Author Scott Webb, UKSE area manager for Scotland

By Scott Webb, UKSE area manager for Scotland

IT’S been almost a year since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Scotland and the toll on our business sector is plain to see. Even our biggest and best loved-firms are under threat, with Debenhams being one of the latest to close its doors.

We’re still navigating the largest health and economic crisis in generations, and as we continue to protect the NHS, work from the kitchen table wherever possible and keep our distance from each other, it’s not unsurprising that we’ve seen businesses struggle under the current circumstances.

That’s why, as we begin a new year, businesses should be focusing on creating a true sense of teamwork within their workforces. Effective communication, encouraging collaboration and creating a sense of trust between employees and employers is imperative to get the best results from your people.

On the face of it, it does seem challenging. With people juggling full-time jobs and home schooling the kids, taking time out to create a sense of teamwork might not be at the top of the to-do list. It’s not easy to mimic real-life away days or team chats over Zoom, either. But, setting time in your diary to do this will not only be appreciated, but you’ll also reap the rewards, by having a workforce who feel valued by their employer and encouraged to achieve their goals.

HR experts even suggest that those who feel they work as part of a good team also feel less anxiety and worry than those who don’t collaborate with their colleagues*. One of the ways to do this is by setting a half hour personal call with your colleagues, where you can chat like you would in the office, catching up on what you’re enjoying on Netflix or your favourite new walking routes.

UKSE was founded more than 40 years ago to support businesses in traditional steel communities with investments, loans and premises. Over the years, we’ve seen a variety of businesses and organisations really excel with the right team and a sense of camaraderie, seeing them surpassing goals and in some cases, expanding quickly.

One of our tenants, Fyne Audio, have seen a huge surge in demand for its audio equipment and have impressed us with their ability to adapt so quickly. Similarly, we work with Antibody Analytics, a biopharmaceutical firm who have made a huge effort in the early drug development for Covid-19. The team of experts rallied together and created a mock virus that allowed them to experiment with certain medicines to see how it reacted.

Although the last 10 months have been extremely challenging, there have been some positive learnings that have come as a result. Ensuring you have a strong team, with the right people in the right roles, has never been so important as it is now. Some difficult decisions were made in 2020, but as we look beyond Covid-19, it’s important that businesses are in the best possible position to be able to bounce back and go full steam ahead when the time is right.

With vaccinations prompting a new sense of optimism, let’s try to move away from the doom and gloom of 2020 as best as we can, and focus on new beginnings, with a renewed focus on teamwork being high on our agendas.