Trend #1: Hybrid Work is Here to Stay
In the past 24 months, there’s been a ton of speculation pertaining to remote and hybrid work and its viability and acceptance in the long term.
But Murray Seward, CEO at Outback Team Building and Training, believes it’s going to have a significant place in the professional world of the future.
“Remote and hybrid work isn’t going anywhere,” says Seward. “This is no longer a temporary pivot. For most companies, as long as it’s possible for a role to function remotely, I don’t see them going back to being in the office the same way they used to be. There are too many benefits to remote and hybrid work, in my opinion.”
He elaborates, “With that comes some pros and cons that organizations will have to sort out. The big and obvious one is how they’ll manage a hybrid work model. For instance, how often do people have to go into the office? Which roles can work remotely, and which can’t? There are a number of X-factors. Organizations may even need to debate between adopting a hybrid model versus a fully-remote one.”
And as remote and hybrid work becomes more prevalent, so too will the challenges with maintaining corporate culture in a distributed team.
“Working remotely puts an awful lot of pressure on company culture,” explains Seward. “It becomes harder to maintain relationships and to even just get along. You’re not gathered in a physical working environment all day, so you lack that interaction.”
He adds, “Because of this, I think you’re going to see a lot more virtual interaction and virtual team building.”
Trend # 2: Onboarding New Team Members Will Require More Strategy
The culture challenges faced by organizations don’t stop with existing employees. They extend—possibly even more significantly—to newcomers.
“The biggest challenge pertains less to existing employees and more so to new ones,” says Seward. “It’s one thing for people who have already been at your company for years and were indoctrinated into your culture the old-school way. The harder part is the new people: how do you get them integrated into your company?
He continues, “Team building certainly helps with that, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that building inclusive teams is way more challenging in a remote environment. In the ‘old-school’ world, you could rely on the process of building relationships to happen organically to an extent, just due to being in close proximity to one another. But in this new world, none of that exists. So, how do you emulate those organic interactions and recreate it in a virtual world? How do you allow people to get to know one another, learn about each other, and build trust?”
It’s all going to come down to finding innovative ways to build connections.
Trend #3: Organizations Will Need More Frequent Company Events to Build Connections
One of the most vital ways to create and maintain strong organic bonds between colleagues and teams will be to gather people more frequently.
“I see the volume of team activities going up significantly in the coming year,” says Seward. “Companies that have relied on organic relationship-building are going to have to create those opportunities more often. They’ll likely need to do more structured team building experiences than they had in the past. It can’t just be an annual occurrence anymore.”
He adds, “These events are going to happen more often and they’re going to be on more of a team-by-team basis, not just a company-wide event. Organizations need to build that culture and those bonds between individual team members, not just their company as a whole.”
Trend #4: A New Way of Approaching Retreats and Incentives Will Emerge
As travel and in-person events remain challenging, off-site meetings and company retreats will likely look a bit different than they used to.
“All these changes make you wonder what’s going to happen for those companies that used to rely heavily on retreats and off-sites,” says Seward. “Will they still do them? I believe they will, once things start to settle down and move back toward normalcy. But, because people haven’t seen much of each other for the past few years, I think a greater percentage of the time at those events will be spent on bonding activities.”
He elaborates, “It won’t just be coming together to do meetings all day, talk business, then get together for dinner. I anticipate a great budgeting of time for getting to know each other, because sitting at a conference room table doesn’t truly give you touchpoints with people. And when you don’t get those touchpoints, those meetings become less efficient and less fluid because the players don’t know one another.”
Trend #5: Technology Will Have a Significant Impact on Team Building
The last piece of the puzzle will be the implications of technology on virtual team building and the expectations of organizations when it comes to their events.
“Technology is becoming incredibly important in team building,” says Seward. “Even now, it’s significantly enhanced compared to old-school team building. It’s evolved.”
Seward elaborates, “As organisations do more and more virtual team building activities, they’re starting to expect some real production value. Technology has taken things to a whole new level, and we’re seeing that in a number of our brand-new virtual team building activities.”
Due to this, we’ve seen a rise in bookings of our most popular virtual team building activities.