As a leader in your organization it is important to direct, encourage and keep your team accountable and thriving in a work at home environment. Connecting with your team remotely will be a challenge with several hurdles that may cause issues such as, using new technology, feeling connected, staying motivated, keeping productive, and achieving the same results as you did when you were all in the same office. However, rest assured that although this might be a new experience for your team, teams have been working this way for years, and we have provided some great tips to help you along your way.
Use Video Conferencing and Turn on Your Camera
There are no alternatives to enhancing your communication with your team then by using a video conferencing platform. Microsoft Teams that comes with a subscription to Office 365 is a great choice to connect with others both in and outside your organization. It allows for face to face discussions, collaboration with files and documents, and even comes with other productivity tools ready to go.
See that your team members all have web cameras so and turn them on. You will be amazed at how soon your team will get used to seeing themselves, and others within their home environments. It will help with feeling connected to them as you see them working in their homes.
Connect Often with Your Team
Hold regular video conference meetings with your team is not an impossible task and I recommend holding at least 3 meetings a week depending on the size of your team and the nature of your business. This creates a precedent that will allow for quick interactions, review of key tasks and milestones and allow for time to just visit and reconnect. You may find it useful to meet daily before your team gets busy with the day to check in and set proper expectations for the day. Whatever works for you see that you have regular interactions, have them set on the same time and day, and stick to it.
We use the following and have found it to be very useful. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday we meet as a team for 30mins, this meeting is outside of any other regular scheduled meetings. These meetings are strictly to check in and catch up with what is going on and for us to readjust priorities if needed.
Monday – THE HUDDLE MEETING: We have our weekly morning meetings on Monday to frame out the week, set goals, discuss priorities, and chat about our weekend.
Wednesday – THE STITCH MEETING: We meet on Wednesday for a midweek check in. We make sure we are all on task for reaching our goals, provide help where needed and adjust priorities. During this meeting we might extend it for an hour and have lunch over video conference.
Friday – THE FOLLOW UP MEETING: We meet on Friday for an end of week check in. We discuss what went well, what was tricky and what we could have done differently on the activities of the week. We review performance vs results and allow for everyone to provide insight, and then use whatever time remains to discuss plans for the weekend.
Set Out Clear Expectations
When your team understands what you expect of them it is easier for them to work independently. Your job is to become autonomous allowing your team to work with self-sufficiency and with purpose. If there are any questions surrounding their role on your team now is the time to get specific. See that they understand the goal of your team and how they can personally contribute. Identify specific activities and behaviour you want them to do and portray. Ask them to set goals for the week so you can assist them with priorities and recognize their accomplishments and provide guidance at weeks end.
Don’t make every interaction about business. Take some 1 one 1 time with each individual and seek to understand their unique situation. As you allocate time each week to check in with your team they will sense your genuine interest in their lives, and success. Make sure you have a good understanding of how they are coping with the new work environment by asking thoughtful questions, such as;
- [up to weekly] What is blocking you from hitting your metric, and how can I help remove that?
- [monthly] I’d like to tell you something I notice about you that you are fantastic at. Ready?
- [monthly] How are you growing? May I give you some advice about something I notice about you that you could grow in?
- [monthly] What’s the #1 thing you think you need to double down on to win? What’s the #1 thing you (or we as a company) need to stop doing that’s not driving impact?
- [quarterly] What is keeping you from doing your best work, and how can I help?
- [quarterly] Tell me something that really motivated you this quarter. Time you were de-motivated?
- [quarterly] What advice do you have for me as a leader?
Create a discussion group in Microsoft TEAMS and use it for posting fun stories, videos and messages that can help your team build strong relationships and get to know each other on a more personal basis. Get together for virtual parties, Happy Hour, and Lunches. Seek for ways to recognize individual accomplishments and celebrate important milestones or team achievements. Do what you can to uplift and bring life into your team.
As we have moved towards working more at home and connecting with each other over video conferencing we have actually become closer as a team. We have discovered just how important it is to get together more regularly and to learn about our likes and dislikes. This change has made us more productive, connected, and successful. Of course, we are looking forward to reconnecting in person, and plan to continue some of the things we have learned while apart. However, until then we are making the best of this situation, and we know you can to.