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  • Writer's picturePatrick Littorin

The pandemic places greater demands on cooperation

Due to the ongoing pandemic, more and more people are working from home. There are also many indications that our home offices are here to stay. The benefits are several: As an employee, it gives us more freedom to plan our working days. In addition, we save a lot of travel time. We have quickly learned to use digital meetings and discovered that the technology with video meetings works unusually well. Therefore, several of our large companies are now pulling down their office space and terminating their expensive leases. The companies estimate that they will have about 40 percent lower office needs in the future.

At the same time, there are warning signs that employees' mental health is deteriorating more and more. Researchers do not yet really know why. But the swedish newspaper Dagens Industri writes in an article that 73 percent of us are uncommitted at work. At the same time, lack of commitment is so difficult to detect. The employees arrive on time and do not quarrel, they do their job while waiting for lunch and after a few hours they are allowed to go home.

Without physical meetings with co-workers, we risk becoming even more uncommitted. It is perhaps more fun to play with your newly purchased puppy than to solve a work problem. At the same time, the consequence is that our managers are finding it increasingly difficult to control what we do during the day. That's why the American management magazine Harvard Business Review gives advice on how we can strengthen the team spirit and corporate culture. Good teams should be:

  • Candor. Can the team have an open, honest dialogue, as well as give feedback to each other? An honest dialogue between employees is necessary to jointly identify and solve the problems that arise.

  • Resourceful. When problems arise, can the team come together to create creative and effective solutions? Secure teams welcome challenges and are strengthened by adversity. They are solution-focused.

  • Empathic. Do they care about each other and show compassion, both in ups and downs?

  • Humble. Can they ask for - and accept - help from other team members? Really strong teams recognize when a problem arises and ask for help. They do not hide their problems but trust the group's shared responsibility.

At the same time, the councils do not solve all the problems that may arise while you work at distance. The team's perseverance and ability to solve problems also require self-insight on the part of the participants. It is not a given that everyone has the empathic ability. Therefore, the manager must be able to evaluate team members, identify weaknesses and develop strategies that help the team build trust and security, as well as openness and self-insight.

Achieving this requires leaders who create a culture that:

  • Feels psychologically and emotionally secure. Everyone in the group should dare to share their thoughts and feelings with each other.

  • Allows outside experts to join the group to provide more objective views, for example in the event of a conflict.

  • Enables the team to dare to share both positive and negative events with each other. Team members should be encouraged to express their fears and challenges.

At the same time, the manager himself must be able to show that he cares about the team. Ask - and listen to - how it goes and what problems have arisen. You must quickly identify if someone feels left out. Any tendency for someone on the team to hesitate to help a colleague is a sign of a deeper problem.

Each team can be likened to a rechargeable battery. It needs both nursing and regular recharging.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, 2021, February 16th.

Harvard Business Review, 2021, January 21th.

Dagens Industri, 2013, November 16th,.

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