Team cohesion in companies facing the Covid test

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For several weeks, Jean-Claude (who testifies on condition of anonymity), financial director in a large company, has received messages from impatient employees. “We are gradually bringing our teams back to the site and many would like things to speed up, he notes. They would like to quit 100% telework and return to office life for at least a few days, as before. “ Problem, in his eyes: ” Everything changed. A large number of colleagues are no longer there at the same time as you, e-mails have replaced discussions over coffee… Employees are not necessarily aware that, with or without a simplified health protocol, part of the conviviality has disappeared . “

In fact, distancing measures have made relations between employees more complex. “During the first weeks of deconfinement, for example, they could not find on the set this fluidity of exchanges which allows to help each other informally”, exposes Elisabeth Pélegrin-Genel, architect and occupational psychologist. What will happen to the reduction in sanitary arrangements? “We will not return directly to the pre-crisis situation, she believes. Many employees are very cautious in their dealings with others and do not wish to lose, through a relaxation, the benefit of several months of effort. “

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At the time of deconfinement, living together is weakened. Weakened by the rules of distancing, it is also put to the test by several months of massive telework and carrying many challenges. How to preserve the cohesion of the company with a dispersed workforce like a puzzle? How can we also ensure that a fracture does not appear between employees with access to telework and those who continue the activity on site?

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The ability to lead collective projects is questioned, while permanent turnover takes place in teams between employees in distance and face-to-face. “The work involves a relational and collaborative dimension which was strongly impacted during this period, notes Maurice Thévenet, professor at Essec. A Zoom conference is not necessarily sufficient to develop creativity or to collectively design solutions to difficult situations. “

These threats which weigh on the work collective are today at the heart of the reflections of the human resources departments. “This is“ the ”concern, confirms Benoît Serre, vice-president of the National Association of HRDs. We have to focus on a big challenge: to succeed in restoring the unity of the company. “ The subject is all the more sensitive in the current context of economic crisis, believes Mr. Thévenet: “Companies will find themselves faced with an imperative of productivity. This implies having internal cohesion and a strong commitment to work. “

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