By now, many of you have made the transition to working from home. In working with leaders and groups on Working Virtually, there are many elements to consider. I wanted to share some ideas to pave the way for clarity, connection, collaboration, productivity and stability in our virtual environment.
Create a solid foundation for yourself
- Have clearly defined roles in your home: who does what and when. If you have children at home, support them to understand their super powers and how they can make a difference by applying those strengths.
- Create a plan: Have a schedule that fits for your new combination of roles as you will need to work around things such as working out of the same space as your spouse, taking turns parenting, teaching, shopping, and having alone time.
- Have a dedicated workspace. Ensure your set-up creates ease of communication and organization – for example, proper hardware, software, internet bandwidth.
- Set boundaries for yourself around when you work and when you don’t and close the office when you are done for the day such as closing your laptop at 5 pm.
- Have ways of distinguishing between work and non-work – for example, where work clothes to work and switch to casual clothes when not working.
Set a solid foundation for your team
- When you have set a solid foundation for yourself, you can now model the way for the team and share how you are creating a healthy balance for yourself.
- Expectations provide clarity around forward moving action. Having clear expectations provides people with a positive focus and something that they can contribute to and work towards. Be clear: what has changed in terms of expectations, what is expected by when, what is expected about how things get done.
- Leaving people alone is not helpful. Connecting is important. Create clarity around communication and means of communication under what circumstances? When and how will you keep in touch?
- Follow through on what you said you were going to do. Walk your talk.
- Let go of perfect and aim for progress. Remember to acknowledge what is going well and build on that. Fine-tune your strategies as you learn what could be working better.
Use different types of meetings for different purposes – connect often but don’t have meetings for everything
- Hold weekly team meetings by webinar and use webinar protocols to keep meetings efficient and effective:
- Create group guidelines – this article has some ideas: https://www.nten.org/article/9-best-practices-engagement-virtual-meetings/
- Send agenda ahead of time
- Do a quick check-in including you as a leader (… or get the check-in information from people ahead of time, summarize it, and send it out before the meeting. Then, use your meeting time for questions, collaborative problem-solving, asks and follow-on action items see https://blog.powerspeaking.com/how-to-run-a-successful-virtual-meeting)
- Share something positive and create a solutions-oriented focus
- State the agenda
- Check-in on actions items previously committed to – person by person
- Discuss new items
- Create additional actions
- Go around the room and have each person share what action they are committing to, how, and by when
- Compile and, immediately after the meeting, share an updated list of commitments with the who and timeline
- Do a check-out.
- Check-in on team members one-on-one to see how they are doing – no business content.
- Have a weekly group online lunch or happy hour for casual connection.
Various types of communication tools are important. Match your mode of communication with the matter at hand. For example:
- Webinar software for team or group meetings such as Google Meetings, Webex, Zoom.
- Shared software for project documents such as Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive.
- Shared asynchronous chat and communication software for teams or projects such as Hangouts Chat, Microsoft Teams, Slack.
- Phone for quick check-in’s or clarifications.
- Text for quick messages instead of prior hallway or desk chats.
There are many adjustments to working virtually. It is possible to be even more productive. Creating connection is a key human need and important to nurture. The above tips go a long way towards creating connection, stability, and a sense of togetherness.
Yours in adaptation,
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