Office contractions - decreasing team sizes and team members.
Every spring Kevin sheds some fur to keep cool in the heat and give him the aerodynamics he needs when playing "chasing squirrels". However, shedding team members to decrease team sizes or losing team members from the company can be anything but a positive experience.
Almost all shedding is profit driven as business is profit driven. Without profit, there is no business or it is a business generated by existing monies. If there is no work, there is no profit. The complexity is introduced when those higher-ups begin the conversations about keeping good people to attract more work. In theory, this should work, but how long can a companies reserves afford to pay a good team member? How long can a company generate internal work without acquiring new contracts and new clients? This is not a personal slight against an individual who has been a model employee. It is economics. Profit also determines how many members are required on a team to complete a project. It would be wonderful if all projects had adequate team members and were able to produce excellent, quick, quality work. As I was told when I first started working, you can have 2 of the 3: fast, cheap, good - not all three.
Technology has helped tremendously with innovation and productivity, however, as these elements increase, so does complexity. As projects become more complex, the work increases. Budgets do not often include the complexity factor. Some technology is changing so fast, that the complexity factor isn't even known yet and budgets do not align with additional costs of thinking and creating or using additional software, thus creating small stressed-out project teams.
Losing team members to another project can be stressful not only as you pick-up a little bit extra work sometimes, but also the emotional element. If you have relied on the team member or have created a good friendship, management should be aware of this connection and allow you the time to adjust by either giving you a lighter workload for a day or so or even treating your old team to a mini farewell lunch. Proper introductions and endings can help teams feel ready-to-start or ready-to-move-on.
Losing a team member from the firm can be very hard on the whole office, not just a team. There may be several reasons for a company to make the decision to let individuals move on. These reasons usually involve profit which create fear in the remaining workers that there isn't enough work and their exit will be next. This fear is real and can be extremely distracting for those trying to work toward deadlines. Again, something management should be sympathetic toward.
As fall approaches, Kevin will grow new fur back to be ready for our cold winters. Like Kevin, we all must grow new skin to deal with new roles and adventures.
Fiona Warren - 17 years experience with large high-profile projects and teams.