Written by: Betsy Kauffman, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
If you are keen to schedule another virtual happy hour for your team or require your employees to attend a multi-day virtual conference, please do not. I know this may seem unpopular and goes against everything recently written about virtual team building, but if your employees are feeling the same as most of my peers, they are dealing with screen fatigue.
We are spending an unprecedented amount of time in front of our screens because our homes are also becoming our places of work and school. No more commutes where we can zone out and listen to a good podcast or our favorite music. No more going out to lunch with peers or grabbing a drink with the team for a quick happy hour. I am guilty (like many others) of rolling out of bed and going straight into my home office to dial in for an early morning conference call. I grab a quick bite for lunch and quickly head back to my screen. Conference calls run over and go into the evening because we are no longer rushing home to get a child to practice or to attend a community meeting.
The lines of home, work, family, and school are all blurred because everything is happening in the same location and most days feel like "Groundhog Day." I am afraid there is no end in sight since most workplaces have yet to put plans in place for returning to the office.
Is there really such a thing as achieving work-life balance, especially in the world we all currently live in? Some say it is not possible because our work and home lives have become so intertwined. Some say it is up to each individual to figure out how to balance their own personal and professional lives. I believe it is also a leader’s responsibility to ensure each of your team members is finding the necessary balance to protect their mental health.
My first challenge to all leaders - turn your virtual happy hours and team-building activities into mandatory disconnects. Give your employees time to step away from work and connect to their families. Encourage them to rediscover the music they love or activities they enjoy. Commit to going for a walk or run so they can enjoy the beautiful weather instead of peering out over their screens to see the sunshine from their home office. My next challenge for leaders, set an example and disconnect, too.
When it is time to come together for your next team meeting, take time to applaud and celebrate how everyone disconnected. Your team will appreciate the support and “permission” to disconnect and will probably become more engaged, allowing your team to become more “connected”.
Betsy Kauffman, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Betsy Kauffman is a globally recognized Leadership and Organizational Agility Coach with more than 20 years' experience working in Fortune 500 companies. Her company, Cross Impact Coaching, helps leaders create innovative, aligned, disruptive organizations. Betsy has observed and worked side by side with hundreds of CxO leaders and has seen just about every variation of how Leadership Teams operate and execute (both successfully and not so successfully). She deeply understands and has experienced firsthand when the team of individuals charged with leading the organization aren't aligned, focused, and working as one, the rest of the organization suffers. She is a published author providing thought leadership to both the agile and project management communities and speaks internationally on topics around leadership, corporate culture, and achieving organizational agility. She just completed her first TED talk - “How To Have Open and Honest conversations at Work” in September, 2020 in conjunction with the TED@PMI partnership and was selected by the TED editors to have her talk highlighted on TED.com in the near future – stay tuned for more details!