Maintaining a Team Ethos – First Intuition Think Tank

Gareth John, one of the Directors of First Intuition, hosted an employer forum on 30th September 2020 on the subject of “maintaining a team ethos and culture in a remote-working world”.


Maintaining a Team Ethos – First Intuition Think Tank

Gareth John, one of the Directors of First Intuition, hosted an employer forum on 30th September 2020 on the subject of “maintaining a team ethos and culture in a remote-working world”.


Maintaining a Team Ethos and Culture in a remote-working world.

For many employers, their ‘team spirit’ and ‘family feel’ are crucial parts of their identity. Many are concerned that this will be challenging to maintain if many staff are working predominantly remotely. We were lucky to hear from expert speakers C-J Green and Dyfrig Jenkins, plus insight from the accountancy awarding bodies.

How are people working now?

At the start of the session, Gareth ran a poll about how much different levels of staff will work from home in the coming months (October 2020 to March 2021). Here are the results of the percentage of the audience that gave each answer:

Level of staff Not at all Once or twice a month Once or twice a week Three or four times a week All of the time Don’t know
New starters 5% 14% 9% 18% 50% 5%
More experienced trainees 0% 14% 18% 14% 50% 5%
Experienced seniors 0% 5% 9% 36% 50% 0%
Managers  0% 5% 18% 36% 41% 0%
Senior leaders/ directors/ partners 5% 9% 18% 27% 41% 0%


It is clear from the results that:

  • The vast majority of employers expect staff at all levels to be working from home at least three or four days a week.
  • Between 40% and 50% of employers expect that staff will be working from home all of the time.

This certainly made the purpose of the session extremely timely!

What are the reasons behind this?

After running the poll, the audience were asked for the reasons they would let staff work in the office, and we received a range of responses through the chatbox:

“We’re allowing people to work in the office if they are unable to work from home, be it the environment or IT connection. In addition, there are certain teams where they are ineffective from home so there is a requirement for them to be in the office.”

“Key office-based functions – telephone helpdesk, secure payments, IT support. Also, to support an individual’s mental health.”

“Systems dependent roles.”

“Exceptional circumstances to be agreed with the manager, printing, wellbeing, IT, customer-facing roles where essential services have to be provided.”

“Where they have a lack of space or IT to work from home.  Where there are performance issues.  Also just allowing people to see others for their own mental wellbeing.”

“Staff essential to maintaining the running of the office, e.g. admin team. New apprentices with their buddies, those unable to work at home. We have a third at home, a third full time in office, a third odd days. All under review depending and those wishing a break can request time in office.”

Our Speakers

This led nicely into hearing from our ‘dream team’, double-act of expert speakers Dyfrig Jenkins of YOU.DEVELOPMENT LTD and C-J Green of BraveGoose who both gave plenty of practical pointers for the listeners to implement.

In his fascinating talk Dyfrig referenced the ‘Engaging for Success’ report (link below) which highlights 4 enablers of employee engagement:

  • Strategic Narrative – visible and empowering leaders giving a clear narrative of where the organisation has come from and where it is going.
  • Engaged Managers – line mangers really make the difference by focusing their people.
  • Employee Voice – involve staff so that they are central to the solution.
  • Integrity – your values must be reflected in your day-to-day behaviours, don’t have a ‘say/do’ gap.

C-J was as inspirational as ever, some of her points really resonated with the audience:

  • Don’t convince yourself it’s a difficult situation. Ask yourself what’s great about it, think about what can be done differently.
  • Help team members identify their ‘mood hoovers’ and help them to deal with them.
  • Don’t spend all of your time in ‘stacked transactional output-driven meetings’. Create time for creativity and innovation.
    • have a proportion of ‘keep-free’ time to reflect, read, explore, learn.
    • Speak to at least one person (someone who gives you energy) each week with no ‘thing’ to achieve.
  • Connect people who wouldn’t normally have the chance to chat. Ten minutes talking to one of the senior leaders can make junior staff feel really connected.
  • Try ‘walk and talks’ on the phone with colleagues to give them and yourself the chance to grab some fresh air (and a break from video calls!).
  • An event calendar for cultural connections can give staff a sense of wider connection and gives ‘power over loneliness’.

We then welcomed additional insight from representatives from each of the min accountancy awarding bodies:

  • Fiona Hodgkin of ICAEW
  • Sharon Machado from ACCA
  • Trevor Robertshaw of CIMA
  • Anthony Clarke of the AAT

Our Session on Maintaining a Team Ethos was recorded. Please use the link below to access it:

At the end of the session the audience was asked what key takeaways they had:

“One thing to explore is the notion of Airbnb experiences for your teams, one of our clients has adopted these with huge success.”

“I’m going to start making my “welfare calls” walking talks where possible and also ask each member of our management team to make contact with someone not in their team for a check-in.”

“I have just blocked out two hours of my calendar every Friday. And I have started organising a team-effort mega triathlon for Children in Need.”

“I’m going to check out those online tools (Nectar, Kazoo, Bonusly, Go Game) and save some time in my diary for planning.”

“We have already taken on 1-2-1s with staff, but making time in the diary for myself to reflect is something I will definitely do.”

Additional links:

Engaging for success

ACCA – working and wellbeing

ACCA – remote culture


In our previous Think Tank Topics we’ve also covered the following topics:

Remote Onboarding

Remote Management of Junior Staff

Returning to the Workplace

Online Delivery

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Remote Onboarding


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Online Delivery


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