Engaging and managing your virtual/remote team

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

virtualteam1 Never before have we seen such a change in the way most people work. For many years, people have worked from home on an odd occasion and some people who work virtually have done this for years. But, for the majority of people, working from home and remotely from the rest of the team is a new way of working and from conversations over the last couple of weeks, many are struggling to adjust.

Let’s not forget, this is likely because many people have been ricocheted into this and the change takes some getting used to. As a team, we have often worked from home, yet we are all feeling the “distance” and cannot wait for the day we can meet up in person again. This is what we are used to and to have this taken away so quickly, is challenging on many levels.

So, we thought it might be worth sharing some of our top tips for engaging and managing a virtual team but we cannot stress enough, that some people will still find this hard and emotional and may be struggling with the lack of human contact.

Here are some of our suggestions to help keep us all engaged in the coming weeks:-

Talk every day – keep the personal connection with your team. Whether it’s via zoom or facetime, skype or just plain old telephone, make sure you make the time to talk to the team. We have been talking twice a day on a certain time and then numerous phone calls in between along with using WhatsApp for general social chat.

Talk about wellbeing – many people are struggling at the moment. In our team alone, we have gone through lows, feeling down/fed up, angry, upset, feeling loss, insecurity and we have all said our emotions feel very much on the surface, ready to come out! For that reason, it is more important than ever to ask people how they are feeling. This is also true of furloughed workers too. There has been a lot of conversations about “am I allowed to talk to my team if they are furloughed?”. Why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you want to know they are doing OK and offer support to them if they are not?

Get some structure and routine to your day – we all said that Monday mornings have felt the worst. We’ve never suffered with Monday morning blues, but we are all finding this our toughest day. So, help put some structure in. We’ve been starting with a bit of Joe Wicks, then a Microsoft Teams with our own team, then a Zoom with a number of clients and businesses. The afternoon then working on some of our new online learning and catching up with clients. Whatever your day looks like, create some structure and it will help.

Have a plan – so as well as some structure, have a plan too. If you want to have productive employees, you must find ways to ensure people have short term, medium term and long-term plans. Use the time in the coming weeks to review your plans and find ways to communicate these to your teams. One thing we have been doing is agreeing each day what our top 3 things to do that day will be.

Recognise achievements – sometimes it is the little things that make the big difference. And never more so have we needed people to feel valued and important. So, what have you done each day to let your team know how important they are to you and how valued their contribution is?

Have an ending to your day – we have all said it is very easy to continue working over lunch and into the early evening. This is a time for us all to get some of that precious time back that we never normally get, where we can. So, stop for lunch, go for that walk, enjoy some time with the family, and have a routine at the end of the day to signify to yourself that you are stopping.

Be a leader – there have been some great examples of this in the last few weeks and unfortunately some very bad examples too. Your test here is to make sure that you can look yourself in the mirror every night and know that you have done the right thing. It might have taken years to build trust with your team and with one bad move, you can lose it in an instant. Work hard in the coming weeks to keep your integrity and trust intact.

To help further on this topic, we thought it would be helpful to run a FREE session this week on “Engaging and leading a remote/virtual team” which has been in response to a request from a number of people who are looking for help now they are working with a remote team. Together we will discuss the key steps to leading and engaging your team and how me may need to adapt our approach to the current changing environment. There are two sessions to choose from:-

• Tuesday 7th April 2.30-3.30pm

Register using this link

OR

• Thursday 9th April 2.30-3.30pm

Register using this link

We do hope you can join us and look forward to seeing you on one of the sessions.

If you would prefer to discuss this on a one-to-one basis, please do not hesitate to contact Michelle over the coming weeks on 07772 921460. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

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