The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many offices to shut their doors and institute a remote working model. While some of us may be welcoming the opportunity to work in our pajamas, social distancing from the workplace comes with risk. Now more than ever, employees need to maintain close relationships with clients, colleagues and managers.
From our experiences as leaders in the field, there are a handful of things you can easily do to maintain productivity and make the most of a challenging situation.
- BE VISIBLE: Using video conferencing for small team meetings increases the sense of connectedness and gives you incentive to get dressed in the morning. Bonus: having a virtual audience will make you even less likely to touch your face!
- SHARE YOUR SCHEDULE: Use shared calendars and collaboration tools (Skype, Zoom, etc.) to communicate your availability during standard working hours. Breaking for lunch? Set your status to “away – be back at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.”
- UP YOUR COLLABORATION GAME: Take this opportunity to become a virtual expert at SharePoint, Teams or what virtual meeting/collaboration tools your organization licenses. Don’t have one? Try one of the many free applications available, such as Mural.co, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, GroupMe, iMessage, etc.
- INCREASE TOUCHPOINTS: Working remote means less opportunity for quick, impromptu chats around the office. Consider changing your team’s regular meeting schedule to include daily or bi-weekly check-points to ensure adequate opportunity for discussion.
- STAY FLEXIBLE: Many people have children, roommates, partners, or pets they need to work around. See if you need to realign on working hours, meeting times, or preferred methods of ad hoc meetings. A little bit of consideration goes a long way.
Finally, be sure to set clear expectations with your teams on how to operate in this new environment. The transition will take some time for everyone to get used to, but ultimately we’ll all get better at working remotely — which will improve productivity, flexibility and working relationships in the long run.
Kelly Rogers Delgado
With more than 20 years of experience in communications, training and change management, Kelly has deep expertise in leadership alignment, stakeholder management and executive messaging. She has proven success planning and executing a variety of large-scale, global transformation programs for Fortune 100 clients. Most recently, Kelly led OCM and Communications for a global rebadging initiative valued at $1 billion.