the two in a hybrid model.
Leaders should no longer be factoring ‘location’ into the equation. No matter where your team is working, there is no reason they can’t be in the team meeting or in a 1:1 meeting and leaders should ensure the framework is there for this to be possible. Location can’t be an excuse.
Reward and recognise
While the goal is to operate ‘as normal’, it’s clear that this is quite the challenge, and has been for some time now. Leaders should take more time to consider the efforts their team members are going to throughout this time to keep your organisation operating effectively.
Acknowledge your team for the work they do and continue to motivate them as they deal with the frustrations and challenges that continue to arise.
Check in – regularly
Leaders should be doing all they can to keep the door open, so that team members can bring any concerns or problems without feeling as though they’re unable to raise them.
Check in on your team members to see how they’re going – ask them the question directly, both formally and informally to ensure you’re across the real issues that your team is facing.
Change things up
Keeping your routines is important, but there’s no reason you can’t change things up occasionally. Those who struggle to come into the office and work from home may be missing the face-to-face opportunities, so consider conducting your regular Monday morning meeting from a cafe that’s conveniently located. This option means they aren’t pressured to come into the office, but it shakes things up enough in a non-threatening way.
Consider team building activities, ice breakers before sessions before meetings and other different things that can help your team to feel comfortable together and add some variety in what can be considered a repetitive and mundane situation – particularly for those working from home, physically apart from the rest of the team.
Global messaging is going to continue to be inconsistent and confusing, and we can expect this trend to continue for some time. As long as leaders are consistent in the way they’re leading, the confusing messages from the outside world can become a little easier to deal with, with every team member knowing what’s expected of them within their working environment on a daily and weekly basis.
Are you thinking about how you can bring your team back to the office with ease? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.