For this blog, I will discuss the theme of one episode: “How to Improve Teamwork in the Hybrid Workplace.” Here at JP, implementing CliftonStrengths is something we deem essential to our workplace. In addition, we operate under ROWE (also known as a Results-Only Work Environment). This episode is a crossover for each of those things and how using the CliftonStrengths assessment can help improve an individual’s professional well-being, teamwork, and adjustment to a hybrid work environment.
…Not Everybody Can Be The Incredible Hulk
Did you know: There’s a 1 in 33 million chance that an individual will have the exact same strengths as someone else? As they say, “a great team is like the Avengers, and not everybody can be the Incredible Hulk.” Therefore, understanding how to use these strengths as a member of a team can be a huge advantage to everyone.
However, strength activation starts with the self. One of the first ways to implement this is by using consistency-related strengths to create and follow a daily schedule. For example, in an in-office work environment, people tend to become sick all the time. Their dishes, laundry, and cleaning are always catching up to them, and they may not want to spend time with friends and family outside of work. This schedule can take a huge toll on relationships and personal well-being.
However, in a hybrid workplace, people can manage time independently. They can prioritize scheduling doctor’s appointments, spending time at home rotating between cleaning and working, going to the gym, maybe walking their dog, and cooking healthier meals. By pouring into that healthier version of themselves, they become better equipped to be a more valuable part of the team.
Turn Off The Self-View on Zoom
Most managers want employees to achieve a high sense of connectedness with others when part of a team. This heightened sense of connectedness prompts more meaningful work, giving teams emotional associations to specific projects. Some advice from Collison on this topic includes turning off the self-view on Zoom. We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of a meeting and realize your hair is out of place, or something distracting keeps popping up in the background. Suddenly, you’re consumed with your appearance and distracted from the content of the meeting. By minimizing the self-view, users become more apt to stay focused for the entire duration of the meeting and achieve higher levels of listening.
Let Others See You
Another tip for connectedness using Zoom is always turning your camera on for others to see you. You wouldn’t show up to an in-person meeting with a paper bag over your face, would you? So why show up to a virtual meeting the same way? Now, everyone has those days when you’re not feeling “camera ready.” That is totally understandable. But by frequently showing transparency with teammates, employees are nurturing trusting working relationships. Giving the team a heads-up that you will be off camera for the meeting due to feeling under the weather or tackling a busy schedule shows that you are willing to be vulnerable with your peers. In return, teammates can activate empathy-related strengths to express support. Who wouldn’t want to work with a team that you know has your back even on your worst days?
Before the pandemic, when employees worked full-time in the office, cultivating relationships with others included daily conversations about people’s personal lives. This is where the term “water cooler chats” originates. In the hybrid workplace, this aspect of communication tends to be eliminated, and office chatter is reduced to work-related topics only. However, making time for these non-work-related conversations is vital to building connected hybrid teams.
Fostering Casual Conversations
At JP, we use Slack to direct message each other throughout the day. While the purpose of Slack may be to have communication channels regarding work, it can also be used as a means of informal communication. Employees can continue fostering casual conversation with their peers inside and outside of working hours by connecting with each other via a direct messaging service.
Just because your team can survive in the hybrid workplace doesn’t always mean they are always thriving. While human needs are consistent, the ways to meet those needs can be inconsistent. Employees love to feel that their managers understand them. When transparent about how they want their current needs met, managers can get creative about setting their teams up for success. In a hybrid workplace, this approach can look like providing clear and managed expectations, assigning meaningful work or allotting time for passion projects, and coaching rather than commanding. Unfortunately, employee engagement tends to drop when people don’t feel understood.
Managers will require creativity to individualize office processes and become highly intentional about managing different employees. But this is what CliftonStrengths is all about, right? Individualizing the workplace—hybrid, fully remote, or in-office—emphasizes team members’ strengths rather than harping on their weaknesses. And that’s what CliftonStrengths is all about!
To learn more about the CliftonStrengths, or take the CliftonStrengths exam, visit www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths.
Marisa Palazzo, Account Coordinator