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Teamwork and Sustainability

As we emerged from the pandemic in 2023, the conversation shifted to how many days per week employees should work in the office. It became something of a tussle across levels and possibly generations as well.

There were three factors missing from this conversation.

The first and most important is the climate crisis. This is a complex topic that has to be at the forefront of thinking about work and organisations. There are many roles that simply do not require a person to be in the office every day or even at all. It is widely recognised that frequent flying for business can easily be minimised or at least reduced and the same applies to commuting. It would be a great step to include this into calculations when discussing office work in 2024. And having contractual commitments to office space is no justification for spending time and energy commuting.

Secondly, one of the challenges of knowledge work is that it can be unclear what any one person is actually doing, often to the manager themselves. And this is exacerbated when staff work at home. The problem here though really has little to do with working location. So, 2024 provides a great opportunity to start to address that and focus on the outcomes that teams are working on together and become clear on the roles in achieving it.

Which leads on to the third and final point. It has been very strange and enjoyable experience to meet people in person after working together for more than a year online. We realise what it means to be human. It is crucial that people meet face-to-face to connect and discuss the work to be done. How much time do we really spend doing that? All too often, deadlines are in place and time is tight and so all the focus is on execution and delivery. And many of us have been in situations where, looking back, we recognise that we could have spent more time synching up at the outset which would have led to better communication, reduced frustration, better outcomes and more fun.

Many organisations could spend significantly more time team building and that is a great way to start 2024 – being more intentional about going to the office. The first challenge here is to arrive at a way to make this work as a group rather than a more individual approach. It is the avoidance of this tricky topic which has led to catch-all rules about which days of the week everyone has to be there.

These are all complex topics that are all too easy to avoid. At BML we know how to build teams with a deep sense of purpose that can solve your problems and help to enjoy the journey as well.