- It is important to note that maintaining effective communication with the team and utilizing online tools are essential in the current remote work set up.
- This article provides essential tips on how you can stay visible with your team and provide better support despite the ongoing pandemic.
It’s been, well, different at the office, to say the least!
That is if you’re one of the few who go into the office. However, what’s clear is that the ongoing pandemic has necessitated changes in how businesses conduct themselves.
For now, the days of doing a quick lap around the office to check on each person’s progress, having a quick deskside chat, or asking for a brief update in the pantry are on hold.
Affirming pats on the back are a thing of the recent past. A thumbs-up emoji doesn’t quite pack the same impact as an actual one. Often even these short interactions helped to reinforce relationships between employees and bosses.
As a leader, not seeing colleagues and your team makes it more difficult to gauge their mood, productivity and even health. As many continue to work remotely, how does one, as a leader, ensure visibility among their team members, maintain good communication with the higher-ups, and ensure things are moving smoothly in both directions?
1. From physical to virtual
Put technology to good use and utilize the many online tools available to help your team move into a virtual workspace. Outside of the apps and programs your company may already have in employ, check to see if others will make keeping in touch easier. But not everything that was once standard lends itself to the virtual space. For example, having an “open camera policy” during work hours will probably be more stressful than productive.
2. Be available and intentional
Keep a virtual “open door policy” so your staff can ask for clarifications within business hours. If updates or questions are sent via email rather than messaging platforms, try your best to provide immediate and constructive feedback. Ask for more progress reports since real-time feedback in person isn’t possible.
3. Regular meetings and updates
Being able to report on your progress is directly related to how clearly you and your team can communicate with each other. One way to do this is to have more virtual meetings. Not just the official ones, though.
If your pre-pandemic meetings were once a week, aim for twice that, plus individual updates with separate members on an as-needed basis. End the week with a progress report that everyone can see and track. This being said, do keep Zoom fatigue in mind, and while it’s good to have regular catch-ups, make sure they are absolutely needed.
4. Team building
Maintaining rapport is harder without regular lunches and small talk in the lift that used to happen daily. Begin each video call checking up on each team member and how they’re doing outside of work.
On top of this, you could schedule more fun activities such as online game nights where you can all play virtual activities together like pub trivia, guessing games, or even a quick round of “Bring Me” together. Arrange for food to be sent to everyone to add to the mood of togetherness.
5. Be visible. Literally
Video trumps audio for making sure you are visible to your office. Being able to see – and be seen – is essential at a time when your digital presence must make up for the lack of a physical one. There are many non-verbal cues that you and your colleagues would miss out on otherwise. Facial expressions sometimes tell what words do not.
These changes may require a little more effort on your part, especially in progress checks and reporting. But it is the ability to adapt and pivot as the ever-changing digital workspace shifts will be crucial in your effectiveness as a leader. And if you should ever feel overwhelmed yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to a superior or a relevant person within your organization.
On the note of asking for help, if you are looking to enhance your leadership communication skills to be more “visible” during this time, schedule a Discovery Call with Pamela by clicking this link.
About the Author
Pamela Wigglesworth, CSP, is an international communication consultant, high-performance presentation coach, speaker, and CEO of Experiential. She helps clients establish their executive presence, structure a clear, concise message, and deliver their thoughts and ideas with style, confidence, and authority.