Eva Pascoe | Digital Retailer
  • Mar 15, 2020
  • Eva Pascoe
  • Comments Off on Home Alone – How to lead in the times of Coronavirus pandemic?
  • Blog, Writing

Boom! Full remote working has arrived and you have to lead your team thru it. Many of us have done a day or two, with a few of our teams at home or remote. Not many companies have dived it fully developing all singing and dancing home workers set up. It flies against the preconceived views that workers somehow are less productive when at home. Well, now is the time to show that you are a fit leader for 21st century.

Crisis causes change and indeed today we have a crisis on the scale that has not been seen since Spanish flu in 1920. It is all new to us, remote set up is technically challenging, not to mention having to deliver good teamwork when everyone on your team is worried, anxious about their health and savings and spends most of their day watching news.

How do you manage the transition and lead your team to successful remote set up?

Here are our 6 hacks for leaders on the front line of this war against the virus.

The key to the success is to get good home set up. 

You can use Skype for most things, or Zoom for when you really need steady connection. It is important to take time that  sure all your team members are connected, their Internet is up to sniff and they know how to share documents on screen so you can look up their progress or give them an opportunity to shine presenting their work to others.

Tip: If you work with teams on different tools (Microsoft teams, Slack, Webcast) use M.ie to filter it all into one.  https://m.io/  Nothing more annoying that having to come in and out of different tools. Mio is your best friend for seamless comms.

Use Asana.com for coordination of jobs and make sure you have someone process-minded putting everything on it,  chasing and using as Project Management tool. Make sure each team leader allocates tasks, checks progress during the day and at the end of the day.

Keep the Team Spirit/Motivation up

Start each the day with a quick 5 min video recap of news from the previous day, restate objectives for the day/week (if you have a small team), or general business news from the day before and plans for the current day. Do same by the end of the day. It helps to bracket the work. 

Do Q&As if any (people can put those on chat, you can answer in chat or on video). Tip: don’t put your laptop on your lap, nobody wants to see inside of your nostrils, try to keep camera at eye level. Nothing more off-putting than seeing everyone’s double chin!

Tip: Put some decent clothes on, not good to lead in you pyjamas. Maybe not a suit but something visually indicating work mode.

Tip: Print and laminate an A3 or bigger poster with your company logo. Nobody wants the selections of your son’s teddies on the shelf behind you or even worse, your dirty dishes if working for the kitchen. Look professional, the team will follow.

Make sure everyone stays in touch on Skype chat or Slack for bigger companies during the day. 

Tip: You don’t need to see your team, it is not surveillance, they are not children. but your team needs to feel they can communicate with you and colleagues easily.

Don’t freak out if your team puts memes and jokes on it, it is ok, breaks the day

Encourage lunch socialising – pizza at home and a non-work chat, 4.45 prosecco time or whatever suits your culture. It is not just about tasks but team spirit

Give credit where credit is due

Celebrate successful collaborations and projects completed by the team remotely, give confidence and feedback if any substandard work but do it one-to-one on the phone or Private Chat (you can do that on Zoom in Private mode or on Skype by setting group chats for each group, or 1-1 group for individual. Use phone when 1-1 if connection better, as still quality of calls and intimacy is seamless on the phone.

Everyone responds differently to a home working challenge

As a leader of a team in transition, make sure people who are less confident are not left behind, some may take a bit more support.  You may need to draw them out and ask for comments if they are reticent to take voice. Also, make sure that good online communicators don’t ‘hog the airways’ for wrong reason, everyone of your people needs a fair share of airtime.

Bottom line is that it will be a hard transition for your teams if all week and everyone is remote. Business initially will not be as productive as when you were all in the office so, you need to lower your expectations. But by the week 2 and 3 things will get better, your team will get the hang of it and  you will wonder why you haven’t done it before. By week 4 you will be cancelling the rent on your office!

This is the brave new world and as disconcerting as it is, by not driving car to work we are all contributing to Earth’s well being. Lead your team to a more sustainable way of working just make sure the pizza & prosecco time is build into your schedule! Cheers!

Handbook for Remote Leaders

Working Remotely – a new book by Theresa Douglas

For the time when we are back at work but want to stay flexible – here a review of The Best Co-working Spaces in London.

If you have a specific challenge, email eva@never.com and we can help to address it

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