“Remote and hybrid work makes sense for many organisations and their team members, and it looks like this form of work is here to stay. While these new working patterns don’t make it impossible to come together as a team, they present new challenges compared with traditional, in-person working. Put another way, important face-to-face interactions require a clear sense of the purpose and some careful thought.

In a fast-paced company like Koa Health, three of the biggest challenges our team faces are connecting, communicating, and supporting each other. When people aren’t all working in the same location, extra effort is required to keep them feeling connected and moving together to achieve our shared aims. Of course, we equip our team with the right tools to connect online and in person, however, we’ve also learned that it’s important to set clear ‘rules of engagement’ to ensure that no one is left out (or left behind), and that we’re working in a sustainable way. One example of this is our “Studio Talks”, in which our in-house experts and researchers present a topic to the rest of the team. While we encourage people to attend in person and share some good food and company, Studio Talks are also broadcast live for team members working remotely and recorded for those that can’t attend on the day.

We also encourage regular in-person meetings for our teams in different countries. These are both work events, e.g., brainstorming and problem-solving sessions, and opportunities for a bit of social fun and bonding. Every year, we try to get our team together. After pandemic restrictions were lifted last year, we organised a “Global Gathering” in Barcelona. This event brought together teams from Spain, the US, the UK and elsewhere in the city in which Koa Health was founded. We mixed business meetings with team-building to help cultivate meaningful connections and a sense of belonging, and ultimately foster a cohesive sense of our shared purpose and an inclusive culture.

Of course, in-person meetings will look different for each company depending on its mission and its culture. At Koa Health, this looks like global gatherings, people meeting up for lunch or coffee at our local offices, and daily interactions on Slack, WhatsApp and email—not just to progress on projects—but also to connect around hobbies and interests (with specific channels for books, food, pets, movies, and a company-wide favourite—random news and articles). What makes the most impact is creating an inclusive environment that shows you trust and value your people. Focus on your shared mission and listen to what your team seeks—these are the best guides.”