You’ve got your desk set up at home (bottle of hand sanitiser next to your laptop), your partner is taking care of the kids for today and you’re ready to check in with your team during what will hopefully be a fun and productive video or phone chat.
Welcome to the new world of work in the time of coronavirus.
For many of us, regularly working from home and leading a team remotely are new practices that have involved recent system overhauls within the business. But effectively engaging your people from home takes more than just a functioning video conferencing system.
I’ve been managing staff remotely for most of my career and I’ve developed some of my own strategies. Here are some of the best ways I’ve been able to make it work:
Take a role call
At the beginning of a meeting, personally greet each person and perhaps even ask them something specific, such as, “Hi Ben! Did that stock arrive yesterday?” I take the time to prepare for this prior to meetings and I’ve even successfully adopted this strategy in chats with up to 30 people. I’ve found that it’s a truly great way to create a connection with your team.
The next best thing to face-to-face
In past roles, my team and I often mixed things up and had fun by sharing photos of our lives and what we’ve been up to during the day. Whether I was on the road catching up with clients, enjoying a tasty burger for lunch or just taking a selfie in my home office, I enjoyed opening up my world with my team, which they appreciated– and responded by sharing their own photos with everyone.
When you’re away from your team, you can’t just wander over to them and ask how their day has been tracking. Striking a balance between losing control of what’s going on and micromanaging them can be difficult. I recommend systemising critical tasks and requesting regular updates ahead of time, so you can see where your people are at and give them friendly feedback.
Sometimes it’s hard to get into the swing of things and find structure in your day when you’re leading your team from home. I’m a big fan of planning tomorrow’s events the day before. I prefer to write it all down on a notepad so it sits and stares at me all day – what’s important, who needs a specific follow-up and what needs to be completed.
Find a platform to create a common hub for your team
Using an online system where your staff can check in and connect at any time of the day wherever they are in the world is critical. The Enterprise Edition of close-line was created to give teams a place to share documents, ask and answer questions, provide insights or even share photos and their personal lives with each other.
During work hours, 37 per cent of staff are using their personal social media accounts, which are highly-stylised and tailored to their own interests. close-line is like the work version of a regular social media platform – it’s the perfect way to engage millennial employees who have been raised in a hyper connected and instant world.
Simply putting together a bland, text-based mass email to your team doesn’t cut it these days. Who wants to sift through a crammed inbox when you can easily navigate your way through a platform showcasing great videos, photos and other content?
Glen Robinson is the founder of work platform close-line. To find out more about close-line and check out a demonstration, visit: close-line.com/enterprise-edition