It goes without saying that the last two weeks have been the most challenging time in recent years both on an individual and business level. While some sectors have been hit harder than others, nearly every workplace has had to change the way they go about their normal day. With most people working remotely it can be hard to maintain team morale with the lack of face to face interaction. Now more than ever employees are looking to leadership for guidance and support especially staff who are not familiar with working remotely.
We are lucky that we are surrounded by high-tech systems that allow us to stay connected but it’s important to be innovative in how we use these systems to maintain morale within the company. With that in mind, I’d love to share some concepts that we have introduced to our new remote working environment that have worked for our team amazingly well.
In a time of social distancing, there are a range of systems teams across the country are using to stay connected. We have found Microsoft Teams to be an excellent tool for calls, videos and chats. We start each day with a team video call at 9am.
On Mondays, we start the week by posting a picture from our weekend in our WhatsApp group (our regular pre-quarantine routine). Then, we log on to teams chat through these and tell each other about our weekends. It sounds simple but talking face to face and keeping things upbeat helps keep us close and maintains a level of normality.
Throughout the day we use different channels for the sharing of different news.
We have a ‘Good News to Share’, ‘Accountability channel’, various project specific channels, and a ‘Random’ channel for general news, pictures, and recommendations for good books/articles that we’ve read (follow us on Goodreads to get book reviews and recommendations from Engage People https://www.goodreads.com/engage-people).
In our ‘accountability channel’ we start of each day by listing out our top 3 goals for the day and discuss how we plan on achieving these goals. This has been essential to our working day for several reasons. Communicating your daily goals and having a plan in place for each day holds everyone accountable. Whether you’re in a leadership role or not, it’s vital to encourage one another to reach these goals. Be practical and ambitious. Opportunities still exist in this current climate.
Each day we wrap up with a video call at 5pm. Each team member speaks about their day focussing on their three goals and how they went about achieving them. After this, we usually discuss evening plans. We share Netflix and book recommendations, things we would speak about at the end of the day if we were in the office. It is important to remember to allow time for conversations outside of work-related topics as it takes time to adjust from working in a busy office environment to working remotely and people will be craving outside social interaction during isolation.
Ensure Learning and Development is Priority
Has there been a project that you wanted to roll out, but you didn’t have the time in the office to do it? Use the time in the mornings and evenings that would usually be spent in the car or on public transport to brainstorm new concepts that you would like to implement. Dedicate time in the diary for training sessions and share useful material. Prioritize one to one catch ups where you can candidly discuss progress. Use this time to put the emphasis back on developing your team members.
For many, the way we go about our business has changed and so has our daily responsibilities. Get creative and involve the team. One way we have done this is with the introduction of a ‘work bingo’. It includes daily & weekly targets with a range of various tasks. Some tasks will be regular KPIs and some can be fun or innovative. Setting up a way to track progress and productivity easily is important in a remote environment but keeping it positive and fun can help.
No one likes to feel like their hard work has gone unnoticed. Unfortunately, this is likelier to happen when working remotely. Recognising a team members hard work is central to maintaining morale. Make is easy for the team to acknowledge each other’s efforts also. One way we do this is through the setup of separate Microsoft team channels – one for positive updates and one for negative updates. That way team members can share updates whether it be reaching a target, finishing a project, closing a deal or on the other hand a deal being pulled. Keep the team spirit alive by celebrating the wins and acknowledging the losses, and then keep moving.
It can’t be all work and no fun. Try to maintain the social activities that you normally do in the office. Remember that the team are used to socialising with one another in various ways such as eating lunch together, having a coffee and a chat, drinks after work or maybe working out together. Most of these activities can be done together remotely, it just takes some getting used to. The personality and culture of your company can still shine in a remote environment.
Instead of our regular Friday wrap up in the office we now do a virtual end of the week virtual party instead (we each bring our own drinks and snacks). Each week one person is tasked with finding some fun quizzes or games we can play virtually and MCing the evening. It allows for a regular end of week decompress -and some friendly competition!
For a confidential discussion, you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 6994532