In the first part of this series, we looked at some of the things we’ve done as a leadership team to ensure communication has remained high, and that our wider team feel informed by everything that’s going on.
Now we’re going to move on to what our teams are doing internally to make sure they’re talking regularly despite not being sat together in the office.
A big concern with moving to remote working from what was such a collaborative, close-knit office environment was how people may suddenly feel isolated and more distant from the colleagues they usually see every day.
Working from home sounds fun, but for many the novelty can wear off very quickly as they realise they aren’t able to easily collaborate on ideas together, or even have a quick chat to let off some steam. I know from personal experience, after remotely for five months in a previous role that it can become frustrating very quickly – and I’m an introvert by nature!
Feeling close when we’re apart
When we closed the office we asked our teams to set up Google Hangouts to catch up first thing in the morning, around lunchtime, and at the end of the day. We hoped that this would encourage continued frequent communication, the sharing of ideas, or just to check how each other were doing in what is, for some, a really stressful time.
Some other ways we’ve seen communication successfully flowing within the team include:
- Making good use of Slack and team members setting clear boundaries with each other around when they will and won’t be available, e.g. marking themselves as ‘busy’ and turning off notifications when deep-concentration is needed .
- For those of us that need to make us almost constantly available to support our team, asking to chat via Google Hangouts (instead of back-and-forth on emails) to answer questions is a good way to be more ‘personally’ available, and ensure your messages are being interpreted exactly how you want them to be.
- Making use of your webcam (if your internet connection can handle it!). Being able to see people’s faces and their reactions (particularly their smiles) can make you feel more connected and provide some relief in these challenging circumstances.
Ultimately, emphasising trust and understanding. Not everyone will be available to have a Hangout or reply on Slack instantly, and not everyone will be able to work completely conventional hours whilst at home. We need to ensure that everyone knows that this is totally fine.
We trust our team to do their jobs
On the final point – there are many members of the team that are now juggling working with having children at home, or sharing their house with parents or pets (such as James, below!) that may prevent them from working a ‘normal’ day.
Ultimately, now more than ever is a great time to emphasise working to outcomes and not time. Trusting that people will do what they need to do and giving them the autonomy to do so will help us be seen as a more sympathetic employer that people want to work for, and that this good-will will ultimately benefit everyone in the long-term.
In the next part of this series, we’ll be taking a look at how we’re managing the communication with our clients – particularly important in a time when we need to be doing everything we can to help their own businesses get through this challenging period.