Many companies and industries have accommodated for working from home for some time, yet there are still many that find the current landscape new territory. While there are some companies that are 100% remote, most have a home base where the only time personnel work from home is for personal and temporary situations.
Not only are many of us working from home for an extended period of time but we also have families, pets, and other factors that make the transition and adjustment unique. Helping your staff adjust to working from home and remote meetings is not just a physical transition but also a psychological one that many of us were not prepared for. But with some adjustments and greater awareness, you can excel in this environment as a team by leading from home.
How to stay connected better
One advantage of being co-located is the personal interaction that may not be work-related. Most of us can take a few minutes to talk to someone about their day or their life. While this time is always more personal in person, using a chat tool is a great alternative.
We all know chat tools are a great alternative to keep a team connected but you can also use it to have some much-needed fun. Try:
- Popping a daily question that drives good conversation
- Ask everyone to post a high school picture
- Encourage sharing a video of what the kids or pets are doing
How to understand more clearly
Another advantage of working in an office is having the ability to meet multiple times or for an extended period of time to work through issues and drive work forward. Working from home during a quarantine with family means that not sticking to meeting schedules can impact the house schedule created to balance work and home life. This means that any meetings we have with our team need to be efficiently performed to maximize productivity and alignment.
We all know we need to come prepared for meetings and work together but you can take it to the next level with just a little more effort and focus. Try:
- Creating an agenda for every meeting the day before using a meeting tool like Docket
- Sharing the agenda in advance and ask for contributions
- Include time at the end of each meeting to document decisions and tasks
How to support others better
In the office, you can see the mood of each person who walks in the door and you can hear their tone as they talk to others around you. The senses are such a gift in helping understand when someone is frustrated, angry, hurt, or stressed. Unfortunately working from home eliminates our super senses so we need to kick things up a notch to accommodate for this lack of awareness.
We all know talking with others is important which is why most of us have regularly scheduled 1:1’s with our direct reports but when everyone is remote and during a stressful situation, we need to look at our calendars and decide…is that enough? Try:
- Scheduling more frequent 1:1’s
- Scheduling 1:1’s with those you work closely with but don’t typically have this type of meeting
- Creating office hours and sharing with others that you have availability on your schedule to have 1:1’s if anyone is looking to talk
How to make it work better
The reality is this…everyone is working remotely and the family is on the other side of the door. Many households have more than one parent with full-time obligations which means both parents need to balance their work, meetings, and family schedules. What is most important right now is that your employees stay healthy and in order to do that, they need rest, a schedule that works in their household, and time to focus on the work you need them to do.
While everyone knows there isn’t much they can do about their current situation, many will create unnecessary stress and guilt in trying to balance all of this. But you can try:
- Relieving some of their stress by letting your employees know you understand their situation
- Talking to them about what schedule works best for them and working through any concerns on both sides
- Trusting your people to do their job. They will.