It was great to get the team together last month for our annual summer picnic and ‘school sports’ day.  Being a primarily remote business, these opportunities to get together and connect as human beings are really important.

The nature of our work means it was easy to adapt to remote first working and in many ways we are more efficient and effective that way.

Personally, I work best with a mixture of focused, home working time and then a change of environment getting into the office; socialising with colleagues and clients, and even the ritual of the commute (most of the time).

But I know everyone is different, so we’re constantly thinking about the right balance.

Despite the obvious time and cost efficiencies of remote working there are three key elements that I think we need to be mindful of;

Opportunities to learn (by osmosis)
We’re blessed with an experienced team of specialists who embrace continuous learning and know how to make it happen in any environment.  But there is something about being in a room with other people with different skills.  Unstructured problem solving.

It’s also worth mentioning ‘recombinant innovation’.  Not something that requires diverse team connecting but happens much more naturally when people come together.

Workshopping bigger challenges
We’ve evolved how we run workshops remotely and in many cases wouldn’t go back to in person meetings.  But there are some topics/situations where I really believe that you can get more done by being in a room together.  Usually the bigger, broader topics.

Connecting as people
There is a lot less small talk when we connect via task focused Slack messages or Teams calls.  Those ‘water cooler’ conversations where we got to know what people got up to at the weekend, how their sports team were doing, their house, family, holidays, etc.  They all helped us to connect as human beings.

That connection is what can help us deal with the tougher moments, when deadlines are looming and things aren’t going to plan.  Also how we can better enjoy the wins, the moments of achievement and opportunities to grow as a group.

It’s that last topic that makes events like our sports day so important.  Finding ways to get the group together and the freedom to ‘not talk shop’ is a critical part of how we stay healthy.

And also create opportunities to create amazing videos like this one;