#SocialDistancing doesn’t mean we stop working
The arrival and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly altered how, when, and where companies around the globe conduct business. Social distancing and remote work environments are our new normal for the time being. Both have created numerous new challenges for companies as we shift our workforce from in-office to virtual work. How will we track employee productivity? How do we conduct project meetings or reviews when we’re scattered across a city? How can we effectively conduct client meetings? With little to no time to test these policies, many companies are having to abruptly adapt in an attempt to keep their business moving forward.
Pinsight was founded as a virtual company with our team scattered across home offices, co-working spaces and 9 time zones around the globe over 10 years ago. Over the last decade we have identified the top 5 things supervisors and employees need to consider in their transition to a virtual environment:
Time management is important in general but managing your priorities and staying on top of things is essential when adjusting to a new work environment. There are distractions like Netflix, napping, errands, the gym (if they were open), and more to take your eye off work. Planning your time effectively and appropriately is key. Task management software such as Notion.so, Asana, Trello, Smartsheet or Wrike provide a variety of solutions for helping track projects big or small throughout the project pipeline, as well as the ability to collaborate and communicate with the team online. You can also develop daily task lists for each employee so they’re able to effectively plan out their day. Bullet journals or notebooks are another excellent way to manage daily to do lists, just be careful nothing slips through the cracks.
Always start your day by orienting yourself and understanding what tasks you need to get done first. This allows you to stay organized and focuses your time and energy effectively to get everything done you need to.
We identified 79 leadership behaviors through our research and wrote simple, 5-minute daily exercises for all of them. Here we give you the ones that are particularly important for each section. You can learn more in The Leader Habit by Martin Lanik, CEO of Pinsight. There are likely several micro-behaviors related to each section but we’re highlighting the one we believe to be the most effective.
Plan and Organize Work – Planning and organizing work means determining the resources needed to accomplish a given objective and planning who will do what and by when.
Adaptability and Adjustment
Having the skill set of adaptability and adjustment is a skill that every employer wants— so now’s the perfect time for you to brush up on those skills! Given that you no longer have your typical work desk and/or office space, it is important that you designate and set up a workplace for yourself at home. Pick a place where there are as little distractions as possible and space to comfortably work. As you work throughout the day, take (reasonable) breaks. A virtual workday can quickly become a slog without coworkers, meetings, and discussions over lunch to help break up the day. We have to allow ourselves time to stop, recharge, and move forward. Doing so will allow yourself to de-stress and continue to produce quality work.
Remember, everyone on your team is making the same adjustments. Regardless if you’re their supervisor or peer, be encouraging and engaging with your team and check-in occasionally to make sure they’re adjusting and doing alright.
Build Team Spirit – building team spirit means creating a sense of cohesion on your team by linking its mission to organizational strategy and helping it accomplish its goals.
Managing a Team You Can’t See
Being virtual means you are no longer able to walk over and check-in as regularly on your team members. So, as a supervisor or team member, have regular check-ins. These could be 10-15 minutes stand ups at the start or end of the day via Zoom or some other software. They could be longer, more in-depth weekly hour-long check-ins with your supervisor.
Be a leader to your peers and supervisors by leading with trust. Trust plays a big role in how your team operates. It shapes how your employees view you and the company, which ultimately affects overall job performance and productivity. Communication should be a two-way street rather than just you talking at those on your team. Be transparent in the information you relay. Good communication continuously develops trust among your team and also allows for employee feedback and development. Lastly, do your best to not micromanage every move of your employees. With trust also comes autonomy. Allow your employees the freedom to work and complete tasks at their discretion. If deadlines are met and the level of quality isn’t affected, the way your employees choose to work shouldn’t be a top priority for you.
Listen Actively – listening actively means hearing and comprehending another by asking insightful questions and checking your own understanding.
Routine & Balance
It’s easy to get out of the swing of things when working from home. However, by setting a routine for yourself and building good habits, you can continue to work at the level you did in your typical work environment. without a routine for yourself, it’s easy to fall into the temptations of procrastination. To help get into a new routine of working remotely, start by setting your alarm and keep your alarm set at the same time so that you will wake up at the same time every day. Before jumping straight to work, start your day with intention. Have your goals for the day written down and aim for achieving them by the end of that day. To help creating intention, plan your day out the night before and set a schedule for yourself so you and your team can stay on target.
When you’re through with your day and it’s time to move on from work we have shut the laptop and walk away. Put focus elsewhere, perhaps on a task needing to be done around the house and begin doing things separate from work. It’s easy to let work seep into our personal time in a work from home environment but it’s important that those boundaries are set, and everyone maintains time for themselves. Try and maintain some of that routine you had prior to the transition: set aside time for the gym, attending a (virtual) happy hour with friends. Remember, it’s all about knowing when it’s time to shut the laptop and walk away.
Manage priorities – managing priorities means identifying which tasks are most important and allocating appropriate time to accomplish them.
Given that our teams are no longer in the same building as you, how do you work on their development when you’re unable to see them? Lots of communication, trust, and feedback are involved. 30, 60, 90-day goal meetings are perfect for helping aligning team members and their supervisors to the projects and goals on their agenda over the next several months. Communication is key to remote development. To aid in development, ensure that your employees know what your expectations are and know what your employees expect of you as a leader. Also, feedback is vital for ongoing and continuous development. Continually giving and receiving feedback allows for you and your employees to develop in areas in that may be lacking and allows for both sides to gauge their performance.
As an additional resource to your team development, Pinsight can help assist in developing your team in both areas of strengths and weaknesses (e.g., managing your priorities, communication skills, make good decisions, mentoring and coaching, creating time urgency, etc.) with our virtual assessment and development solution. With it you’re able to understand the competencies your leaders possess and give them the tools to understand and improve them with daily practice.
Mentor and Coach – mentoring and coaching means actively developing others through feedback, challenging assignments, reflection, and suggestions.
Even though there are many moving pieces going on in our ever-changing environment today, keep an eye during this time that you’re not letting biases get in the way of managing your team fairly. Whether working traditionally in an office or working remotely, unconscious bias still exists among us and impacts managerial decisions on a day-to-day basis. Learn more about how you can identify and tackle unconscious biases in your workplace, before they become a problem, at RepairTheRung.com.‹ Previous PostNext Post ›