There has been so much conversation recently on how important it is for teams to gather again in person. Many leaders share powerful stories of the bosses and colleagues they met while interacting inside an organization. There have even been articles about the deep friendships that have formed while connecting on a project and then bonding over drinks and dinner to celebrate. The impact of shadowing a more senior person to understand and learn the true essence of a job cannot be overlooked as well.
The intensity of these discussions and debates of reconnecting in our physical workspaces continues to multiply while simultaneously we hear comments: “Work is what we do, not where we do it.” Well, what is it? What is the truth about the best way or place to work? Does it even matter?
What really matters is the purpose of our gatherings. If leaders in organizations and teams feel it is meaningful to gather again in person, they need to explain their “why”.
Five Leaps To Make Your Team Gatherings Count
1. Commit To A Purpose
According to Priya Parker, in her thought-provoking book, “The Art Of Gathering- How To Meet And Why It Matters”, it is critical to commit to a bold, sharp purpose before gathering people together. If organizations don’t explain their purpose in bringing people back to the workplace in a clear and compelling way, the return will either not happen or be unsuccessful.
2. Involve The Team Members
When leaders are deciding how to gather their teams for in-person time, it can be helpful to reach out and touch base with their team members. Including the team on where they are emotionally regarding in-person connections, will foster a great deal of goodwill as well as insights. Some questions to ask may be:
- How are you feeling about in-person work at this time?
- What are some of your concerns?
- What is most important that we focus on when we gather again in person?
- How can we prepare for the most positive and productive team gathering?
3. Set Up Collaboration Circles
Many leaders worry that pure remote working will lead to less innovation. It has been proven that when it comes to brainstorming, there is nothing more electric than an in-person session. Perhaps, one of the most beneficial outcomes of gathering again is getting a team’s ideas flowing more rapidly through collaboration. Be deliberate on which projects to brainstorm about when the whole team is together.
4. Encourage Shadowing Experiences
Another area of growth especially for newer team members is having the opportunity to see how the job is done by more experienced colleagues. This type of in-person shadowing will excite a return to the physical workplace. For those leaders who have been in their careers for several years:
- Offer to become a mentor.
- Establish one-on-one meet ups in the workspace for newer team members to work on skills.
- Reach out to team members who have joined in the past year and set up coffees to be a resource.
5. Put Time Aside For Fun
To build rapport and camaraderie, it is so powerful to add some fun to gathering again. Everything from human scavenger hunts to learn more about each other to creating team crests that reflect values and interests can galvanize even the most reluctant “return-to-the-workplace” individual. Additionally, with every encounter make sure there is laughter and praise. We are all in this new experiment together.
How have you made your team gatherings count?