Re-engaging with your team post-quarantine

Aug 10, 2020

With offices beginning to re-open, how can you engage with a dispersed and disjointed team? By collectively coming up with a team engagement plan, says Anna O’Flanagan, much of the worry and anxiety about returning to work can be expelled.

Have you thought about your team engagement plan post-quarantine? How can you rebuild a team that is currently dispersed and disjointed? Without a clear path for people returning to work, there will be some anxiety around the next steps. Instead of letting this mishmash of individual interpretations create the narrative, why not consciously and collectively think about a team plan to determine the 'new normal'?

How do we do this? Here are four pointers to get the conversation moving with your team.

Figure out the ‘why’

It is useful to revisit the ‘why’ of your team. Why does our team exist? Why do we do the work we do? Why do we do it that way?

This can focus a team’s attention on the purpose of their work and determine new priorities that may have emerged in the past few months. It can also enhance confidence around the approach and provide an opportunity to clarify any issues.

Share the lessons learned

Gather your team, either remotely or in person, to discuss the lessons they have taken from this remote or blended working experience and what changes you would all like to make as a result.

Create a plan

Write up the notes from the two exercises, create a plan, and share it with the team. Explain that it is a living and flexible plan, which can be adapted as you go. Seeing it written down will give team members assurance that they have been heard and that what they have said counts

The plan also provides people with a point of reference, safe in the knowledge that there is a plan that keeps the team at the heart of everything.

Meet up

Get together in person. It doesn’t have to be for long, and it doesn’t need to be indoors or even have a work focus. But, if it is possible, try to meet outside the office for an enjoyable experience together. Team members have been cooped up, stewing in worry and ambiguity for too long. It is time to meet (safely and socially distanced) for a couple of hours and be together in support of one another in these strange times.

Some teams are still cautious about meeting up in person, but there are many ways to bring a team together safely. Meet up in a park near the office on a nice day, or for a fun outdoor activity like an organised, professional treasure hunt or hike. These are effective ways to de-stress and re-unite remote and blended teams.

Anna O’Flanagan is the Founder and Head Squirrel at Red Squirrel Team Building.