Over the weekend, I was in a BYOD (bring your own drink) remote social evening with friends. As the evening progressed and people began to unwind, the discussion shifted to the work challenges that we are all dealing with now. A friend bemoaned- “as people managers we were already expected to be superhuman, balancing delivery with great people management. Now it seems like remote work and the crisis are our kryptonite”.
Indeed, it’s true that we expect our managers to be superhuman- deftly juggling business deliverables and the expectations and aspirations of their team. Adding remote work and other associated business challenges is stretching even the best manager to the limit.
We’ve put together a quick cheat sheet to help a team stay engaged and successful during this time of crisis and remote work
Work hours have been the first casualty of remote work. Many of us have started to feel that the work never stops. Saving commute times have not translated into more “me” or “family time”. A key reason for this has been extended working hours- under the assumption that all hours of the day are available when we are working from home. This is leading to resentment and burnout. An easy fix is for the team and manager to discuss and agree on “work-hours”. Staying respectful and sensitive while balancing deliverables!
It was 4 pm and Sheila was on yet another sales call. I asked her if she had had lunch. Ruefully she admitted that she hadn’t! Worse, this had been the case all week! While working remotely, people are often forgetting to factor in breaks that are normal when we are in the office. The 10.30 am team coffee breakout, the 1 pm lunch time, the evening snack break. All have been forgotten and the day has quickly become one big blob of work time. Remember to block time on your calendar for your breaks and encourage your other team member to do the same. It will bring sanity to your day!
Many of us enjoy the time we spend with our colleagues outside of work. There is no reason to stop this. Figuring out how to have a BYOD evening with your team on Fridays isn’t hard. Throw in some fun games that can be played remotely, watch a movie together or a hundred other ways to have fun together remotely. The downtime, will help the team stay connected and have fun together. It may even help team members who stay away from their families feel more loved and connected.
More and more people are complaining that remote work has resulted in endless meetings. Try to replace large team meetings with a daily morning 30 minute stand-up. This will help the team get on the same page every day, quickly sort potential issues, stay connected and can be super efficient. If you have a critical deliverable, you could do this twice a day. But make sure that the meeting is run with a clear agenda and is focused to make the best use of everyone’s time.
We have an opportunity to change the way we work forever! We are part of the world’s largest experiment in remote work. What a great time for us to figure out new ways of working!