It’s spring on Vancouver Island and so the old orange lawn tractor and my new green lawn tractor have come out of winter hibernation. Good old “Orangey” no longer has a cutting deck and is used to tow around my grandkids in a homemade wooden trailer to pick up branches or firewood from the backyard forest and the larger Mr. Green is eager to cut into the spring grass.
No Big Deal: Both of these valued members of the Falk family acreage needed a “jump start” to get them fired up for the season ahead of them.
Your office staff and field crews have metaphorically come through a long protracted winter of working from home, driving alone, working behind glass and in unnatural isolation. Our brains adapt to our environments. If the “winter” had lasted just 2 weeks to “flatten the curve” most of our staff wouldn’t need a jump start to get going again in the team environment. Unfortunately in my part of Canada the winter has lasted over two years resulting in our brains adapting to the very unnatural environment of working from home and alone resulting in significant reduction of personal human interaction.
If your social skills seem a bit rusty and when you climb onto the seat of your former life and you are greeted with a “dead” battery please know that you are not the anomaly, the odd one out, we collectively have all become odd and awkward and in need of a planned out, executed Jump Start.
How to Jump Start your team:
1. Hold an office party
2. Book a training focused on team building
3. Plan a retreat
4. Fire up the BBQ and flip some burgers and then do it again and again
5. Facilitate an AAR (After Action Review processing the work from home “winter”)
6. Bring in 3rd party help to re-open communication
7. Schedule daily or weekly “check-ins”
8. Have in person staff meetings that include laughing
9. Normalize the awkward and talk openly about it
10. Build blocks of time for staff and crew to visit and cross-pollinate
Without the Jump Start:
1. Some will never rejoin, which is tragic
2. Others will leave in search of team
3. Absenteeism and mental health recordables will spike
4. Morale will tank affecting safety and production
5. The isolation with continue resulting in chronic miscommunication
We have lost a lot of our battery charge over the 2 year winter. We need a Jump Start. Someone with forethought needs to step up and schedule, plan and execute the spark to get the TEAM dynamics running smoothly.
On behalf of Orangey and Mr. Green: Don’t leave it to chance.
It’s no big deal, just jump start your team.