How to Build A Team… Through Zoom

An excerpt from the book “The Morning After” by Maxim Behar

The first question I asked myself after I decided that we should all work remotely at the beginning of the pandemic, and to which I still do not have an answer with 100 percent certainty, was how to forge a team online. We are working more, creating, innovating, having good ideas, providing quality services to our clients, and being available for more time.

But how on earth will we create a team during remote work and in the online space?

That is a fundamental question, perhaps even the most important one in this new business picture. An online team? People do not know each other; they see each other occasionally online, and in many, if not most, businesses, team spirit is the foundation of success. Well, of course, there is a solution here as well. For the first time in my business history, I conducted interviews.

The Opportunities of the Crisis

We were hiring new employees who still need to meet in person. During our last summer party for the team, we had coworkers who saw the others for the first time and were as happy as possible, even though they had been working with us for several months.

“Finally, we get to meet in person.”

Was the most commonly heard phrase. Our entire team meets in Zoom every day. Since the first weeks, I had misgivings about whether we were not wasting time during which we could be dealing with much more feasible activities for our clients. However, we should spend fifteen minutes together daily. Even if it’s to tell each other jokes and life stories or listen to someone’s favorite song, we would still have the necessary communication. During those 15–20 minutes, we felt we were all together in the office as a team. In this still-unknown “new reality,” constant communication is essential. Otherwise, in the first one or two weeks, we all walked around in our pajamas at home all day. That is why I think that there should be something small that reminds us every day of normalcy, that we are not on the planet Mars, and that, on the contrary, we are not entirely done with our previous lives. When we met in person with my employees for the first time in five months and seven months after our last party, at Christmas time, it was enjoyable, and we were all very excited.

Personal Relations Online

Considering everything written in this book might sound weird and absurd, but I am convinced that nothing can replace personal relations. Nothing can replace how we communicate in the office and when we are together in person, regardless of where that might be, for business meetings, lunches, or dinners.

At the same time, however, when my employees and I get together for our online meeting, even if that is just for fifteen minutes per day, you do realize that there is no other way to bring together the entire team for fifteen minutes and to have everyone pay attention and listen to each other. In the impossible office, whereas now we sometimes speak for two hours and share so many personal experiences and events. You can never meet in person with so many people simultaneously, so everyone has the opportunity to speak and hear the rest in the same manner. If that happens in the office, it would be a huge exception. Imagine forty people online, all seeing each other and talking. Now imagine you are sitting in a hall where everyone looks at their phone. The difference is enormous.

Learning: Online or Offline

In the Zoom era, there are many more excellent learning opportunities since everything is online anyway, whether it is about education or courses or whether it is in your home country or abroad. Now, we have more time to study, and it is more necessary than ever that people in the consultancy business continue to learn daily because everything is changing quickly. In our previous life, if you sat all day in the office and went home, you were tired and had no desire to study. Now, however, you can easily set aside an hour during the day, and, for example, while you are having lunch, you can watch some exciting lectures.

There is much, much more time for education than before.

Some employees of mine have to waste three hours a day traveling to the office. Sure, they can listen to music or read books on the bus or the subway, but those are still 2–3 hours of their daily travel.

In Sofia, the average commute is one hour in both directions. That hour could be used for education or anything else you like. Having an extra hour of your life is of great use nowadays. But putting time aside, the travel itself is tiring regardless of whether you take the subway or drive. The traffic jams, the crazy drivers, the atmosphere, and the large crowds all generate stress. So when I ask myself whether an employee should remain at home because she works very well or return to the office, the answer is more than evident. Of course, whoever wishes to travel and be physically present in the office should be able to do that. Here we are getting to a different topic: only some things in work nowadays should be done by obligation.

The Education Breakthrough

The newly realized remote work and training opportunities are a substantial educational breakthrough. Digital education is much more developed in Western countries than in my home country, but Bulgaria had to adapt to the situation and introduce online education quickly. That has occurred even though all those clerks in the ministries, agencies, institutes, and associations used to say, “How come digital students should attend class!”

Yet, it has turned out that there is no point in children attending school.

If they want to learn something, they will learn it online. Education is essential. But there is a better way to convince people than making a child cross the entire city with a 20-kilogram backpack and lose all day, given that the child can set aside two hours per day and learn more than in those eight hours, in which they will be going around like a ghost with that heavy backpack. So Bulgaria’s education system had not been prepared to transition to online education, but it was forced to do so by the pandemic. That is a change which I am sure will be a positive one.


“The Morning After “ is available on and

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