According to Christina Foxwell, a life and business coach and prominent self-help author, workplaces are being hit with a new kind of issue that is decimating businesses faster than the impact of COVID. It is called ‘reteam-itis’.
“Businesses all over the country have been operating from home remotely for the better part of three years. Some have transitioned to a hybrid model where staff come into the office occasionally for meetings and townhall events, but for the most part, workers have been doing the bulk of their work from home,” Foxwell said.
“During this time, people and workplaces have changed. People have gone through a process of incredible personal change. Some people have got married and had babies. Others have lost friends and family members and endured sickness and life changing events.
“Businesses have also recruited new team members and these people have been onboarded and in many cases never really worked alongside their new team members in person.
“Now that workplaces are bringing staff members back to the office, people are now having to work together in person for the first time over an extended period and the reality is that many simply don’t like each other.
“I am being inundated with calls from business owners and managers urgently needing help to reunite their people as a team.
“As a result, I have coined the term ‘reteam-itis’ because we are seeing teams reuniting in the workplace and becoming very sick operationally because team members simply don’t get along. Existing team members are no longer connecting with each other and many are not connecting with new team members at all. Consequently there is a lot of friction, unhappiness and discontentment appearing.
“Mistakes are happening, targets are not being met and workplace complaints are on the rise. Good people are leaving organisations to move on to other workplaces where they feel more comfortable and in alignment with the workplace culture.”
Foxwell states that ‘reteam-itis’ is a very serious issue and businesses need to address the issue quickly.
Why is ‘reteam-itis’ occurring
“Many workplaces were so busy during COVID simply trying to deliver on their work and deal with ongoing business requirements that issues such as training, cohesion and culture fell to the wayside,” Foxwell said.
“In addition, most workplaces recruited during COVID and many of these new recruits have never stepped foot into the office since starting their new role. While recruiting online may seem efficient unfortunately it can be difficult to get a real sense of whether someone is going to bond with other team members in person without getting to know them face to face.
“For all of these reasons, workplaces are now experiencing ‘reteam-itis’. Essentially people are not getting along and conflict is on the rise and productivity is being impacted.”
How to identify if your workplace is experiencing ‘reteam-itis’
“We are already seeing an increase in the number of workplace complaints that involve issues with the behaviour or actions of other workers,” Foxwell said.
“HR areas are noticing a rise in conflict. Sometimes conflict isn’t always obvious. It can manifest in different ways. Staff can become withdrawn. Customer service levels drop. There may be arguments or disagreements between people in the workplace and in meetings.
“Productivity slippage is always an obvious sign. An increase in absenteeism is also another indicator that shows people are choosing to stay away from work to avoid the stress and angst.”
How to deal with reteam-itis
“If there is any hint of ‘reteam-itis’ it is important to act quickly. This is an issue that cannot be solved with a simple team lunch or out of office team activity, it requires a more comprehensive and strategic approach,” Foxwell added.
“The risks to people and the business are too high. My advice is to call in an expert who has experience in dealing with the issue. The first process involves understanding the depth of the problem and clarifying the reasons for the issues.
“Once this is established, the expert can then develop up a strategy to address the issue across a number of levels including support, training and coaching, leadership and mentoring. Ongoing consultation will be required to monitor progress and outcomes. Sometimes it will be necessary to move people on in order to de-escalate the situation.”
According to Foxwell, ‘reteam-itis’ is a serious issue that not only impacts the ability of a business to retain and attract good people, it also impacts business performance and introduces a range of other risks including complaints and legal action against a business for failure to provide a safe workplace.
About Christina Foxwell
Founder and global CEO of Ignite Purpose, a leading human-centred performance improvement, coaching, training and consulting practice, Foxwell has just released her latest book, Glass Angel, which not only explores her difficult upbringing, it also provides readers with insight into how she turned her life around through employing the right mindset. Foxwell is now a property mogul, successful business leader, award winning author and celebrated life, business and career coach.