Until now, many of us have unknowingly taken for granted the variety of ways we stay connected with our co-workers while in the office. Now that we’re working from home, you may be navigating ways to ensure everyone on your team is being productive, and figuring out how to make sure work is on track. You also may be trying to find ways to check in with how people are doing emotionally during such a challenging time in our world’s history.
Since you can no longer rely on the standard practice of “Management by Walking Around”, here are 3 easy tips to help your team stay connected, on track, and healthy.
1. Ensure connectivity
Consider all the ways your team can stay connected, whether it’s through email, text, phone calls, chat platforms, scheduling tools, and video conferencing tools. While many of the connectivity tools you used in the office might be the same as the ones you can use from home, some may not be so intuitive. Make sure everyone has access to one another’s cell phone numbers for texting and calls when needed. Set the team up on the video conferencing tool of your choice, and if they’ve never had to use one before, provide a brief training so everyone feels comfortable using it. Ask your team how they would like to connect with you and with one another. The more information you can glean, the easier it will be for everyone to make use of their various connection options.
2. Establish a routine.
Set up recurring check-in meetings for your team as a whole, and for one-on-ones. Encourage your team to do the same with their team members in order to gain status of collaborative work projects. You may find that a daily 30-minute check in is a great way to keep everyone focused and clear on what needs to be accomplished that day. Set expectations for each meeting so everyone can come prepared.
3. Run a good meeting
Participating in and leading video calls can feel very different from sitting around a conference room table in the office, but there are some easy ways to make them productive:
Have an agenda prepared, and share it on your screen. This helps people follow along and know what’s coming up next.
Be sure everyone who “attends” has both their audio and video on – face-to-face contact is important.
Establish guidelines for communication during the meeting. For example, be clear on who has the floor and how to pass communication to another person to avoid having people talking over each other.
Allow time at the end of the meeting to ask how everyone is doing, and allow them to share experiences and chat with each other.
In addition to meetings, consider suggesting some informal events such as a morning coffee chat or happy hour. Navigating this new, temporary normal may push you outside of your comfort zone a bit, but consider how this experience may open new insights into collaboration, productivity. And perhaps most importantly, consider the notion that you may never again take the way we connect with people for granted again!