Business executive James Paterek says that giving people the space they need to voice the challenges they face while working from home is a crucial part of maintaining cohesiveness among team members.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closures of businesses and in many cases, entire industries, many companies had been experimenting with the incorporation of virtual elements into their workplaces. In the past, many executives argued that face-to-face contact with their teams allowed them to bond more cohesively and build a stronger unit. In the era of COVID-19, company leaders have been forced to find different ways of conducting their businesses. According to an article written in Forbes, virtual meetings have increased by 1000 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. James L. Paterek says that there are a number of things team leaders can do to maintain cohesion among their team members.
According to Mr. Paterek, business leaders have to learn to adapt to their new normal, but they have to also avoid allowing the circumstances that have forced those adaptations to control them and how they manage their workforce. “It is important for managers to learn to control their teams. This requires creativity and tenacity on their part. Having to manage an entire group of people is something that is an unknown for a lot of managers, however, leaders can’t be afraid of the unknown, and they can’t be afraid to explore new ways of doing things.”, James L. Paterek said.
One of the first things managers and team leaders need to do according to Mr. Paterek is to make sure that their communications with their team members are intentional and often. “It is essential that team leaders make a concerted effort to reach out to their team members two to three times more often than they would if they were working in the office. Each leader must ensure the communications with members of their teams are intentional and meaningful. In other words, leaders need to take the time to plan their communications before reaching out to their teams, so everyone gets something out of it. I would even go as far as to advise leaders to plan an agenda for all of their virtual communications with their teams.” James L. Paterek said.
Team reboots are a necessity according to Mr. Paterek. “It is important for leaders to acknowledge the challenges that team members are experiencing while working at home. Taking 10 to 15 minutes to allow members of a team to voice their concerns and frustrations in regard to their work from home experience goes a long way towards maintaining relationships and building new ones among team members. When there is a space that allows for this type of communication, people can see that they are not alone in terms of the challenges they face. Sharing and collaborating with people the challenging experiences others are confronted with today is crucial and eye-opening, letting one know they are not alone. It helps build and solidify a sense of community and opens the door for people to explore problem-based solutions,” James L. Paterek said.