Business As Unusual
Once a bedroom, now a boardroom. With offices across the country shut down, working from home has suddenly become a new and often challenging reality. So what can managers do to lead a happy team remotely? And how can companies help?
You don’t need me to tell you that we’re living, and working, in unprecedented and challenging times. But, although our team at Ezra is in exactly the same boat as everyone else (not literally, that wouldn’t count as social distancing), there is one thing that we have more practice in: building and maintaining relationships virtually.
Over the past year or so, we’ve seen first-hand, through our virtual coaching app and the other technology we use day-to-day, that relationships fostered remotely can be some of the most transformative and powerful.
Yes, it might take a bit of getting used to. But with the right technology, there’s no reason that talking to someone from your living room to their needs be any different to a face-to-face catch-up.
So, as we all settle in to this new reality (and in the hope that our home WiFi can keep up), here are my top tips for leaders who are managing teams remotely:
- Be present. At Ezra, our weekly team meetings have turned into a daily half-hour catch-up over Zoom. We start by asking everyone how they’re feeling and if they have any worries about workload or expectations. Then we move onto discussing what we’ll all be working on that day.
- Be clear. The last thing we need at the moment is more uncertainty, so set common goals and objectives in the same way you would at work. Make sure everyone knows what they’re doing each day, and check-in regularly in whatever way works for the individual.
- Be kind. We’re all balancing food deliveries, noisy children and wobbly kitchen-table desks, so things are likely to not always go to plan. Let your team know that you’re here to support them as much as they need, and always ask how they are. Not just what they’ve achieved. If someone isn’t coping with their workload, find a way to divide the tasks differently so that no one feels overwhelmed.
- Be calm. This situation is hard for everyone, but as leaders, we need to find a way to lead with confidence and resilience. You don’t have to have all the answers, but if there are difficult conversations to have, have them offline and then present a steady, calm front to your team when they need it.
- Be supported. Now, more than ever, leaders need help and support themselves. Make sure you have someone you can talk to honestly and openly – an objective sounding board if you like. Or – and I promise this isn’t a sales pitch – speak to a coach. At Ezra, we have an exceptional team of remote coaches, who are equipped to help people manage uncertain times and lead through a crisis. And best of all, you don’t even need to shake hands.
Writing this, it’s hard to know where we’ll be in a week, or even how things will change tomorrow. But what I do know is this: in times of crisis, we need to look after each other.
For employees, knowing that their personal situations are supported and understood will make a huge difference.
And for our leaders, giving them the right kind of support will only have positive knock-on effects throughout a company. If that’s with the support of a professional coach, then speak to myself or one of the team at Ezra about how we can set that up for people in your company.
Let’s keep talking. Let’s be kind. And let’s get through this together.