By Naomi Simson

How to create a sense of team while working remotely

The way we use time has changed while we are working remotely, but making employees feel engaged and part of a team needs to be a business priority.

There are many famous quotes about time. Here are just five that spring to mind:

    • “Time is money.” – Benjamin Franklin.
    • “Time waits for no one.” – Folklore.
    • “Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin.
    • “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” – Theophrastus.
    • “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey.

I seem to go from one video call to another, with not a second in between to gather my thoughts. 15 minute meetings with fast agendas… there is little time to even give the pleasantries or check in with colleagues.

How people spend their work time has shifted too.

People are far more aware of the time they spend commuting to work. We are not sure if people will go to an office regularly again. We had an office in the city and now we know we need to do this differently.

Surveying team members regularly is important to understand what is a priority for them. Less than 20% of our team wanted to return to the same office environment that we had prior to lock down.

However the same survey did tell us that they do want to ‘see’ and be with their colleagues more. They are looking for collaboration spaces and shared experience. They want to learn from each other and build proficiency.

In short, they are missing the sideway conversations that help them learn from each other and work on projects together.

How do you organise time and team bonding while working remotely?

In the short term we wanted to find something to bring people together to create a sense of team – without the commute (time is just too precious).

For the next few months what we have done is:

    • Found co working spaces in the suburbs near where our team members live, which reduces their commute time. They can have a desk if they want it or a meeting space to collaborate.
    • Reduced our meeting rhythm of weekly one on ones – to monthly face to face one on one’s. Team meetings also became monthly (with daily stand up huddles via zoom). We use technology even more now to manage projects.
    • The company wide town hall meetings have gone from monthly to weekly – to allow everyone to connect.
    • David Anderson Group CEO sends out a daily performance and project update to everyone so people know how the business is tracking and how we are moving through the projects.
    • Also we only have scheduled meetings in the mornings so that we have deep thinking and work time in the afternoons.
    • We have stopped running social events via zoom as people really just did not want to spend any more time in front of a screen.
    • Instead, we have created a whole set of shared experiences to bring diverse teams together.

As a result, the most recent survey saw the highest scores we have ever seen in terms of confidence in leaders, strategy and people are feeling very productive.

We came from the basic principle of do a few things well, time is precious and make sure everyone knows their priorities.

Whilst there is still much to do, we have found a new rhythm to our work that is delivering us results.

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