Virtual Teams

Let’s not drift into the old, or new, normal

Some of our clients have now started to schedule face to face training events later in 2020. Initially I thought, fantastic, back on the road visiting our clients and participants and seeing the world. I’ve always loved travel and the variety of meeting diverse groups of people.

Surprisingly though, when I started looking at the logistics of running a face to face training programme it didn’t look so positive. It takes me an hour to get to the airport where I wait around for a couple of hours to take a flight, after the flight it takes me a couple more to get to my location where I usually spend an evening alone in a hotel. I then work pretty hard delivering a training programme and do it all again to get home.

I have been doing this for over 25 years, it was my old normal and, on balance, I loved it.

Over the last few months, all of my delivery has been virtual. That takes a lot of energy too. As the facilitator you have to lead the energy of the group and you get much less energy back in return than you do in a physical space. However, you run the training from home and once you’re finished, you are back at your desk or home.

I am in the great position of largely being able to choose how I work and, with my own business, if I am not enjoying the work, I go and do something else.

My thoughts on getting back to travel made me reflect on the importance of not mindlessly falling back to the old normal, or indeed drifting into a new normal that I do not enjoy as much.

I was talking to the director of one of my client organisations this afternoon and he had just been asked to go into the office for a meeting for the first time in 4 months. He was surprised how resistant and dissatisfied he felt towards the idea of a single one-hour commute, when that was his everyday norm in March. He was envisaging at least a couple of days per week at home in the future.

I plan to be much more mindful about the balance of face to face and virtual delivery I do. I certainly want face to face delivery to be a significant part of my life for variety, stimulus and enjoyment. Virtual delivery is a great complement to this that enables me not have more time at home and to reach different and larger audiences at lower cost.

My face to face versus virtual dilemma is one that many others will experience as “to go in the office or not”. I am sure that the best talent will want to be mindful about how they spend their time in the future and that flexibility will be an important attractor (or not) for many employers.

As pressures increase to return to work in the office, how will you shape your role and your new normal to give you the flexibility you want and to stop us sliding back into some of the old dysfunctional practises that remote working has shown up as unnecessary. Now is the time to get your head around it and push for what you want.

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