by Catherine Mattiske · 24 jun 2022 · 3 min read
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7 Tips on How Organizations Can Rebuild During the Pandemic From Global Business Educator and Author Catherine Mattiske
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With the COVID-19 pandemic now entering year three, organizations are looking at how to rebuild their fractured teams. However, is bringing everyone back to the office the best (or only) solution? Catherine Mattiske, the globally recognized training expert and CEO of TPC — The Performance Company, shares seven tips on how organizations can rebuild during the pandemic:
1. Don’t Push Coming Back to the Office
While some employees get energized by social interaction and will likely enjoy coming back to work, others get energized by working independently and would prefer to stay home. “If you need teams to undertake physical work, they need to be in a physical space. However, if not, they can connect remotely,” says Catherine. “Why push them out of the space where they’ll produce their best work?” Smart organizations enable workers to continue working remotely and are becoming more and more commonplace, as:
- A 2022 Pew Research Center study says 61% of employees with a workplace outside their home are still choosing to work from home.
- A 2021 PwC survey says 83% of employers say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company.
- A 2021 McKinsey survey says one in three workers said returning to the office negatively impacted their mental health.
2. Go “Virtual First” in Hybrid Meetings
Hybrid meetings won’t be ending soon. As some employees begin coming back to the office, team leaders may be tempted to focus on them during meetings, simply because they are physically in the same space. This causes virtual participants to feel like they’re sitting in coach while their in-room colleagues are getting first-class treatment. An easy way to negate this is to engage hybrid meetings with a “virtual first” attitude, asking questions of virtual participants first, as well as engaging their questions and answers first. Another idea is to assign an in-room colleague to each virtual participant to ensure they aren’t having connection issues and are getting the files/links everyone else is viewing.
3. Train Learning Agility
With COVID-19, The Great Resignation, inflation, and the war in Ukraine, smooth sailing on the horizon is certainly not a certainty. “We need to learn to be agile and adaptable, and this is a learned skill,” says Catherine. To give employees greater resilience and pivotability when the unexpected strikes, Catherine suggests training them in the five attributes of Learning Agility, which upskills them in thinking critically about complex problems, understanding people and working effectively with them, living inside new and first-time situations, delivering results by deadlines regardless of circumstances, and fueling one’s self to constantly improve.
4. Build Translation Bridges
“Everyone fits into a specific set of learning, listening, and communication preferences,” says Catherine. “Once your employees understand both their preferences and the preferences of everyone they work with, they can begin to build translation bridges. This means catering their communication to the exact way that perks up another’s listening or stimulates their learning. By doing this, team rapport and trust will begin to regrow much more quickly.”
5. Create Fun Team Rituals
“Instead of employees feeling like disparate parts of something once whole, create team rituals to build chemistry and grow connection,” says Catherine. This can involve something fun like everyone naming their favorite song or sharing their favorite ice cream flavor at the beginning of a hybrid meeting, or recognizing birthdays and anniversaries with an edited-together video greeting from everyone.
6. Extinguish Zoom Fatigue
Take a page from Citigroup’s book with a company-wide moratorium on virtual meetings on Fridays and outside traditional working hours.
7. Be in Communication
Check in with everyone — virtually, via email, or in-person — and ask them how they’re doing. Is every team member happy with the amount of work they currently have? Do they feel overburdened or burnt out? If so, how can the organization support them? This helps create a sense of trust, empathy, and connection that is missing in a workforce that continually adds to The Great Resignation.
Global business educator and author Catherine Mattiske is the founder of TPC - The Performance Company, a leading training and consulting organization that has worked with Fortune 100 companies worldwide. Established in 1994, TPC has offices in Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, London, Singapore, and Basel (Switzerland). The author of more than 30 books, her latest is "Unlock Inner Genius: Power Your Path to Extraordinary Success" (September 2021). Discover more about your Inner Genius at thegeniusquotient.com.