Virtual Teams

You told your people to work from home indefinitely – what now

Many organisations have discovered the benefits of remote working and decided to offer, or even mandate, working from home for their people for an indefinite period. What should they be thinking of now to make this sustainable ?

Since we developed the worlds first remote teams training programme over 25 years ago we have trained well over 150,000 people in the skills of working remotely. We have also developed as a business with people working from home around the world as well as a small office location .

Throughout that whole period it has been clear that the primary challenge in people working from home for an extended is that of community. We can easily get the work done remotely but we need to create and maintain that sense of connection with and between people.

Part of this lies in creating a cadence or heartbeat of connection and communication that enables us to both complete the task and keep our people engaged.

If we start to undermine trust and community, then the virtual collaboration we take for granted can quickly break down.

We are about to have our summer team meeting in the UK. There are still significant restrictions here on how people from different households can meet and we will work within those restrictions.

We always try to keep our team meeting agendas focused on the community and the stuff that really requires face to face collaboration. Attendees do not sit through long PowerPoint presentations or monologues, but are constantly involved in workshops and the active co-creation of our future .

However, this year has challenged us even further to focus on the things that we just can’t do virtually.

When we cut this back to the bone, we get to the heart of community – having relaxed time to kick back, chat and catch up .

We will run it in a pub garden, using outdoor tables if it is nice weather or a marquee as a fall back .

The agenda and intent is to be very relaxed. We have had a pretty intense few months responding to our clients needs for support for people working from home and running virtual meetings. Our central office people were new to working from home and made the adaptation seamlessly.

We just need time to recognise what we have been through, capture what we have learned and discuss what we would like to keep from this period when we get back to something closer to normal. We also need to catch up, take stock and do all the mucking about we would have done during visits to the office.

If we can achieve this in a, hopefully sunny, pub garden for a day, we will have achieved our objective.

If you do have the privilege of getting face to face this summer with your team, don’t forget to build in time for goofing off.

Learn more about building remote community on our virtual teams learning path.

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