How is your team dealing with this period in time? As a manager or Human Resources expert, the pandemic brought many challenges in maintaining the team’s balance and combating the “storming” effect that can be more frequent or intense due to fewer face-to-face interactions and internal events at the office. This phenomenon can affect team cohesion and, implicitly, the employees’ productivity and commitment to their roles.
So the biggest challenge in these times can be maintaining team members’ wellness, providing a festive atmosphere, and creating the context in which the team can grow, feel energized, and be motivated to evolve.
During the past few months, decisions have been made that can potentially impact employees’ mental health. Switching to remote working made us experience isolation, a lack of space and time delimitation between work and personal life, uncertainty regarding our job’s stability, new restrictions, and rules in our society. These are just a few of the elements that marked how we perform in the present. The organizational priority is to recognize the effects of these changes and encourage a healthy and rational way of managing them.
Now, more than before, it’s worth having a broader discussion about the development of the team and the mechanisms we can put in place to ensure that our efforts so far have not been in vain and we’re progressing furthermore.
There are many dimensions we can take into account at the time we want to optimize the transition to a different lifestyle than working from an office: the cohesion of the team, strengthening a “finding solutions to problems, not problems to solutions” type of mentality, communicating transparently and openly about the personal disposition concerning work and the current situation at large, encouraging soliciting help or assistance in different organizational or lifestyle contexts.
The current global situation is, in fact, a difficult test for the individual as well as the collective resilience, especially when it comes to organizational environments. Ruth Blatt (2009), in her publication from Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research journal, mentions how resilience is dependent on the team’s ability to be creative in making usage of the limited resources to overcome obstacles in new ways. Thus, for an HR team or a manager, stimulating and encouraging the team’s creativity becomes an essential aspect of their approach.
Of course, when faced with adverse events, resilience is better when relationships are perceived as reliable, and there is trust in the organizational environment. The team’s cohesion becomes the lead role in the new set-up. It is to be understood as a tool that promotes constructive conflict solving and takes multiple perspectives under challenging situations, implying creativity again (Ensley et al., 2002).
Over time we had the opportunity to establish multiple partnerships and observe many different organizational cultures, which taught us a lot. We also came to understand that, behind each collective’s individuality, the processes that lead to forming a team and then performing as one are the same. So, we included many teams, have decided to continue with our team building programs, strictly following the safety guidelines, reset and rebuild the working frame, the shared perspective on our activity, and offer a chance for an optimal adaptation. We consider this desirable initiative, whether it’s taking place virtually or physically in a small circle.
Why would we do this? In a slightly more pragmatic way, we are listing below some of the elements that the experiences of several teams have revealed so far:
- Opportunity to reconnect - give context for much-needed discussions centered on colleagues’ relationships and how each member tries to adapt to the current situation;
- Create new working norms - avoid confusion, frustration, or poor performance;
- Have a feeling of belonging and camaraderie - even though at times it might seem like we are alone in this journey;
- Facilitate moments of support between colleagues - celebrate collective success and support the trust in the group’s resilience when faced with challenges;
- Welcome new colleagues - ease the storming phase that takes place with every new member of the team;
The initiatives that support all the psychological processes involved in successful team-buildings are some of our soul projects that bring joy and purpose to our team, especially as a few of our team members are psychologists.
The first team-building we hosted for a partner took place in the summer. We decided to get involved even more in this direction through The Psychology of the Developer project by Approach Academy. We proposed Harmonia Mundi as the gathering place for your team buildings, as it is close to Cluj, in the middle of nature, and is the perfect place for outside activities. Vlaha village is only 17 km away from Cluj, in the picturesque region of “Țara Călatei”. The sky and the earth merge on the hill that hosts the Harmonia Mundi guest house, where the beauty of nature embraces human touch.
In this “Castle of harmony” you'll find all the ingredients for a creative and vibrant team-building. Along with the team’s activities and games, take a walk in the surrounding area to get a well-deserved escape which can bring inspiration and recharge your batteries.
Human Direct has chosen this place on multiple occasions, and we are sure we’ll be back soon. Until then, below, you can see us enjoying beautiful moments together.
Whether you are reading this article from an HR specialist, a team lead, or a manager perspective, you should try prioritizing the objectives that team-buildings could facilitate for your team. Ask yourself: What would most help the team? Which is the path lying ahead of the team? What opportunities do I want to explore? And also, what are the obstacles I want to overcome?
Human Direct team.
- Blatt, R. (2009). Resilience in entrepreneurial teams: Developing the capacity to pull through. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 29(11), 1.
- Ensley, M. D., Pearson, A. W., & Amason, A. C. (2002). Understanding the Dynamics of New Venture Top Management Teams: Cohesion, Conflict, and New Venture Performance. Journal of Business Venturing, 17, 365-386.