The concepts of workplace flexibility, remote work, and virtual learning have significantly taken off in the last couple of years. Advancements in technology and a willingness from senior leaders to consider new concepts of how to accomplish work and provide educational opportunities have opened the doors to vast expansion in these areas. While the pandemic lockdowns necessitated some of these measures, the concepts appear to be very appealing to many for a variety of reasons. Workplace flexibility, remote work options, and virtual learning opportunities can be a great asset and alternative for many organizations, but we do need to be aware of the downside of going too far too often with these concepts.
There is great value in teamwork and being present with one another. A team is a group of people coming together to pursue a common purpose, achieve a common goal, or serve a common need. Teams bring out the best in individuals and help everyone achieve more. There is a multiplying impact of people working together. When teams are led well, team members are encouraged, challenged, supported, cared for, and motivated. Teams also hold one another accountable, offset strengths and weaknesses, and promote development. For teams to have the most impact, members need to be together and present with one another on a regular basis. Teams are strengthened when relationships are formed and developed.
When leaders lead well, the statement “Better Together” is so true and so powerful. Special things happen when people come together, form relationships, and bond over the common themes noted above. The key for any leader is to ensure people come together and pursue those common focus items. When that occurs, true teams are formed. Far too often today, we use the term “team” very loosely. A group of people wearing the same uniform or having the same company name on their pay stub does not make them a team. Teams are formed based on actions and relationships. Real teams are powerful, impactful, and are what people want to be a part of. The desire to work remotely by so many tells us a lot about our former workplaces.
People also develop more effectively when they are able to interact regularly with others. People learn when they can interact with one another, share ideas, ask questions, and experience different views firsthand. While there are benefits to workplace flexibility, remote work, and virtual learning, there are also benefits of being together in team.
After thirty plus years of working in the paper and packaging industry, I can attest to the value of being together! During the pandemic, we were an essential industry and had to find ways to operate safely together. Manufacturing work is not done remotely or in isolation. Our facility leaders did an outstanding job of maneuvering through those challenges. They provided great leadership to our teams in taking care of our people, staying focused on the mission, and meeting the challenges. Those teams are stronger today because of what they worked through together!
Hey, there is a place for workplace flexibility, remote work, and virtual learning. I just encourage leaders of all organizations to be careful going too far too often with these concepts and losing sight of the value to team. The military and many athletic teams are great examples of the power of working together. Leaders create a culture of teamwork and develop teams in the process. Team can be powerful! When leaders lead well, we are “Better Together”.