We asked Head of Impact Asia Helen Hibbott to share some of her top tips for keeping a team connected virtually. Helen manages the Impact Asia team across five different countries.
Sounds so easy right? And so obvious. BOOORING. Like we all need another Teams or Zoom call… But the truth is, connecting as a team, about being a team becomes vital when none of us will have the opportunity to be in the same room together in the foreseeable future.
Yep, more virtual calls, sorry. This is important because trust is most easily built between individuals, so make sure you're leveraging that 'relationship rebar' in order to build a strongly self-reinforcing team.
This happened a little in the early days of lockdowns, when we saw each other's unmade beds and laundry hanging up in the background. These days, most of us are using rendered backgrounds and the prompt to ask about each other’s 'real' lives is buried. We recently spent a fascinating couple of hours as a team showing each other a special place in the world to us using Google street view. I learned so much about my teammates’ early lives and influences.
Find a diagnostic you like or just ask yourselves some open-ended questions, such as: What are we doing well? What do we need to do differently? How will we know when it's better? Then, thrash out some new rules to live by and try them for a while. Then repeat. Teams are mutable, organic things, and need constant attention to ensure they are fit for purpose and fulfilling to be part of.
This can be hard, especially when business pressures are enormous and everyone is tired and stressed, but creating the space and permission, and instigating the game, can provide a much needed release and bonding moment.
Bottom line: we are learning that everything you need to do to keep a team together face-to-face, you can do virtually. So don't hold back – just have a go and try some stuff. When the world is in flux there is no excuse for not trying new things. You may find yourself left behind if you don't.