Working from home is rapidly becoming the new norm and whilst many of us associate flexibility with this arrangement, we need to put in place some structures to compensate for the things we’re going to miss out on from not being in the office.
Some of the things we take for granted such as corridor conversations or popping our head up over the desk which help us to remain informed and connected in the office environment are things we’re going to start to miss out on as we move to this working from home arrangement. We’d like to share 4 tips to help you have a successful working from home arrangement in your teams.
1. Cadence for Team Meetings
Our first tip is to agree a cadence for team meetings so that everybody can stay informed. Whilst there are many tools to support remote people coming together, probably what we see is more important, is the structure of how these team meetings operate and unfold.
We highly recommend bringing together a spot where people can create a shared agenda, so people in their remote offices are able to put down their thoughts and things that need to be discussed into a place where they know it’s going to be captured and talked about at that meeting.
Secondly when it comes time to actually having the meeting we really don’t recommend having a status update where everybody goes around talking about the things that has happened over the last week, this can take up a lot of time and isn’t particularly productive.
Often people already know in the team what each other have been working on because they’ve been interacting anyway. A better use of time is to cover any of the blockers to share information that the team needs to know about, especially items coming up or any plans that are going to be impacting the team.
2. Schedule Regular 1-on-1 Meetings
Our second tip is for managers to schedule regular one-on-ones with each of their team members. This does two things, it helps to build trust in that relationship which is especially important as the remote working situation unfolds, and it also helps to build focus and clarity for the work that needs to be achieved.
During these one-on-ones we suggest a forward-looking conversation which is centered on the outcomes we would collectively be happy that are achieved over that next seven to fourteen days, and any blockers that might be stopping team members from reaching those outcomes.
When we focus on outcomes it really takes away the whole notion about worrying about the hours that are being worked and the trust if people are actually getting on with their jobs or not, because if we get to the end of the period and we see those outcomes have been achieved it doesn’t matter how many hours went into that process. What’s important is the impact of the work that, that individual is contributing to the team.
3. Share Frequent Feedback
Our third tip is to make a point of sharing feedback and praise a lot more frequently. Being out of the office, we’re not going to see the work that’s getting done and that can lead to a feeling of isolation if we’re not being recognized.
So if someone’s made an impact on your work, or your life, or your day, in your team, then don’t be shy - call it out let them know that it’s really helped you and why.
This in turn allows people to feel that their work is still making a difference even though it may not be seen on a day-to-day basis. Secondly it’s a great idea (because this is often a new environment) to share with each other what’s working and what’s not working.
You might be able to pick up tips because you still trying to find your way if you’re working from home for a first time.
4. Maximising Free Time
Our fourth tip relates to all the free time that’s coming back into our calendars as a result of canceled travel plans, events, and conferences which have all been moved out. We’re seeing it as an opportunity to get on to those tasks or activities that we’ve wanted to do for a long time, that we haven’t been able to get to.
By tackling them now in a focused time it allows us to bounce back and scale up a lot more quickly when this crisis eventually passes.
Good Team Management!
The first three tips are all good people management practices but they’re especially important for remote working teams where you don’t get the benefits of being in the office, to help people stay informed and connected, whilst building elevated levels of trust. Stay safe!