Embracing the New Normal as a Team

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The adaptation to the new normal is a great challenge that involves meandering through various unchartered territories. Team building is one integral aspect of organisations set for a major facelift. Culture, technology, and micro-decisions at the workplace are inevitably transformed by the whirlwind crisis. Hence, it boils down to the innovation and determination of team leaders to hold out against the changes. 

Embracing the new normal isn’t simply about being an astute observer of the latest discussions, trends, or fads in the shaken economy. It involves multi-dimensional outlooks that include present and future considerations. 

During a crisis, it is easier to focus on staying afloat than to thrive. However, a model leader understands that competitors are apathetic of the status quo and a top team needs to do more than stick together. Team building in the new normal (and beyond) relies on optimising the resources that are immediately available, while swiftly disengaging from systems and methods that are no longer effective (i.e. inflexible arrangements). 

Focus on Tech Proficiency

Digital technology is an axiom in the current age – a core truth of success. Modern team building, in the spirit of embracing the new normal, must exceed trust falls, work ethics, and department SOPs. Technology needs to become a part of the curriculum. 

Specifically, leaders should seek out the latest training modules in cyber hygiene and data management. Chances are, every group member needs a refresher or crash course regardless of their tech-savviness since technology is rapidly advancing. 

Rather than targeting a select few (and risk offending them) for these training programs, opt to enroll the whole squad. Take the opportunity to learn and upgrade your cyber skillsets in unison.

By doing so, team members can reinforce their knowledge on the subject by offering a helping hand to co-workers who straggle behind. Self-learning might be overwhelming for some individuals, so a group effort can go a long way.  

A staggering number of data breaches is due to the poor management of sensitive workplace credentials (i,e. Passwords, and identity access). As such, improved digital literacy will safeguard your organisation in the coming years, where technology is expected to only grow in complexity. 

Optimise Shift Work

While a complete work-from-home transition is impossible for most organisations, teams are alternating between remote and on-site operations in shifts. Team leaders need to oversee optimal coordination between teams via uninterrupted communications between both camps of the remote landscape.

Staff deployment should be thoughtfully managed to prevent disputes that may damage long-term working relationships. In embracing the new normal, team leaders should consider collecting feedback and reviews from each member to gain a clear understanding of their experiences in shift work. 

Keep track of each team member’s preferences to provide the most suitable arrangements for everyone onboard. Leaders should prioritise work-from-home slots for employees who are medically vulnerable or bogged down with extra commitments. (i.e. being the primary caregiver of young children or elderly parents.) 

Additionally, it is essential to consult the opinions of other team members before confirming a decision to assure that everyone is on the same page. 

An empathetic team leader will keep teams going strong during these tough times. 

Leverage on E-learning 

Increased flexibility in the workplace enables teams to approach training and skills development in convenient ways. Team leaders may consider recommending or sponsoring relevant e-courses for their team. There is a wide range of online lessons to choose from, ranging from employee engagement to tech skills and specialised compliance training, which can add value to a team member’s overall work experience. 

According to the World Economic Forum, education has changed dramatically. While the observation is largely based on the experience of school students during the pandemic season, many organisations have followed suit in taking their employee training sessions online. 

Studies have shown the practicality of online learning, with students spending 40% – 60% less employee time as compared to attending a physical classroom.  

Additionally, McKinsey & Company stresses the importance of habituating virtual training during the period of disruption – since managers can’t simply put capability-building on hold. The management consultant firm outlines a set of key tools and procedures to maintain strong engagement and a “community feel” during virtual live sessions. 

Team leaders should consider championing the concept of e-learning in their step towards embracing the new normal. It could prove to be a huge advantage in a landscape where many competitors may fail to optimise their flexi-hours. 

Maintain a Cohesive Morale

The new normal modifies traditional workplace practices – it is no longer as showing up, punching a card, or scanning an eyeball. Team leaders must possess the wherewithal to keep their members motivated despite the disrupted routine. Leaders can continue to promote and maintain a sense of belonging to the team and organisation through innovative methods that keep members interested in their jobs. 

Embracing the new normal may be about encouraging team members to follow a routine that mimics the natural flow at the workplace (but don’t expect an exact copy, there are many unique dynamics/distractions in a home environment). Leaders may motivate members to keep in touch during the separation while providing them with all the resources they need to complete their tasks without a hitch. 

Access the Public Cloud

AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure – Cloud options abound in the digital age. Clouds are versatile infrastructures that are extremely useful for a time like the present. These remote systems are ideal for resource-sharing and data storage, while being easily accessed and scalable according to the needs of your workplace. 

Teams can significantly improve existing remote operations and communications with the integration of a Cloud system. Consider it an all-in-one online hub of operations. However, leaders should be well-informed of transparency settings when adopting the services of a public Cloud as access management remains a top security issue. 

Leaders should also guide their members on the basics of Cloud use, either via an outsourced IT expert or an online tutorial. 

Team building enhances the chemistry between each member of a group and remains a vital process in every organisation. 

The new normal might be rife in novel challenges but an effective team leader should refocus on the opportunities of newfound flexibility. It is the perfect time for teams to be embracing the new normal: To think, learn, and expand in a world without boundaries. 

 

StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in empowering leaders by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you want to learn more about the Strengths Leadership Program, feel free to reach out to us here.

A devotee at the altar of language and a celebrant of expression. Laurenzo has written for various SMEs, MNCs, startups and international brands over the last three years. He specializes in topics of psychology, lifestyle, employee management, and digital trends.

Aly is StrengthsAsia’s marketing and communications guru and lead editor. She's over the top inquisitive and everyone in the company knows her as “The Googler” as she practically googles everything. Honestly, we all worry for her… She is also the Principal Trainer for our one of a kind ice cream team building workshops in Asia.

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