Recently I’ve been back doing in-person workshops, and the thing that has struck me the most about the team away-days I’ve been facilitating is the amazing power and energy in the room. 

With most of us having mainly worked from home in the last 48months, we have been working in isolation, by ourselves, and so the only energy in the room is US. So if we are a bit flat or our fuel tanks are running on empty, then there’s no-one around to pick us up or give us a boost, it’s all down to us (which is why I’ve talked extensively about how important it is for us to look after ourselves when working from home). 

However, now most of us are heading back to the office (at least for part of our working week), and although the office is likely to have far fewer staff than it would usually, have you noticed the difference in the energy when you’re there? Has it picked you up and made you smile to see your colleagues and once again be able to chat together as you make a cuppa? 

All this talk of energy might sound a bit WOO-WOO, but I promise you it’s real science. We have been stuck by ourselves at home in front of our laptops or computer screens and so all our interactions with people have been through a screen. However, your technology only takes your energy, whereas when you meet someone in-person there is an energy exchange – you literally feed off each other at an energetic level. So, when you like someone and you’ve not seen them for a while, you always get a buzz, a little energy boost from being with them. It picks you up when you’re feeling down or feel that you’re running on empty. 

Now, the thing is you probably never really noticed that before. But now we’ve been away from others, when you get back with them you will notice it much more readily. 

When consultants talk about ‘harnessing the power of your team’ I’m sure you’d normally have switched off at that point, as you felt it was a real business jargon thing, just consultants making up stuff to get you to cough up some more money and give them more work (and I’m sure in many cases it was!) However, there is something real to it – there is a literal power in your teams that hasn’t been tapped into or properly utilised for a while. 

At Meta we have researched extensively over the last 20 years into what makes an excellent team, and how we describe an excellent team in its simplest terms is as being ‘more than the sum of its parts’. Now, in order to be ‘more than the sum of your parts’ you need to be getting the best from everyone and finding synergies between you that enable you, as a team, to deliver even more than you think possible, given the number of people in your team. 

Most teams have been working individually for most of the last year and have only just started coming back together in person in the office. So actually, the power, the energy of your team has been dependent on individuals as you’ll have mostly been working at home. Even now that you are coming back to the office, it’s unlikely that your whole team will be together on any given day so, although it’s definitely better than it was and you’ll be getting energised by being with some of your teammates again, it’s still not harnessing the potential power and creative energy that exists within your team. 

The other thing to raise here is that many teams will have new members who have joined in the last 24months, team members who have done their best to integrate into the team, but who you won’t know as well as if you’d have been spending this time working with them at the office, day in day out. Do you know what their strengths are? Do they know what yours are? 

Now, more than ever, as we try to get our businesses out of the Covid tunnel and back on track, we need to be harnessing the potential held within our workforce, within our teams. The likelihood is that most teams will have not met properly together in person in the last 24 months, and that’s a heck of a long time to not get together! 

We are, at the end of the day, social animals, but much more than that we thrive off each other’s company and, when we get together, it’s amazing what we can achieve – we fire off each other and can come up with amazing stuff if we just get together and have space and time to think and reflect. It’s also important for us to re-connect as teams, to jointly re-commit to one another, look forward to the year ahead and co-create our future plans together. 

We’ve all tried our best to make virtual working work, and I know from personal conversations with leaders how hard you’ve been trying to keep the team spirit going and keeping the flame alive. However, it’s inevitable that after 24months the team’s spirit is flagging a little and so that’s why it’s time, now that we can get back together, to get some of that team magic back. 

Now it doesn’t have to be much, you don’t need some grand gesture, but it does need to be AWAY from the office, and it needs to be ALL OF YOU in a room somewhere. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been facilitating team away-days all through January and February, and every team I’ve worked with has been astounded and delighted with what they came up with within their away-days. I also have to say that the energy in the room was palpable, it was ELECTRIC! 

Have a think now, when was the last time you had an in-person team away-day? 

I’m betting that, for most of you, it was most likely over two years ago. And during that time, you’ll have been mostly working virtually so not even working WITH your teammates in an office. And even if you are back at the office now, your team probably isn’t at full strength, you’ll take it in turns to come into the office so are rarely, if at all, together in the office at the same time. 

At Meta we really truly believe that people are amazing. Your people are amazing, your team is amazing – you’ve seen your people step up in the last two years, and you’ve seen your team do amazingly well considering the circumstances we’ve all been through. So NOW is the time to re-commit to your team, now is the time to get together and harness the power in your team.

Now is the time to: 

  1. RE-VIEW – put the Covid chapter to bed and celebrate what you’ve achieved.
  2. RE-SET – start thinking about how you’d like your next chapter to be as a team.
  3. RE-FOCUS – getting perspective on what’s important, making sure that you’re setting the right priorities for your team in the coming year and beyond.
  4. RE-COMMIT – to each other and to making your team the best it can be.
  5. RE-CONNECT – making sure that you’re rebuilding your relationships and re-establishing your team connection, your team spirit.

The best way to do all of these things? 

Simple, take your team away from the office, get them in a room together. 

There is a tremendous untapped energy and power in your team. Right now, there is more potential in teams than there ever has been. People are hungry for connection and want to get back to working together as a team, they want to give of their best and be their best. 

As a leader, NOW is the time (if you haven’t already) to plan and organise your team away-day. Seriously, it’s time to invest in a little time away from the office, to help review, re-set and get some perspective. To re-calibrate and figure out how best to tap into the power that is held within your team. 

If you’re not a leader, you can still make the suggestion that it might be nice for the team to have an away-day and encourage other team colleagues to do the same. You’ll find that many will be feeling like you, and the more who ask, the better your chances of making it happen. 

The likelihood is that you’ll have team targets which are a real stretch this year, that will require the team to really work well together in order to deliver what needs to be delivered for your business plans. You need your team to be firing on all cylinders, you need your team to be more than the sum of its parts – a facilitated team away-day can really help with that. 

At Meta we have facilitated hundreds, if not thousands, of team away-days over the 20 years we’ve been in business, and there is a real value in getting someone in who is independent, outside of your organisation, to help you facilitate your away-day. 

We love doing away-days, it’s absolutely our ‘bread and butter’ and, if we do say so ourselves, we’ve got rather good at it over all these years. We are great at re-energising the team spirit, capturing the wisdom that is held within your team, and ensuring the team goes away enthused, engaged and re-invigorated. Combine that energy with new Meta tools in the team toolkits, and after a team away-day with us your team will be ready to take on the world! We know how to access the potential in your team, and we are really good at helping you to harness the energy and power in your team, so you can do what needs to get done this year. 

So, if you decide to plan a team away-day this year, all we ask is that you bear us in mind, we’d love to help make your team away-day one to remember, the one that re-energised and re-inspired your team post-Covid and got your team feeling REALLY GOOD again. 

And even if you don’t use us, please do make the time in the coming months to really focus on your team and get them together, if at all possible, we promise you, you’ll be so glad that you did! 

About Jo Clarkson

Jo Clarkson is the CEO of Meta and a frequent writer of the Meta-Org.com blog.
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