Welcome to the remote revolution. The coronavirus pandemic has millions working from home. For employees, it’s another sign of the times. For employers, it’s another challenge to figure out on the fly.
We’ve seen plenty of articles offering tips for managing remote staff. They tend to say stuff like “communicate often” and “check-in regularly.” Hopefully, you were already doing that before this pandemic. Let’s talk about the less obvious stuff. Here’s how to pull it off:
A changing world means changing the way we work. Don’t hold on to plans, projects, and KPIs of the past. That’s a recipe for stress, and it isn't productive right now.
Instead, focus on helping your team define its new reality. Chart a path forward for them.
Just like it sounds, deep work is a time to cognitively get in the zone. This method, based on a book by Cal Newport, has been a lifesaver at BAM. We recommend everyone schedules their deep work for the same slot each week. Having it in place will bring much-needed focus time during a chaotic time.
Anxiety is through the roof. We blow-off steam with digital happy hours. Yes, just like the ones you’ve seen all over your social feed. It’s been a chance for us to laugh as a group. We’re also realizing we need to up our game. One of our clients hosted a "Babies & Booze" digital happy hour, and we saw a “dress up from the neck up” theme, too.
We’re also using Donut, a Slack app that pairs coworkers for a virtual coffee chat or lunch. We encourage our team, now more than ever, to connect. We believe it’s important to put the work talk aside and just check-in. We’re doing our best to help make that happen.
When you’re in isolation, it’s easier to slip into a dark place. We’ve always encouraged our employees to have a healthy lifestyle, but we’re taking things up a notch.
We started a morning meditation via Slack, so we can calm our minds collectively. There are also group fitness challenges, and several employees are taking remote exercise classes together.
We’re more transparent about our emotions, too. We now start every internal meeting by saying how we’re feeling based on a simple color code: Red means we’re overwhelmed or not in a good place; Yellow means we’re OK, but could be better; Green means we’re feeling positive and good. This isn’t something we did for the pandemic, it’s likely something we’ll continue well after.
No doubt, these are hard times. With a little creativity, and a lot of flexibility, you can support your employees when they need it most, and perhaps even help them connect in new ways.