Corporate clients across the world are working from home due to quarantine or as a part of their company’s Business Continuity Plans. Without the conveniences of a “real” office and having no in-person interactions with colleagues, working from home can present leadership challenges and take a hit on productivity. It can also leave you feeling a bit “isolated.”
Below are some actions Executive Coaching clients are taking to successfully lead organizations from remote locations.
I’d love to hear additional suggestions you have for this list. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
- Honor your regular work rhythm: Establish work hours at home as per your norm.
- Clarify up front with key colleagues and team members how you will communicate while working remotely. Which medium works best based on what you are trying to accomplish? Phone, video, WhatsApp/texting, emails…?
- If you do choose to email team members, send a few points in one note, rather than sending an email each time something comes to mind.
- Avoid “complete” isolation—stay as connected as you can by liaising with at least two people per day via phone or video.
- Designate a specific space in your living quarters where you will work.
- Have open, honest conversations with household members to establish “new rules of the game,” asking their help to honor your workspace and allow you to have focus time while you are there.
- Thank your family/household members at the end of each day for having given you that focus time and for respecting boundaries. (*If you want to learn more about the importance of thanking and acknowledging others, read fellow coaches Chester Elton’s and Adrian Gostick’s new book called Leading with Gratitude.)
- To keep things personal, set up a rotating “virtual coffee meeting”: you and a colleague each grab a coffee in your respective locations, then get on a video call together. Rotate your virtual coffee buddies regularly, inviting one or two key team members per day. Make sure to talk about things outside of work, too.
- Build a sense of “we’re in this together.” Take advantage of today’s great video chat capabilities (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, etc.) and host a full-team meeting once every 2-3 days.
- Ask team members to share photos of their at-home work environments, and provide tips and tricks to make each other’s home work spaces better. This helps to build bridges and improve engagement (and have a bit of fun) when everyone is working from different locations.