The developments of the COVID-19 virus have forced most of us to work from home. This corona quarantine is spreading out team members over several locations. Is that a bad thing? It doesn’t have to be. This article discusses how you can use this situation as an opportunity to manage your team and to keep your focus lean and mean.
The keys to succesfully run your company remotely are effective communication, team engagement, and monitoring of team development.
Communication should be your number one priority. Touch base with your team members on any platform that is possible. Especially in these times calling or video calling are the way to go, because the last thing you want is for your team members to feel isolated.
Host virtual meetings
Keep the team spirits high and make sure you host virtual team meetings. Use a program such as Zoom or Houseparty so that all team members can see each other and hear what everybody has to say for that real team feeling. While this may seem easy, make sure you keep everyone focused in these meetings. Specifically in virtual meetings people can get distracted easily. Check out this article of the Harvard Business Review on how to get people to actually participate in virtual meetings. Spoiler alert: Create structured opportunities for the team members to engage fully.
Prevent E-mail overload
Take this opportunity and ditch the idea of using e-mails for internal communication. At Sprints & Sneakers we use the messaging platform Slack to avoid email clutter. We have multiple channels that help us share files, set reminders and communicate about certain projects more effectively. 10/10 would recommend.
In case you have to use e-mails: save them up. Send one bigger structured email, instead of sending five separate smaller ones.
Ask how other team members are doing, show empathy and make sure to communicate your feelings clearly. Team members are working from home, so they might have pets or kids in the background during an important meeting, have to get up to take care of their family, or might feel sick. All you can do as an employer is to be human and be understanding. Take into account that digital messages may come across differently then you have intended them to, so better be safe than sorry and clearly communicate how you feel about things.
The developments of the Corona virus may have effects on the way your company operates. Engage your team in developing a new plan for the upcoming months. Host a brainstorm session or let team members submit ideas on how they believe the company should follow up with the current situation. At Sprints & Sneakers we created a Google Doc in which every team member can share their ideas for the upcoming months. The best ideas will be discussed and implemented in the company.
The entire team is in this situation together, so take it as an opportunity to learn and develop together. This is the time for your team members to step up and develop valuable creative, entrepreneurial and leadership skills.
While focused on reaching your goals, keep the company culture alive by casually reaching out to your team and have fun. Try to do the same things you would usually do in the office. For example, you can still have your Friday afternoon drink together, but virtually this time and share funny things you would usually share when working at the office.
Monitoring team development
Since everybody is working from home there is no way to constantly experience what they are doing and if they are doing the right things. Stay on the right track by planning and monitoring tasks and trust that team members are doing exactly what they need to do. Programs such as Asana and Trello can help you and your team create an overview of the tasks that need to be done and show the development of all projects. Plan a set moment in the week where team members have to share their plan for the week to make sure everybody is heading in the right direction.
Let everybody share their daily tasks by posting it into a group communication channel. Install reminders for tasks that help with planning, such as ticking off the tasks team members have completed at the end of the day.
Go through the planning at the end of the week to keep an eye on the progress in the company. Are you on the right track? Or are things going slower than planned? Either way, communicate it to the team and adjust the planning where needed.
Communication is key to staying lean and mean during the corona quarantine. Especially when working remotely, make sure you communicate effectively to engage your team and monitor team development. And don’t forget to have fun with your team at the same time! We’re all in this together and a little fun will help us get through!
If you want any tips on how to grow your business during these chaotic times, don’t hesitate to contact us.