Find out why some teams are more successful than others...
I’ve carried out a lot of research on homeworking recently and I’ve noticed some common themes — loneliness, mental health, staying connected as a workforce and so on. Instead of delving into one of these topics, I’d like to share something that I learned from Head of Trello, Chris Kimbell during his breakout session on remote workers. But, before we get started, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my experience of working from home full-time, so that you can see where the connection lies.
Working from home Vs. working remotely
I work from home once a week and spend the rest of it in an office; for me, being able to do both provides the perfect balance. At home, I’m able to centre myself and focus more on tasks, while in the office I can socialise and connect with my team.
For the first time in my life, I find myself working remotely day after day, and the experience has been somewhat enlightening.
Since the UK went into lockdown, I’ve learned more about myself and my teammates. For example, my line-manager works in another country and so she is used to communicating with the team via software applications. The only time she gets to do both is when she comes over once a quarter for a week.
In our department, she is the only person who works full-time from home, and I feel that as a team, we can relate to her now more than ever.
Chris Kimbell’s talk is what made me realise this, as he spoke of the shift happening right now in the business world, where companies are being forced to operate remotely, and how those familiar with the practice are at an advantage.
He went on to state what he believes to be an important element that all teams need in order to be successful whether they are dispersed or not, and that is empathy.
Using research conducted by Google, Chris examined aspects of good teamwork and found it to be the key ingredient.
Put simply, empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, metaphorically speaking of course.
If it’s so important, why is it not present in every team?
Demonstrating empathy takes time and effort, it is something that needs to be practised continuously before becoming second nature.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Listen. Listening is a skill; often people are quick to share their own experiences and ideas, before letting others finish.
- Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Before making a decision, think about how it will impact others.
- Consider people’s feelings. Some people are very sensitive, even if they don’t show it. It’s important to be mindful of this before speaking — kind words cost nothing and can strengthen bonds.