In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, telework is the new norm. This evolving work mode can have an impact on the commitment and sense of belonging of your team members as well as your team’s consolidation.
Here are eleven tips for managers, to help you through this new reality and achieve your objectives.
Take care of your image.
Yes, we are at home and yes, we have comfy at home clothes. But are they appropriate: according to your role, your responsibilities and what you want to shine? You are their team members’ role model. You are their leader. If you let yourself go, the others will follow. Some will even level down. It’s not about being in a suit and heels. It’s about dressing for “work” from home. Make an effort, including wearing makeup, if you usually do when you go to work. Also be strategic with your background on videoconferencing. Adjust your camera and the lighting, plus tidy up your space.
Establish a communication and engagement routine.
- Decide on a work and meeting schedule that is suitable for everyone. As with your children, it’s reassuring to have regular meetings. It minimizes the effects of this new isolation.
- Establish communication hours with expected returns.
- Also, be sure to advise that if necessary, your employees may be absent to care for family members or just to breathe.
- Add the agenda to your meeting invitations. Everyone can then prepare accordingly.
Assign a DJ / VJ to your daily meetings.
Team members take turns playing their song or showing a video to start to end the meeting.
Participate in your teleconferences while walking, and invite others to do so.
It’s a two in one, which also contributes to the health of everyone on your team, including your own.
Encourage virtual coffees.
For example, weekly allow time for team members to reach to connect with a distant colleague or catch with close colleague, during a virtual coffee break. New ties will be forged, and team cohesion will be increased.
Allow participants to socialize prior to meeting.
Book the virtual meeting room fifteen minutes earlier. Those who want to can go in and chat: ask for techno help, share a recipe or present their pet.
Create, review and work together in real time.
With tools like Google Docs, collaborative work is stimulating and very effective.
Invite team members to teach a lesson.
It could be: a tutorial on how to use a new collaborative application, a debrief after listening to a podcast or participating in a quiz that will reveal the different personalities on the team.
Organize virtual games.
Pictionary, Scrabble, Jeopardy, there are many games that can be played on line and that will respect your employer’s policy. They are perfect to end the work week on Friday.
Have a bingo, to encourage or to minimize behaviours.
- Prepare a sheet with 25 elements, like:
- I did yoga on my chair.
- I wore my pajama bottoms during our teleconference.
- Sent a “Thank you” email to a team member.
- Heard someone say “I love you” to their spouse. They weren’t muted.
- Had pizza for breakfast.
Conclude your meetings by recognizing and thanking.
Your employees are all craving that much-appreciated “pat on the back” during water cooler talks. Compliment or give your team members the opportunity to do so.
In these times of change, of adaptation, take care of yourself. Form a support group with your peers. Allow yourself to disconnect and respect that schedule too. You are important and precious. Patience, kindness and empathy also apply to you.