Now that many organizations have been working fully remote for some time it is worth checking in and seeing how your team members are doing. Initially, this type of change was likely well-received, and even now working from home seems like a benefit to many employees. However, the reality is there are many new stressors in play when working from home for long periods of time including strained family relationships, decreased separation of family and work life, persistent distractions, and general fatigue.
Here are some tips for keeping your teams engaged while working remotely:
1. Do Not Disturb – Encourage team members to utilize away and offline functions when they need to and to shut their computers down each night. You do not want your team to feel that they are on call every minute of the day. The more you can create a difference between “home” and “work” the better their productivity will be.
2. Time Off – Be as flexible as possible with days off. Try to get your team members to set up a cadence of taking days off regularly so that they can recharge their batteries. Many people are waiting for travel to open back up and putting their vacations on hold. While that is understandable, their minds and bodies need a break whether they are traveling or not.
3. Prioritize Video – Don’t use video conferencing for everything, but do use it for the most important things. Once a week team sessions are a good cadence for video conferences, monthly for department-wide conferences makes sense too. Important meetings with clients and external stakeholders likely warrant video as well but avoid overusing it for more mundane meetings. Team members can get burned out if they feel they need to be “on camera” too often.
4. Be Available – Make your availability clear to each team member through a shared calendar or another method. Your teams should always know how to connect with you, but now more than ever those team members who used to wait to connect when they passed you in the hall or shared and elevator need to know how and when they can reach out.
Finally, make sure you let your team members know they can chat with you about things that are causing them stress. Often your job as a leader is more about listening than it is about speaking. Be good to your teams and they will be good to you.