By: Mathias Willumsen, Head of Community at Epicenter Oslo.
After almost two years of quarantine and home office, it’s time to shift focus from house arrest and everything we’re not allowed to do. It’s time to focus on building strong teams at work and a positive and good business culture within the company. If we let leadership and communication go it’s usual course, the ultimate consequence may be that you are left with a B-team that you are unable to get into the A-team. No matter how hard you try!
The company’s A- and B-teams
Through various discussion forums and networks at Epicenter, leaders in Norwegian scaleups and established companies have discussed, among other things, how we are going to work in the future. A recurring concern in these discussions has been how the mix of in-office and home office can reduce team spirit, increase inequalities and complicate business culture. This often develops on the basis that the A-team works mostly from the office, and the B-team works mostly from home (or other places). The employees on the A-team are the first to be updated on what’s happening in the company, they have control over how themselves and colleagues perform and they are often involved in both small and big decisions. In comparison, the B-team experiences among other things, a lesser degree of control over their own, colleagues and the company’s performance.
Here are some tools to get everyone on the A-team this year:
Clear work strategy
The most important piece in this puzzle is to create a really clear work strategy for their hybrid workday. Make sure the employees are informed about where they will work from when, and which work tasks are best suited for what tools. You need to be building the company’s work strategy based on your needs and your employees first. Then you can take into account external factors that you can’t control.
Focus on possibilities and motivation
Now, I don’t mean that you should set out to risk your health (we are after all still living in a pandemic) On the contrary! Health should never be compromised, but it’s important to remember that you need to motivate your employees to do a good job, even if they’re not at the office. So focus on the opportunities of hybrid work. You get further by encouraging that ‘you are in charge of your own time, tasks and responsibilities, wherever you choose to work from’, than to come up with the not so motivating ‘you have to be at the office at 8 every morning to keep up with what’s happening’ – Or what do you think?
Optimize internal communication
The strategic question ‘is it important that every employee receives this information at the same time?’ is a really good tool for improved and clear internal communication. If your answer is ‘yes’, you need to make sure that everyone has access to the same information at the same time. In cases where you don’t have the opportunity to experience the reaction and interpretation to the employees, you should ensure that important information is interpreted as you have wished.
See all individuals
The casual chit-chat around the coffee machine is hard to replace. Therefore, it’s important that professional follow-ups take place in organized and equal ways with everyone in the team. Feel free to be creative with those you don’t meet by the coffee machine. We have all probably heard about the leader who went for a walk in the park with an employee? Maybe this is the time fr you to give it a try? After all, a bit of fresh air is always good for you.
Find an opportunity to celebrate
Finally, I would like to encourage you to create positive arenas where every employee gets to shine. This is a great opportunity to erase all signs reminiscent of an A- and B-team. An example taken from my own practice can be a weekly team meeting every Friday. Give every employee room to spend one minute in plenary to celebrate a victory from the past week. Big and small. If you want to go the extra mile, gather the team physically every now and then for celebration and bubbles.
Let the year ahead of us be the year where we differentiate between living with a pandemic and the company’s strategy, where the whole company is involved and where everyone plays together – On the A-team.
Want to know what the experts think of the hybrid workplace? Watch the discussions from our ‘Mastering the Hybrid Workplace’ event: