Working virtually is natural to those of us who have done it for years, we have developed practices, disciplines and tools that help us be productive, connected into the wider team for that human connection.
The future of work is becoming more and more online as I type this, and of course the latest crisis with COVID – 19 has now pushed this to a new level.
For those of you who are suddenly leading teams that are being forced to work remotely, here are some tips from our experience of leading virtual teams.
- Offer daily touch points, live on something like ZOOM or teams etc, if you have had people working closely in an open plan office and now suddenly they are working from home, some could potentially feel isolated and this can lead to lack of motivation
- Have an online chat tool going for people to interact like they would if they were in an office
- Help people to be set up well to work from home, check on their environment, family situation, desk set up, internet speed, skill set level for digital platforms, never assume everyone is all good.
- Make sure you spend extra time on your ‘pulse’ checks with your team, these are individual regular meetings that are happening normally, if not now would be a good time to start. 30 mins is fine for these one on ones usually, a check in at the start to see how they are feeling right now, before the call is over, then offer any support you can to help them through this time.
- Brainstorm ways to stay focused for those who are working from home around kids working from home! Do work hours need to shift?
- Check in staff are still having regular breaks for morning tea and lunch, perhaps consider having set times where people do this virtually on Zoom
Wherever possible try to create a supportive, connected culture online where people feel motivated, and supported to do their best work.
Put a positive spin on people learning new ways of working and connecting, so those who are resistant or fearful feel like they are gaining some great new skills that will pay off in the future.
This challenging time can either strengthen teams, so when they get back into an office environment they thrive or drive them further apart.
We get to choose, we get to choose the way we manage the things we can control right now.
Always happy to chew the ‘fat’ on this one if you want some more ideas and tips, please get in touch.
PS: If team culture and communication was not great going into this, working as a remote team may feel like a welcome relief right now from the obvious tensions that come from people working together, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, because if the issues are not addressed they will actually create bigger gaps that will cost a fortune to fix and take precious energy and time to sort.
If you want to hit the ground running when this is all lifted, make sure you use this time to strengthen your team culture