Virtual Team Meetings for the New Office/Remote Working Hybrid Model
We are over a year into the pandemic, and we have our fingers crossed that 21st June 2021 will be the last time we enter lockdown restrictions. A glorious summer (British weather dependent) looks likely to deliver a spending boom as we take advantage of the chance to properly catch-up with friends and family.
The same applies within the workplace too. Many of us have been working away at makeshift desks during the pandemic and there is a desire to get back into the office, meet with colleagues, share ideas, discuss Love Island or the latest box set doing the rounds (some of us still watch The Office).
It is unlikely we will be going back to 5-days a week of commuting, but there is an acceptance from business leaders that the office/remote working hybrid model is here to stay.
Not all our staff will be in the office at the same time 5-days a week, with a rota system becoming the norm. As a result, waiting for physical meetings to occur will slow down the pace of innovation creating the need to adapt our working practices. The challenge for businesses is how to replicate the creativity that stems from in-person meetings; be that formal away days, impromptu meetings, or water-cooler moments.
Virtual Team Meetings
It might feel that the time for virtual team meetings has been and gone, but that is not the case. With teams still working remotely, even in an office/remote hybrid model, there will still be a need for teams to meet, catch-up, share in the culture that binds them together and develop relationships.
Indeed, the office/remote hybrid models lends itself quite nicely to a blend of virtual and in-person team meetings. We all accept there is a need for in-person team meetings, to share in each other’s success, learn from our mistakes, and build towards a brighter future for the business.
But we do need to stop looking back and waiting for a ‘return to normal’, and instead celebrate how we have demonstrated innovating thoughts and practices through the pandemic and focus on what we can learn from this period to carry us forward.
The challenge for leaders is to create new environments where innovation can thrive and ensuring every single individual in our team feels empowered and energised, that they have a voice, and their ideas will have an impact on the strategy moving forwards.
Virtual team meetings, interspersed between the in-person meeting, provide an opportunity for that empowerment. Within the virtual setting the traditional meeting hierarchy dissipates, there is not the deference to the HIPPO to seek their approval with the discussion trajectory, and the meeting attendees need to wait for the person speaking before adding their voice.
This environment provides a platform for junior team members and those who are not as confident as speaking up in the office environment to put forward their thoughts and ideas. The immediacy of decision making is taken away as the discussion is concentrated on the topic at hand.
There is no doubt we have come to appreciate the value of in person meetings, impromptu gatherings, or water cooler moments as we have all sat in our makeshift offices at home. We have valued the time we have gathered with our peers and teams over the virtual meeting room to chew the fact and grasp hold of that social interaction we have all been missing.
However, this is balanced as it has been while struggling with the ‘zoom fatigue’ and the regimented restrictive conversation flow that occurs in a virtual meeting.
To maintain the energy within the team and foster those crucial relationships, the ‘virtual teambuilding event’ is the perfect opportunity to inject some fun downtime into our busy lives.
While it certainly does not make-up for the lack of personal interaction, for individuals who prefer to work remotely, or for those teams who are separated by location, a regular team bonding exercise can reduce the feelings of isolation and disconnection from the rest of the team.
Building rapport between colleagues will help them to communicate openly and solve problems more effectively. The teambuilding event is the ice-breaker moment, a chance to have a shared experience which binds colleagues together.
There can be no doubt we are in a new normal. The 2020s are set to become a defining decade for the future of work, and the businesses which understand the opportunities this brings will be the ones that forge a path ahead of the rest.
We have a team of experts who have been helping businesses organise virtual teambuilding activities since lockdown began. With no sign of abating, why not call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discover what we think could work best for your team?
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