Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We value the teamwork and collaboration we are able to achieve working together in our office. Now, like everyone else, we are forced to work remotely and figure out new ways to manage our responsibilities. This is a time for people to isolate. We have a couple of introvert advisors who are not responding to emails. They are following up with clients, but don’t see a need to talk with other team members. Some of our support people don’t get along all that great in person and now see the opportunity to simply ignore one another.

I know this isolation is necessary, but the fabric of our firm is coming apart at the seams. Is it possible to collaborate effectively when everyone is remote?

J.R.

Dear J.R.,

In answering your question, let’s go back to how you value teamwork and collaboration in your firm. Are you sure this was the case even when you were all working together in one area? If introverts are celebrating because now they can be themselves, and your support team was itching for a way to formally ignore one another, is it possible the existing “teamwork” wasn’t what you thought it was?

Yes, most firms are forced into remote working. But that doesn’t mean they are working separately and independently of one another. Our own firm is virtual and we have been for many years – we are very tight knit and connected. Nothing has changed for us. If anything we are in contact more often just to ensure we are all feeling supported and to talk about how we are managing everything.

The key concepts that underlie any team can be carried over when people are working remotely. In my career, I worked in a large organization and ran a very big department. Some of my best “go-to” people were the ones in different geographic locations and different time zones. Seeing them every day was not a necessity for us to work tougher and feel supported.