On Wednesday the 28th of July, resident cloud enablement experts Cevo Australia facilitated a Member for Member workshop for our community with Olga Boylan, People, Culture and Engagement Manager. Cevo is the trusted leader at the forefront of technology delivery, who helps their customers stay competitive through innovative solutions and building capability on the AWS platform.
During our Member for Member Workshop on how to support your team whilst working from home, Olga Boylan discussed the best practices to achieve this.
“Engaged employees feel connected with others even while working remotely.”
Engaging employees while working remotely is certainly more challenging than from an office but Olga explains that it is possible to keep them engaged and connected with virtual teams while working remotely.
Having regular check-ins with your team is vital to keep motivation high for all staff. Regular interaction (at least daily) and engagement with staff working from home will help them feel like a valued member of the team and it will help increase team productivity.
“The opposite of connection is isolation,” Olga explains, so if they don’t feel connected they will disengage from the projects they are working on, or from the company. So it’s important to keep checking in regularly, even if it can feel forced to begin with, but by being consistent then it will become normal. Another important factor when checking in with your team is holding space for the conversation to be focused on wellbeing, instead of only focusing on work-related topics. Olga recommends opting for open-ended questions like “How are you feeling today, compared to yesterday?”.
She recommends blocking out time in your team's diary for regular catch-ups as it can be difficult for people with busy schedules to make time for meetings.
While Cevo has opted for a daily check-in with their team Olga also noted that it is important to find what works for your team and company. Daily check-ins might not be the best fit for your business, so working out a routine with your team to find what will work best for them is important. If daily check-ins are the normal, she recommends making the meetings optional. That way the team members can choose to join when it suits them, and it will not put any undue pressure on people to join. People have different requirements, while one team member might find a daily catch up helpful, others might find it to be stressful and unproductive in their already busy schedule.
Trust your team
Putting trust in your team is essential when working from home, give your team the trust to complete the work and delegate, rather than micromanaging every aspect of their work. Communication is really important when working from home, so give clear and concise guidelines on what’s expected of each team member on projects they are working on to avoid any miscommunication or uncertainty.
Communicate with intent
When possible she recommends using video conferencing, instead of phone calls or slack messages so you can gauge their body language and facial expressions. This will make a difference in your team feeling connected.
“Focus on the outcomes rather than the details in-between”.
Further, Olga stresses the importance of finding the best tools for your team to stay connected and productive. Whether that is Google Business or Slack or Zoom. Using productivity tools like Asana will also help keep everyone in the team on the right track with assignments, as well as providing transparency both while working remotely and in the office.
Getting dressed in your normal work clothes and getting out of your PJ’s will also help with people’s moods and productivity. So encouraging yourself and your team to get dressed is going to go a long way to create a sense of normality.
An initiative Cevo is running for their team is a wellness initiative and challenge. This is a great and fun way to encourage your team to take care of themselves during this lockdown period. The challenge is point-based and team members get extra points for completing wellness tasks such as watching the sunrise or taking a shower and getting dressed in their normal work clothes. Make it fun! The more creative you can make the challenge the greater the engagement from staff.
Making sure the team stays healthy during this lockdown should also be a priority, so making sure everyone eats healthy, feels happy, stays active is vital for not only wellbeing but also for productivity. Why not as a company implement some ways to help contribute to the health of staff, for example, order the team a Hello Fresh vegetarian box, so everyone can eat healthy meals, subscribe as a business to a fitness or wellness app that staff can access? Inspire conversations and encourage engagement within the team as well by making everyone take photos of their healthy meals and put it in the group chat. Or schedule a zoom session where everyone can make their lunch together. By encouraging team activities such as team kahoots or virtual happy hours your team will feel connected, even when working remotely.
Lean on your community
Make sure you and your team feel supported by taking advantage of the virtual community initiatives that are available. At Tank Stream Labs we run many community initiatives to keep engagement between our members including curated slack channels for members to stay connected, hosting daily community initiatives ranging from weekly trivia, yoga and activity challenges, to member workshops and educational events.
Reflection and gratitude
Reflection and gratitude are also important while employees are working from home and something that can be beneficial to implement in your workplace and personal life. You can start your day by writing in a gratitude journal to reflect on aspects of your personal or professional life that you are grateful for. Or if every day is too much, Olga recommends using the end of the week to reflect on areas you struggled with motivation and areas you can work on, and what you have accomplished during the week. Focus on the outcomes and not the process.
Providing an open channel for wellbeing matters for all staff is important whilst they are working remotely. Set time aside to check in with your team. Setting virtual office hours and being present online and available for your team during these challenging times is a way to ensure employees are taken care of. Be aware of who in your team might be struggling more than others during this time, and who might be needing extra support and cater to their unique needs.
It’s also important to set boundaries for yourself and your team. Create structure by setting a “work time” and “home time” and ensure these parameters are adhered to. Try to keep it within your normal routine, so set your alarm and get up at your normal time, and log off at your normal finish time. Make sure to schedule breaks and exercise into this routine as well.
Lastly, try focusing on the positive aspects of working from home with fewer distractions, less commute time, more time with the family and daily home-cooked breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
If you have any questions on this content or want to speak with a member of the Tank Stream Labs team, feel free to reach out at email@example.com