Keeping teams motivated and on track while working from home
With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, workplaces and businesses around the world were forced to adapt to remote working. The WFH trend is so prevalent this year that more than a few businesses have decided to stay WFH past the end of 2020. While working from home certainly has its benefits, including quiet (and sometimes) distraction-free environments, no commuting, and relaxed dress codes, remote working isn’t without its challenges.
Socially isolated from your teams and colleagues, have you noticed yourself or teams feeling less motivated, sluggish, and in general less connected to each other? This may be especially relevant if this is yourself or your team's first time working remotely. In this article, we’re going to discuss some surefire tips to help keep you and your team motivated while working from home.
Project & task management tips for remote working
Remote working challenges teams to be more organised and fluid in their communication and project management than ever before. It’s important to set clear expectations around timelines and deliverables on all key projects, and to formalise regular WIPs, updates and reporting. Transparency and trust are key in these situations. Managers need to trust that their teams are following through on their core tasks, and employees need to provide transparency to their managers and key stakeholders on productivity and progress.
There are plenty of project management tools available, including Monday.com, Notion, Asana and Trello. Find the tool that works for you and your team and use that as the central platform for all collaboration.
The importance of consistent meetings
Meetings perform several important functions. They provide a forum for team members to discuss key projects, ask questions, and inquire for advice on any problems or blockers. Equally important, they also provide that much needed social connection in these stressful and uncertain times.
The first step is to lock regular meetings into your calendar. This ensures that each week you and your team get together. Setting an agenda in advance can help steer the conversation, and ensure you each get the most out of your time together.
Of course, no-one wants to attend a meeting for the sake of the meeting. Having the agenda can prevent idle conversation or directionless tangents from derailing the meeting. And it’s important to be flexible. If there are only 15 minutes worth of items to discuss, then there’s no need to go the full 30-45 minutes. This makes the best use of everyone’s time, and ensures time isn’t taken away from key projects.In lieu of meetings, there may be times when team members just need a simple, quick answer to a question. Using any of the many messaging tools, from Slack to Microsoft teams, can keep the necessary communication flowing.
Using deadlines and calendars to drive transparency and accountability
One of the best ways to create transparency on deliverables while teams are working from home is to use deadlines. Fixed time constraints and delivery timelines create accountability. They set expectations not just between teams and managers, but also between teams, stakeholders, and the wider business.
Make sure to work with your teams to ensure realistic and fair deadlines are set, and that these are shared with relevant stakeholders, and marked in calendars and project management tools. Chunking larger projects into smaller milestones with delivery dates also make it easy for teams to follow a clear roadmap.
Don’t forget to have fun!
Team members working from home can easily feel isolated, and less part of a team than those in close physical proximity. It is important to connect with WFH colleagues in meaningful, and fun ways!
Once or twice a week, why not schedule in some time to kick back and talk about things non-work related. With various messaging tools like Slack, you can create custom groups or channels dedicated to things like Netflix, home DIY projects, or even a book club. Some businesses have even started Friday night “Zoom drinks” to ensure everyone stays in touch.
How to effectively manage your time while working from home
Another one of the challenges of working from home affects your time management. With more and more zoom calls and potentially increased workload, it’s easy to become isolated and have your schedule thrown into total disarray. There’s also the added “domestic temptation” of sneaking in a bit of vacuuming, doing the laundry, and or calling your internet provider to upgrade to a faster plan!
While it’s important to still take regular breaks, it’s equally important to manage your schedule efficiently. Set regular times in your calendar to take breaks. Make sure you get out for a walk and some fresh air, and take advantage of your lunch break time to attend to any lagging domestic chores. Using your work hours well will allow you to fight the temptation to work out of hours.
How Forum Group can help you enable your staff while remote working
Working from home presents a unique set of challenges for business. Employees need the same level of access to technology to do their job as if they were in an office. From access to data and applications to a robust unified communications solution, and access to either printing and scanning, or paper-replacing technology such as eForms. Your staff should be able to work anywhere, at any time. Let’s talk about enabling your employees.
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