Human Resources Guide To Coronavirus Preparedness: The Human Side Of Working Remotely

April 21, 2020

Jayne Hannah

Team Contributor

During this unique time, we are all experiencing feelings of fearful anticipation. News changes from hour to hour, and we are needing to be more flexible than ever. With many being requested to work remotely, our trust issues will be triggered. Becoming aware of this will assist you in adapting to this situation.

It goes without saying that the necessary support needs to be in place to work successfully. From the technology set up to the processes and expectations, it is essential that your team is on the same page. 

“Help! I’m Computer Illiterate!”

Remember – not all of us are tech-savvy, not everyone will have the perfect computer at home nor the knowledge of remote working, and extra assistance should be on hand to support this. One person’s Skype is another person’s Zoom. One person may know what the VPN password is, while another person might scream “What are you talking about?!”  Although there may not be resources or expenses to implement an ideal technological structure supported with the necessary tools, it is important to provide employees with information around a common language, to ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page. 

We need more than technology, however, to work successfully.  Though this is a global issue, we are all going to react in our own way. The only way to cut through all of our stories is with compassion and space. Take time to set up small divisions and create a buddy system where guidance can be found and ideas can be shared amongst colleagues. This will assist in setting up and running a new system.

Our Employees are Human

As leaders and team managers, we must present calm and strength reinforcement conversations. It becomes vital to have the ability to bounce back amid stress, change, and challenging circumstances. The good news is that skills like this can be learned and improved with practice, both individually, as well as sharing a profound learning experience together as a team. At TeamBonding, we revolutionized all our classic training programs so we could bring them to you virtually online with our Professional Development Workshops.  More than ever, it is time to discover and use interpersonal skills and enhance communication and productivity. We share more valuable content like this in our free weekly webinars, so tune in!

Allow Employees Extra Time

When bringing the workplace into a home environment, allow extra time for adapting to the change.  What would usually take an hour may take two hours, and that needs to be acceptable. Working in a new, and not ideal, work environment may create errors. Spending additional time to double-check work should be planned for and encouraged. Create timelines and project structures with this in mind.

Set up your pipeline of work with communication-centered tasks in mind in order to avoid duplication of tasks and messages.

Simplify everything. Be adaptable and flexible. Do not presume and get the facts in any and every situation.

Written vs. Verbal Instructions

There is a world of difference between written instruction and verbal instruction. Within our own production department, we are being diligent when delegating tasks, setting deadlines, and clear expectations. Where possible, we are setting up face to face meetings, utilizing video conference call methods. Clarifying what is being requested for particular projects is key. While we think we may understand what is being said, it will never be a wasted moment to confirm. 

Clear Communication

When giving instruction, take an extra moment to check that you have been understood.  Using this attention technique will steer you away from errors and miscommunication, which can quickly escalate.  This is a good habit to introduce into managing an effective workflow.

Take yourself back to learning how to drive –  think about how complicated that first sounded and seemed. Simple steps are required in order to understand the full idea.

Communication is easier with those we enjoy being with, and we would not be human if we had the same positive relationship with everyone. If you are working closely with another who is different from you, schedule yourself time to notice how they work and adapt your work style to suit theirs.  Keep concise notes and an agenda in order to cover exactly what you need. Being streamlined will assist you in this communication. Less is always more.

Embrace Distractions

While working remotely there will be distractions, and there may be times for unexpected action. Keep this in mind as you plan for the workday. We need to be open to respond to what is a human virus. Productivity can become compromised as teams adapt to working remotely. As managers, let your team know that you are present and with them by providing support, productivity tips, and constructive feedback regularly and personally. 

Be Realistic

We are in unusual times, find compassion and time for one another. Having close co-workers to talk to throughout this time will create a strong, effective line of communication. Even though some of your co-workers will thrive working from home, some may suffer from the feeling of isolation. The lack of connection in their work activity can create a destructive distraction, where negative thoughts can develop into a mountain slide, especially during such volatile times.

At TeamBonding we are managing this by having open conversations about what we each need and setting clear expectations. We are using this time as an opportunity to grow closer together as a team by being vulnerable and honest, rather than letting distance isolate the team.

How Teambonding Moves Forward as a Company

Prior to the virus, 2020 was our year to launch some of our virtual team building programs.  We have placed a fast forward button on this and are motivated to provide programming that will boost morale and connection, despite social distancing.

We recently launched our first Virtual Game Show – Jeopardy, which we as a company played – and now, multiple companies nationwide have had the same fun experience! It’s easy to play and features all customizable questions, even including daily doubles and final Jeopardy. It was just like competing in the TV show. Personally, I wagered too early and too much and lost!  Despite being in my own office space at home and away from the team, I felt connected- and that is its true purpose.

We Help Your Team Stay Connected

Using virtual methods of connection can, and will strengthen and reinforce your team.  With technological resources at our fingertips, we are lucky to be able to do that. Providing our employees with these virtual methods of connection requires and deserves the attention and time. Delegate a manager to take control of this. Spend time researching what is out there. Games were not just created to be fun and competitive. Their sole purpose was to develop unity.

It will never be a waste of time to schedule creative thinking into your work. Human brains are not focused all of the time and need a break.  If they are not given one, they will find one. By scheduling a remote team building activity, you are developing a team that will enjoy finding systems for effective work patterns.

We see so much success with escape room team building, providing a uniform need to share skills, with one objective.  The same can be found in traditional scavenger hunts. We even launched  Virtual Museum Hunts, a way to have remote teams participate in a scavenger hunt! I am also personally proud of the charitable donation element we incorporate into some of our programs. The creative design team at TeamBonding is on overdrive to deliver team building events that are both intellectual, motivational, and fun. 

This will be a time for team members to see another side to one another. Be sure to take advantage of our virtual and remote team building activities. It is a time to explore how we may work together at a deeper and more human level. Where commonalties will be discovered, where, despite the distance, teams can work effectively and with purpose.
Contact us today!

 

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