Are you offering your team a cohesive environment at your company? The recent COVID-19 pandemic may be behind us. But the huge disruption to workflow and team performance remains a challenge for many managers. Some managers point to hybrid and remote work arrangements as problems that strain team productivity.
Crafting the Cohesive Environment Your Team Craves
Could remote work truly be the reason for a lack of team unity? Some industries don’t have this problem because tasks such as patient care or firefighting must be done in person. But Gartner researchers tell us that “39% of global knowledge workers will work hybrid,” in 2023.
Some companies have mandated that employees must come into the office on specific days of the week. These mandates have caused employees to engage in the “coffee-badge.” Up to 58% of hybrid employees admit they have driven to the office, swiped in on their badges and then returned to their remote work environment.
This strategy allows them the flexibility to commute when traffic is off-peak and still meet the in-person work requirements. Managers may also be among the employees who are swiping in for brief periods of time. They may then be returning to the schedule they established during the early part of the pandemic. At the same time, ironically, OWL Labs reports, “68% of managers believe that their hybrid/remote working employees are missing out on impromptu or informal feedback.”
Their concerns were echoed by researchers who studied the impact of extended remote-work situations at large companies. In general, business groups became less interconnected. Employees strengthened ties with co-workers they had previously worked with. But overall team performance suffered when the in-person time didn’t take place. For new employees, the ability to form team bonds was especially challenging. Managers can learn more about what each employee needs in their workplace environment by reviewing their psychometric assessment results.
Whether employees are down the hall or across the country, managers must improve the cohesive environment at work. The days of the shared break room at lunchtime may be gone. However, managers can take the opportunity to create shared team events.
Even a half-hour or or a full hour on a weekly basis makes a difference. Regular group meetings can range from game sessions to lunch-and-learn opportunities. Managers should insist that all team members participate. Employees who join by video session should have their cameras on.
You can increase individual commitment to the team by rotating the responsibility of coming up with an activity. Ask different members to direct the event.
Few people enjoy attending more meetings. But a brief time period, spent together, increases the cohesive environment your team needs.
When team members work in multiple locations, managers have a dilemma. They struggle to keep track of who is finishing projects, or their piece of a project, on time. However, individual employees notice these details. In a recent survey, sales professionals told us that their managers needed significant improvement when it comes to holding others accountable. Around 1/3 of sales reps claim this is a top weakness of their current manager.
Team members feel upset when a co-worker isn’t completing tasks. They might hesitate to report the situation. After all, they don’t want to be labeled a snitch and take a hit to their reputation.
Instead, they may retaliate by slowing their own work process. To increase the cohesive environment, managers must take action. They owe it to their teams to hold every team member accountable for completing assigned work on time.
Guidelines of Communication
Teams that no longer work full time in an in-person setting are struggling. Finding the most effective way to communicate is a key issue. In the past few years, chat tools and online video have been added to the mix. While some employees may prefer online chat tools exclusively, others opt to use email.
Unfortunately, the method favored by one employee may not resonate with someone else. Consider what happens when an analyst posts a worksheet to the team chat channel. If other employees expect to receive it by email, the process slows down.
To avoid frustrations and slowdowns, managers should collaborate with the team to establish the best methods of communications for workflow.
In the pre-pandemic days, managers focused on building a cohesive environment their teams. With employees now working from many different locations, managers may need to shift focus to generate the same results.
Photo by Fox on Pexels.