In the first two installments of this series we examined what team building is, where it came from, and what it looks like in a virtual format. In this post we will look at where we are currently at with in-person team building and how it may evolve in the immediate future.
Demand for In-Person Team Building is Picking Up
As of March 2020, all in-person team building stopped worldwide. Here at Summit, we quickly switched to a virtual format and made the most of what we could for team building and leadership training in a world locked down by the Covid-19 pandemic. We did a great job adapting and we created many great virtual team building programs and training workshops but in-person team building and training is what we had specialized in, and we are all looking forward to the time when we can meet in person once again. And that time seems to be almost upon us. Covid cases are dropping dramatically as vaccination rates increase.
Recently we have begun to receive inquiries for in-person sessions once again and as a team building company, we are preparing for what this will look like, what will be needed by teams, and how we will adapt our in-person programs to meet current government Covid restrictions, company policies and personal comfort zones.
But, Reflection Is Important
For the last 16 months teams have been working remotely. Colleagues have only interacted via virtual meetings and email. Many new team members have been hired and most have never met their peers in person. This dramatic shift in the work environment created stress and anxiety for many. Although most teams and individuals seemed to have adapted well, the change has left a harmful mark within team culture.
At the same time as this cultural shift many teams and individuals saw their workload increase dramatically for various reasons. This combined with reduced team interactions, collaboration and communication added to the stress and anxiety for many people. Add in increased work hours and no formal break from work and home life and many teams and individuals have reached a breaking point.
What Will, or Should, In-Person Meetings Entail?
Even though many studies are starting to show that a large majority of people will have a preference for a hybrid work model (office and remote), this study and others support that in person time is best for socializing and collaborating. When the time comes to be in person, even and especially if that is only occasionally, you need to make sure you make the most of it. Teams are going to need to reconnect and rebuild relationships, communication channels and trust. For your first offsite you will need to cover some business content, but make sure you leave ample time for socializing and team building. This could be fun social events and meals, a facilitated team building program focused on relationship development, or a training workshop to rebuild skills in communication, emotional intelligence, leadership, conflict management, and change just to name a few.
For some teams the remote work environment will remain the norm and they will not be returning to the communal office. In this case, the few times a year that they do get together in-person will be critically Important. You will need to be very deliberate during these times to be a years’ worth of personal interactions. Your best bet is to use a professional team building facilitator who can help you craft an in-person event that will touch on all the important components of team learning, development and culture. A side benefit to this is that you don’t need to plan this element of your retreat and are free to interact with everyone and rebuild relationships yourself!
When you start to plan your next in-person meeting contact Summit to be strategic about building relationships, culture or team effectiveness.
About The Future of Team Building Series
Welcome to the future. Our world is constantly changing, and the ramifications of Covid-19 will be felt for years to come. We may see some changes caused by this pandemic as negative and some as positive. Regardless, the changes are here to stay, and we need to understand them and to adapt to them. In this 4-part series we will explore where we are coming from, where we are today and where we may be in the future as it relates to corporate team building and training.
About the Author
Scott Kress is an accomplished climber and adventurer. He’s completed the Adventure Grand Slam which includes the 7 summits and the North and South Pole. His storytelling based on his adventures is captivating, but what sets Scott apart is his ability to weave his stories together with his 20+ years of leadership and team development education and experience. Scott is the president of Summit Team Building, and is passionate about helping teams grow and companies flourish.