As the world reels from the impact of coronavirus, we’ve found ourselves in the position where our team members (both sides of the pond) are working from home.

We know that many other businesses are in the same position right now and are facing challenges. We want to help you by sharing what we’re doing to maintain connection, productivity, and protect company culture.

This is the first post of a 3-part series to help you avoid the potential pitfalls of remote working and create positive outcomes that will strengthen your company and your culture now, and in the longer term.

Working from home can be lonely and lead to employees feeling isolated. The less connected employees feel to the business, its purpose, and to each other, the worse the outcome. At a time when the media is full of disturbing news, maintaining energy and connection is more important than ever.

If you’re a leader or owner of a business, you’re potentially feeling that same sense of disconnect with your employees that remote working can create – but you might also be feeling the added weight of responsibility to help your team and the business weather the unchartered waters of the coronavirus storm as one, connected, energised team.

At Engagement Multiplier, we’ve adopted a simple approach to maintain connection using the power of technology, getting ahead of any vulnerability and feelings of isolation our team may experience working from home. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity, we’ve been doing this now for over a week, and it’s working.

We start each day with a team connection meeting via video conference where team members each get to share what they’re working on, what they’re learning, and opportunities for themselves and the business (which in itself is already having an impact on productivity). Most importantly, it’s a time to talk, have a little fun, and keep the energy and connection strong. As the result, in many ways, the connection between our team members has never been more robust.

You can download the agenda format we follow for our morning and afternoon meetings here and adopt the following three simple tips for success:

Face time with video conferencing. (Zoom on mobile or desktop) is so important for connection. Email is impersonal, phone calls are a little better, but video conferencing means you get to see each member of the team and create a personal connection.

Keep your workplace camaraderie going by planning moments of fun. Set up a Whatsapp group or Slack channel for teams with fun topics every day, like asking people to snap a photo of their new office! There are likely natural ‘fun’ leaders amongst your team – play to their strengths, let them lead the charge, and create energy.

Maintain a routine. In unpredictable and uncertain times, by holding regular meetings at the same time each day you introduce a reliable structure that can be comforting when working remotely.

We’re a week into this brave new world, and we’ve discovered a few things…

  • First, we miss each other! But our regular zoom meetings are helping us stay connected.
  • Secondly, we’re finding that we’re actually less good at taking breaks when we’re working from home. Just as one does in the office, it’s OK to go get a cup of coffee or step away for lunch!
  • Third, we find we’re moving less when working from home. For some meetings, we’re agreeing to put on the headphones and go for walks while we talk – a remote version of ‘walking meetings’ – that helps boost our energy.

Remember, when teams are working remotely, communication is more important than ever.

Thought-provoking questions that you can ask your team

(Clients of Engagement Multiplier can utilise our On-Demand template on this topic.)

1. Do you have a good understanding of what is happening with the business, and what is expected of you on a daily basis while working from home?

2. During the work-from-home period, how can we help you feel really connected to the business? Eg:

3. Please suggest one way we can maintain fun and energy within our team while working from home?

In closing, I believe very strongly that: “We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our actions”. In these difficult times, we hope this note helps you take action to help your business and your team. In our next post, we’ll talk about how you can heighten productivity while working remotely.

If you want to learn more about ways to manage remote teams, head to this article by People Managing People for 27 best practices.

Editor’s footnote:

As we learn to adapt and operate in these challenging times, we will continue to share valuable insight and experience to help you where possible maintain productivity, connection, and performance.

If, as a result of the challenges posed by coronavirus, you’ve adopted winning working practices that could be shared with our community, we’d love to hear from you.