This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
This ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain’t got time for that now
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
To last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no headphones,
Ain’t got no records to play
Life During Wartime, The Talking Heads
I keep thinking about the song Life During Wartime by the Talking Heads. I always thought it was about some dystopian, war-ravaged society and yet the lyrics seem to eerily describe our current situation.
It’s now week 5 of Coronavirus quarantine for us here in Southern California (week 4 for some), and as I watch individuals, teams, and businesses try to figure out this ever-changing landscape which is operating on day-by-day basis, I wanted to offer some tools that may be helpful to leaders now leading 100% remote teams.
These are the structures that often arise a bit too late after a team has been working remotely for a while – aka, everyone’s frustrated and somebody has finally figured out that the team needs some clarity. So doing this up-front (or ASAP) can help you and the team get back to what matters most: making an impact through your work.
If your team is used to remote work, before completely disregarding these suggestions, ask yourself: have I actually put these things in place?
Put the Human in Human Resources (please… finally)
Now more than ever – we need leaders leading with heart-centered humanity. You’re going to see your employees’ kids, partners, roommates, living situations. You’re going to see them navigating a lot of feelings associated with loss (loss of doing their favorite activities, loss of freedom, loss of financial security, loss of health) or experiencing some fear and anxiety. They may not be as bright, chipper, or eager. They may seem more apathetic, or on the other end of the spectrum, frustrated. Now is the time to lead with compassion, empathy, and hold back any judgments you have about how they’re currently presenting themselves.
Share Your #WFH Expectations
Most of us have expectations around when we expect our team to be online, average response time, channels used to communicate certain messages (more on that below), and yet… for some reason we don’t communicate those things up front. Don’t be that person!
If you need your team online by a certain time, let them know. If you expect emails to be responded to within a “reasonable” time, define what reasonable means to you. Clarity is key here and your team’s ability to read between the lines may be diminished by distance. Now is the time to over-communicate.
Define Your Communication Channels
Email. Slack. Text. Zoom. Hangouts. There are SO MANY ways to communicate these days – it can and will make your teams’ heads spin if you aren’t helping them understand the following:
How should I communicate, to whom, when, and what are the expectations around response times?
Hint: if your team is expected to respond immediately within every communication channel, you’re going to have burnt out, frazzled, fried, downright crispy team members (not what you’re going for).
So here’s a freebie to help with that.
Click on the chart below to be able to download it, along with a customizable Canva template that you can tailor for your own company.
Offer the right amount of virtual team connection
Think of virtual team happy hours or get togethers as the salt in a recipe. Without a little salt, the food is bland and lacking something. Too much though, and it turns people off. It’s definitely important to get your team together regularly to say hi, check in, see how people are doing.
But especially if your company is still busy, you also want to recognize that your employees are still trying to get their work done (now from home, with potential distractions like kids, partners, etc.) and will still see this as a work responsibility (even if it’s fun).
So you’ll need to gauge how effective these virtual get togethers are by asking yourself: Are people engaged? Do they send you notes afterwards thanking you for the time? Do they bring ideas about what to include next?
If not, you may want to do them less frequently and with more intention.
And if you need support here, let me know. I’m averaging about one virtual workshop a week for my clients and their employees are loving it.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? Be sure to like, comment, and share!