Time and again I hear the words “we are too busy” and “we don’t have the time for a team building activity”, but why are we all so busy and why don’t we have the time?
Has business changed so much in the 20 years since EML Team started trading?
The unhelpful answer is yes and no. No one can reasonably argue that there hasn’t been mind bending change in how we consume information and how we communicate with one another.
When we started our business ‘dial up’ was still a feature of checking your emails and the ‘web’, faxes were part of office life and there was more of an expectation to receive the odd gift from suppliers. We used to get a ‘free gift’ from Google for using Ad Words – I remember getting a really ‘cool’ memory stick from them, or at least I thought it was cool at the time. Imagine getting that now? The outrage at getting something like this (having spent thousands and thousands of pounds with them over the year) of course would nullify what was actually a thoughtful gesture in years gone by.
Information and communication have permeated every aspect of our lives making it tough to ‘switch off’ and making it increasingly difficult to be present.
The pressures of modern home life (children, swimming lessons etc) and the physical distances we now live from one another mean that a tremendous amount of time is now spent just getting to where you are meant to be - reducing our time actually engaging in what makes us happy or earns us money.
And what do we do when we arrive at our destination? We check our emails and social media account - preventing us from being present in the place we have just travelled to and sucking us back into the online world.
How can we make time for ourselves?
Perhaps the realisation of these pressures will be enough to understand that emails and social media are important, but in a balanced and scheduled way. If you have taken the trouble to go somewhere, such as the workplace, then when you take a break engage with the people you have gone to work with – they are there too and like you require social interaction rather than an abbreviated emoji filled text or email.
Our lives are busy because we have made it like this. Our minds are cluttered because of an information overload, our lives are stressed because we feel like we need to be doing more – but what more can we do?... I have noticed over the years that the more posts on social media that people make, the less busy they actually are and the more they require some sort of interaction in a virtual world. Speaking to a person face to face or doing something planned and positive would probably make them feel happier.
Just like Arnie in Terminator “becoming self-aware” is a massive step forward. Simple things like only checking your News App at the end of the day, your Facebook (and I use this term loosely) ‘friends’, can wait till later and in most cases your emails really don’t have to be answered within 10 minutes.
So what can organisations do to help teams find more time?
Bringing the team together, putting the phones away, disconnecting and communicating face to face may seem old fashioned but this is where things haven’t changed. The benefits to an organisation of having their people be really present and listen to one another can be huge in terms of performance and time efficiency. Distracted multi-tasking is fashionable yet overrated!
When thinking about a team session a good place to start is with the end in mind – would your organisation benefit from better staff retention, improved mental and physical wellbeing, improved support networks, improved communication, better team work, more constructive conflict, less silo working, better team interaction, being able to hold each other to account, staff not struggling on alone?
If the answer is yes then start by putting down the dataphone, close the laptop / browser and find time to be present and together in one place for a team session.
We won’t be able to create the perfect team or organisation in one day (or we would be millionaires), BUT, we will almost certainly be able to put you on the right path. Take the time to speak to us about getting your people to be present and really connect with one another because the importance of making time for some things will never change.