Why Team Time
Working from home is a new experience for many
and has never been done on such a large scale before.
The ways in which we work together have fundamentally changed.
Team time offers practical tools to help you connect as a team
and support one another –
now and in the future,
wherever you work.
It’s team time!
Advantages for you and your team
Closeness despite distance
maintain and strengthen the relationships with your colleagues
despite being apart
A chance to recharge
gain inspiration and insights on how to stay energised
in turbulent times and do yourself some good
Well-being in conversation
provide your team with a structure and framework
to talk about how you feel
Focus on strengths
grow as a team by focusing on successes,
strengths and highlights
learn how to support one other
as a manager or colleague
Allow yourself a moment for you and your team
You’re not alone
Here you will find suggestions from occupational psychologists on how to make the most of working from home.
I would like to maintain and even improve the relationships with my colleagues in the current situation.
Establishing a closer connection requires us to open up to each other. Being present as a “whole person” is important in a professional context, too. To improve our relationships with others, we also need to reveal more about ourselves. And that takes courage.
Being connected with other people is a basic human need. During the current coronavirus crisis, many teams are meeting virtually from their own homes – sometimes without actually talking specifically about work. Creating this space is very helpful. The key to improving relationships, however, lies in what precisely we are talking about. It has been scientifically proven that if we make ourselves vulnerable and admit when things aren’t going so well, we are more likely to establish a personal bond with others. This takes courage – particularly when our colleagues tell us they are doing great. But it’s worth it. Showing who you really are and telling your colleagues something they don’t know about you will create an atmosphere of solidarity.
Source: BROWN, C. Brene; LMSW, Brene. The power of vulnerability. 2012.
I’m doing too much, everything is happening at once, and I feel like I’m not getting anything done.
The idea that multitasking makes us more efficient is a misconception. If we want to get something done efficiently, we need to focus on it. We are the captain of our own ship, and can choose to shape our environment in a way that allows us to reach our destination without distractions.
Mastering several tasks simultaneously rarely leads to success. While we can do different things at once – such as drive a car and talk to fellow passengers – if we really want to focus on something, we have to give it our full attention. The strategy is comparable to a sprint: run at full speed, reach the finish line, catch our breath, gather our strength – and then move on to the next race. Many of us are constantly working on something, but quickly get bogged down and get nothing done. In such situations, the critical step is to pause for a moment and ask yourself: what can I ignore for now? Should I close my e-mail application? Or put away my smartphone? It’s important to remind ourselves that we are capable of shaping the situation around us. This feeling of self-determination is very rewarding.
Source: RUBINSTEIN, Joshua S.; MEYER, David E.; EVANS, Jeffrey E. Executive control of cognitive processes in task switching. Journal of experimental psychology: human perception and performance, 2001, 27. Jg., Nr. 4, S. 763
I’m not sure anymore if how I am feeling is normal.
Snapshot or whole film? Sometimes we look at life like a bad photo and worry. It’s more helpful and meaningful to take a longer-term view.
Sometimes, when we ask ourselves how we are doing, we look at just a snapshot of our lives. If this is a negative experience, we worry. It’s better to look back over a longer period and regularly ask yourself: how have I felt over the past few days?
Other questions that will help you gain a clearer perception of yourself are: Do I feel energised? Can I motivate myself effectively or not? How is my mood? Am I easily or permanently irritable, or am I relaxed? How am I sleeping? Can I sleep through the night or do I lie awake for long periods? If things aren’t as they should be in any of these areas over a prolonged period, it’s time to act and get support.
The uncertainty about the future worries me and sometimes even scares me.
When we are very emotional, we cannot think clearly. At such times, it helps to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, accept the current situation and explore possible courses of action.
When we are anxious or worried, our body prepares itself for action by triggering the fight or flight response. This inherently important function, which benefitted humans in prehistoric times when faced with threats such as a sabre-toothed tiger, is unfortunately no longer very helpful today, since it prevents us from thinking clearly in the truest sense of the word. In such situations it’s important to calm yourself down by taking a deep breath, processing the situation and accepting it as much as possible. This will allow you to think more clearly and decide how to respond. Those who practise this regularly can influence their emotions and deal with worries and fears much more rationally.
Source: FRANKL, Viktor E. Man's search for meaning. Simon and Schuster, 1985.
My thoughts keep revolving around questions which I can’t answer.
Problems can arise when we mix things up. Separate the things you can influence from those you cannot change, and focus on the former.
It’s entirely normal that we find uncertainty and unpredictability a burden. Our thoughts are revolving around things that are simply not tangible – and the more they do so, the less clear they become. Problems are often caused by things getting mixed up. Try to separate your thoughts into those you can influence and those you cannot change. In the current pandemic, for example, it is virtually impossible to know how the crisis will develop, so it doesn’t help to keep directing your thoughts to the topic. A better approach is to focus on what you can do – for yourself, your family and your colleagues. The more you concentrate on what is possible, the more you will regain control. To help you practise this, draw a circle on a piece of paper and write in it everything that you can influence. Then draw a second circle around the first circle and write in it the things over which you currently have no influence. You will see that the inner circle becomes bigger and bigger, and the outer circle smaller. This is reassuring.
Source: COVEY, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly E ective People. Simon & Schuster, 1989.
I miss seeing and conversing with my colleagues. I feel like I’m missing out on things that happen “between the lines”.
We communicate a large part of what we want to say unconsciously through our body language. This is missing in communication via messenger apps, e-mail or even on the phone. We must therefore learn to express ourselves very precisely and comprehensively to compensate for the lack of physical presence.
We always communicate as a “whole person” through our words, body language and tone of voice. Studies have shown that words make up just 7% of communication. Tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language the remaining 55%. That’s why it’s difficult to express yourself clearly on the phone. The physical separation caused by the current situation requires us to communicate in a much clearer, more concentrated and more considered way, as our words have to compensate for the 55% body language. You’ve no doubt already noticed that it’s more strenuous taking part in a telephone or video conference than in a meeting at the office. This is because we have to be much more active in paying attention to all those aspects that we normally register unconsciously. So be proactive, express yourself clearly and don’t be afraid to ask whether you have understood something correctly. Summarising what you have heard will ensure that you are on the same page as your colleague.
Souce: MEHRABIAN, Albert. Nonverbal communication. Transaction Publishers, 1972.
I’m trying to meditate but I just can’t seem to relax.
Trying to learn mindfulness exercises and meditation right now may lead to additional stress. Yes, it is helpful and important to take breaks. But stick to what you have always done to relax rather than attempting new techniques that you are not comfortable with.
In the current situation, many of us who are working from home are provided with a constant stream of information via a wide range of channels, including professional input, news about the coronavirus or – well-intentioned – links, videos and tips from friends. When exactly are we supposed to read it all? We want to support our kids, parents and partners, too. Oh yes, and meditate! We mustn’t forget to meditate! After all, it’s the ultimate form of relaxation. In reality, however, meditation simply doesn’t work for a lot of people, even in calmer times. While it can be a useful tool for improving our mental well-being, practising it should not lead to pressure and stress. Instead, you should do what works for you. Find something that has always given you strength and peace of mind. Like going for a walk. Or sitting in the sun. Be yourself, and do yourself some good. Fade out the noise for a moment, and you will quickly remember what has worked for you in the past and can therefore be good for you now.
I’m finding it difficult to think of positives in the current situation.
We can have a huge influence on what we think and what mental images we focus on. Imagine what you would do if the crisis were over now. For our brain, there is little difference between imagining something or experiencing it in real life.
Our brain needs images that stimulate thinking. Suppose you want to lose weight and say to yourself: “Don’t think about eating that chocolate cake!” What are you going to think about? The cake, of course. That’s why you need an alternative. Give your brain a different image, such as a “wholemeal cookie with tasty nuts”, which is also appealing and is in line with your goal of losing weight. In the current situation, with our isolation making us concerned about the future, this is precisely the approach we need to take. Ask yourself questions that create a positive image, such as “What would I do if the crisis were suddenly over?”. Focus on these positive images and write down what you “see”. Fascinatingly, our brains make barely any distinction between such mental images (a vision of the future) and reality. It’s not easy, but with regular practice you can positively influence your hormone balance and thus your mood.