The joys of working from home appear to be wearing thin. I’ve spoken to two senior executives this week who have told me that they’re struggling to maintain their enthusiasm and energy as a result of WFH isolation.

While retail, health, distribution, factory and other front-line workers have been back on site for some time, many if not most office workers have yet to return. Commuter trains and buses and city centres are running on empty. Pret-a-Manger, is the latest business to announce significant job losses simply because so few office workers are actually working from their office.

On a personal level, and as something of an introvert, I’ve happily worked from home for nearly 15 years. I recognize, however, that others need a certain level of social contact and team involvement to fire and sustain their passion for work and, in turn, drive their productivity.

While Zoom and Teams have played a critical role during the pandemic to help keep management teams connected, they are limited when it comes to actually building team cohesiveness at a deeper, more fundamental level. Following my conversations with the two executives, I searched online for ideas to build teams in a virtual world and, to be honest, I couldn’t find any.

With such a dramatic fall in social contact at work – and the consequent drop-off in the number of those corridor conversations where many of the big ideas begin – will the performance level of managers and management teams begin to decline?

Perhaps the biggest innovation opportunity to improve organizational productivity over the next 12-18 months is this: to find new ways of working that increase the social contact, inclusiveness and productivity of office workers and leadership teams without accelerating the spread of Covid-19.

I will come back to you next week with five ideas that address this challenge. But what about you? What ideas have you seen work that have improved the performance and cohesiveness of senior teams during the pandemic?

Off The Record: Step Into My Office, Baby by Belle and Sebastian

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What’s Your Post-Covid Business Strategy?

Find out how we’ve helped Mentholatum, the owner of Deep Heat, to re-focus their strategy, identify new growth opportunities and get on the front foot to succeed in the post-covid world

In just a few short weeks, Stuart helped us to cut through the uncertainty created by the pandemic and create a new, refreshed strategic plan that will enable us to rapidly bounce back from the downturn and accelerate the growth of our sales, market share and profits.

Rob Yateman, Managing Director, Mentholatum UK

Coronavirus White Papers

I have written three white papers to help business leaders respond to the coronavirus pandemic and crisis.

Powering Through the Recession

How to grow profits and lead your markets through the coronavirus economic crisis

Agility For Life

 The crisis has led to faster, more agile decision-making and action across businesses. Applying six key principles can help leaders embed these changes to create ‘agility for life’

Succeeding Beyond The Coronavirus Pandemic

If you want to succeed in the post-Covid world, you need to plan and act fast bow to reshape your business to the new realities and opportunities. Succeeding Beyond the Pandemic gives you a clear, 5-step process to reshape your strategy and accelerate your success.

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