These are unprecedented times for businesses to be sure. Many of us have worked remotely on occasion, but few have worked entirely remotely – let alone managed a remote work force. I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from some successful virtual organizations. Here are 3 tips to keep your team inspired, productive and accountable while working from home.
- Mandate that team members use video conferencing technology for all meetings. There is no substitute for actually seeing your colleagues, interpreting their body language, and ensuring that everyone is paying attention. Conference calls tend to be much more “listening events” than participatory. Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype are all great easy to use tools. Also, if we end up working remotely for several weeks or months, seeing each other’s faces will be critical for our social emotional wellbeing.
- Schedule more meetings not fewer. Keep your regularly scheduled meeting structures in place, and, if your team has a regular staff meeting once a week, you may want to schedule check-ins twice a week – perhaps at the beginning and end of the week. For many of us, we derive our energy, motivation, and inspiration from our team members. Checking in more frequently will help sustain higher energy levels and ensure that work is moving forward. Also, in such turbulent times, more frequent communication helps alleviate fear and uncertainty.
- Encourage water cooler talk. Relationships are the connective tissue of organizations. When your team works virtually your culture and relationships do too. Meetings may be the only time people are connecting with each other since they are no longer sharing office space. Take time at the beginning of each meeting to check-in with people personally. These are stressful times. Ask each person, “what’s working well?” and “what’s not working well?” Allow for those answers to be both personal and work related. You may want to dedicate the first 10 minutes or so of your meetings to let each person answer. Once people have put their stressors on the table, they can set those things aside and focus on the topic at hand.
If you’re navigating these uncharted waters with your team, I’d love to hear from you. Send your questions, insights, and learnings to Meg.Crosby@PeopleCap.com.