Over the last few weeks, many leaders have been thrown into the deep end of the pool with a sudden shift to leading remotely. We are sharing a few tips to help leaders establish new practices in this environment.
1. Set a schedule and designate a work area
Working from home can quickly become a scenario where you never stop, causing you to feel overwhelmed or burnt out. Be disciplined about your time: set a schedule with a start and stop time, and don’t forget to include a lunch break! And even though you don’t head to a separate building for work, it should feel like a separate space. You need somewhere you can leave at the end of the day to disconnect from your work. It doesn’t have to be a separate room – even a dedicated corner of your dinner table will do!
2. Have a system to show when you are busy
If you have kids, having a system to show when you are busy is always a helpful idea. Hang a sign on the door, or a red ribbon or green ribbon on the door knob to indicate when you are busy. Keep it simple for them, so that it’s easy to understand.
3. Commit to daily check-ins
Working remotely means fewer opportunities for impromptu conversations with your team, so set aside time to check in daily with the group. Having a regular touchpoint not only gives employees the opportunity to ask questions or address issues they would have otherwise asked in person. It also sends a message that you are there to support them through this challenging time.
4. Don’t just rely on email or chat
It may be tempting to rely on email or chat for your communication, but these tools don’t offer the same level of personal connection or helpful social cues like tone of voice and facial expressions. Take advantage of video conferencing whenever possible, or call on the phone, to get a deeper level of connection with your team and reduce the likelihood that your message will be misinterpreted.
5. Foster social interaction
Is your team still connecting on a social level and getting the opportunity to talk about things outside of work? Schedule a virtual event, like a coffee break or a game, to provide space for those informal interactions that used to happen at the office and help everyone feel less isolated.
6. Make time for family
If you have a family, take advantage of being home when normally you would be at work, and your kids would be at school. Schedule a family “meeting” each day or set aside time to eat lunch together. Set up a video call with remote family members. Commit to being fully present in these activities and take the pressure off yourself – if a day goes off track, that’s ok!
7. Practice gratitude
In times of crisis, the negative impact of change is often the only thing we think about, causing us to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or discouraged. Balance out the negative by practicing gratitude. What’s one positive thing that has come out of this change for which you are thankful? Are you getting to spend more time with family? Finally getting to that 10,000 steps a day? Reconnecting with some old friends on video calls? Help your team shift their mindset by sharing what they are thankful for in your next meeting.