With a huge number of people working remotely (from home) for the first time ever, or at least the first time for an extended period, the way we work has had to shift.
You have probably also seen the memes or screenshots of Twitter posts about the fact that we aren’t just ‘working from home’ but we are ‘at home working during a global economic and health crisis’.You will have also heard (more times than you’d like, I’m sure) that these are‘unprecedented’ and ‘uncertain’ times!
So how do you manage a team now that you can’t pull up a chair next to them to work through that project brief, or notice across the office that they’ve slumped their head on the desk?
This isn’t a new leadership tool, and it will continue to be one of, if not the most, important thing to do when managing people. Make sure people know what is expected of them (even if that is the same as always – lots of people’s lives have been turned upside down, so they may expect that their roles or workload will have shifted too!). Have regular check-ins one-on-one and as a team (being wary of meeting fatigue). Ask people to share their top priority or three for the day and if you need that to shift, let them know, early!
It’s likely that you had a good time with your team when you all got to hang out. Did you have a debrief of MAFS around the zip-tap of a morning, or have a giggle while you strolled around the corner for coffee. Try to do some of these activities virtually. Whether you start a channel on Slack/Teams for discussing Tiger King theories or create a team drop in Zoom for coffee catch ups throughout the day, make time for these connections. It may seem unproductive – but let’s be real, were you really head down bum up for the entire day in the office? Yea, we didn’t think so!
Of the people we’ve been speaking to, 30%of people are feeling super unmotivated and unproductive, 30% are working more than ever with less distraction and less options of other activities, and the rest are flip flopping between the two on a weekly, daily or hourly basis! You may need to get a bit more hands on with your team members and help them break their bigger projects into smaller tasks and give them deadlines for these.Obviously you need to be mindful about not stepping into micromanagement, but many of us are deadline driven beasts and so having that little bit of pressure can be the boost we need to get it done! Pomadoro timers are also super popular and great to work for a sprint and then reward yourself with a break – in fact,I’m using one right now to write this blog, and then it’s wine-o’clock!
As managers and/or business owners the same duty of care that we have for our team when they are in our physical office space applies when people are at home. So we remain responsible for creating a healthy and safe work environment for our team, both physically and mentally.
Physically - Make sure your team knows how best to set up their work station and environment, even if it’snot possible to provide everyone with a whizz-bang chair with 20 different knobs or three monitors. A dedicated and enjoyable workspace can do wonders for your productivity. We’ve popped together a modest checklist you can download here that your teams can use to assess their work environment and desk set up!
Mentally - You have no doubt heard about the huge toll this whole situation is taking on people’s mental health, and as managers it is our job to support where we can. Making sure you regularly check-in with team members one-on-one, about their work and their well-being. Encouraging the team to stretch or take a walk around the block to give themselves a mental break and step away from their screen.