The ‘need to belong’ relates to a human emotional need. The pandemic has played a full game with our mental health. A common shared factor that most of us have experienced is that we did miss out on meeting people, from gym mates and work colleagues to friends and family members. One might argue that some of us might even lost that sense that we are part of something.
The feeling of belonging is more than just working in a team. A team player is committed to the idea of mutual support, teamwork, and flexibility in completing tasks. A team player is also one that fits in easily, and quickly becomes an effective contributor to the team. Let us consider that as a good start. Team players communicate and use their strengths to support other members of the team. They are not afraid to ask others for help for their own weak areas. Leadership becomes a natural process if there is good team spirit amongst those who are being led.
Several have been questioning if we can build a team when working remotely. Can we? Do we still feel the need to belong? Let us start by appreciating that deciding to have a remote team is a big step for an organisation and the common mistake is when we assume that this is something trivial and can be accomplished overnight.
True, it can be accomplished indeed – but what are the aftermath implications we must deal with if we do not plan this? Building the organisational culture has always been a challenging task. Creating a strong company culture for teams working remotely is not even more challenging – that comes secondary, but is crucial and necessary. It is a must have! One may think that the smiling faces that we see during online meetings demonstrates job satisfaction and engagement, but is this a good measurement of this? How are employees feeling when the camera is off? How are we making sure that they are staying motivated throughout the working day?
Overcoming the communication challenges is a good start. Using the appropriate tools to build on that should follow. Employees are more likely to feel engaged, are more productive and perceive more value in their work. Work relationships matter.
Ritienne Xerri, Director