Weathering the storm: nurturing your team’s wellbeing and resilience after the pandemic

by Flo Bill - 17 July 2020


Responding to the pressures of lockdown, More's resident coach, Flo Bill, created an uplifting workshop to help fundraising professionals care for themselves and each other. For UCL Director of Development Angharad Milenkovic, this session was “transformational”, helping her team to build even deeper connections and work effectively together. As we emerge slowly into an uncertain world, these strategies will be needed more than ever.

When lockdown first hit, wellbeing – or rather ‘being well’ – came into sharp focus. Everything we relied upon or that had previously felt ‘normal’ changed overnight. Working from home, schooling at home and hardly ever leaving home became norms we had to adapt to as quickly as possible. Each of us will have experienced our unique response to this, riding out the fears, hopes, highs and lows in our own way. Someone in a workshop I was in described this as “the same storm, different boats”. I really get what she meant.

Finding ways to compensate
To make our way through this we have had to think harder about how we look after ourselves and each other, at home and in the workplace. This has meant finding ways to compensate for not being physically together, such as meeting more regularly on Teams or Zoom, or having quizzes and socials. For fundraising leaders, it’s meant giving staff the flexibility and support they need while trying to deliver some sort of business-as-usual alongside other Covid-19 specific initiatives. The pressure has undoubtedly been on and fundamentals like human connection, idea sharing, spontaneity and cross-team relationships have often been taking the hit.

Bringing teams and leaders together
As a coach and former fundraising leader I believe passionately that, if we take care of the people in our teams, they will be happier, more committed and more successful. When the pandemic storm started to hit all of our boats, it was clear to me that bringing teams and leaders together to learn resilience and wellbeing strategies could provide a lifeline for organisations, now and long into the future. Drawing on More’s expertise and my coaching knowledge, and by working with you, our partners in purpose, we created a practical and uplifting workshop to nurture people’s wellbeing. It explores individual strengths and the need for human connection, and harnesses the power of synchronised movement, laughter and flexible behaviours.

Strengthening bonds and effectiveness
We have now run several of these sessions with large and small fundraising teams. Participants tell us the time together helps them to improve wellbeing, sharpen focus, build resilience and strengthen team bonds and effectiveness. Leaders also have the chance to signal their commitment to the health and happiness of their team members, which participants tell us is meaningful and motivating. For UCL Director of Development, Angharad Milenkovic, the 90-minute workshop we ran together was “transformational. Because never before, even when we were in the office, had we had a space to be honest and share so much with each other. It was a wonderful way to build much deeper relationships with the people we work with and to have a safe place to explore what we’re all dealing with right now. And it’s continued into what we do and how we work together. We are seeing people building on the connections they formed that day, being more willing to stand in another person’s shoes, and understand their perspectives. And that’s forming the foundation for us to be able to do our jobs really well.

For more on how the sessions can help your team, watch below the super-short chat we had with Angharad about her team’s workshop.

Engaging with purpose
As we slowly emerge from lockdown, these strategies will be needed more than ever. Organisations face huge uncertainty. Fundraising teams may shrink just as the pressure on targets rises. Many clients have also told us they’re unlikely to return to their offices this side of Christmas, making the need for human connection ever more important. Teamwork and sticking to your company’s values will be critical to the success of your response, as PwC’s Global Crisis Survey identified. To support you, the workshop we have developed creates the space for fundraising professionals to better connect with colleagues and engage with your organisation’s purpose.

Being – and remaining – well will play a defining role in how we emerge from the pandemic. Equipping ourselves and team members to skipper their own boats as best they can will help us all to navigate – and flourish in – the choppy waters that lie ahead.

I like the sound of this. What's involved?
Our online, interactive Wellbeing and Resilience workshop is designed for teams of all shapes and sizes, and will be tailored to your specific needs. Beforehand, we only need an hour of your time to plan the session, and we'll send a survey to participants to take their temperature. Over the course of 90-120mins, we'll use proven techniques to improve wellbeing, focus, resilience and team coherence. All participants will receive a pack with further wellbeing insights and practical tools, including suggestions for managers to help them embed the learning, and a follow-up call can also be arranged.

If you would like to explore what this might look like for your team, or if you just want to find out more, get in touch with Flo. Flo is an accredited and qualified ICF (International Coaching Federation) coach.