As I see more and more of my clients asking their people to start working from home with the unfolding global events, I can’t help but ask myself how well equipped are we to transition so suddenly to a remote working environment?
So much of the work we do at M.A.D. Mindworks is to help leaders and their teams find ways to be more present, more connected, and more effective. Some of the simplest things we can do in this space is to spend time together.
To take the time to get to know each other, understand that we all have different ways of thinking and working, and better harness strengths from the diversity around the table.
Much of this can be seriously compromised in remote work settings.
Tools like email are already over-used and horrendously abused. This becomes rampant in remote work situations. While in many ways it is understandable and makes perfect sense, it provides food for thought and pause for caution as we ready ourselves to move into a remote working situation, suddenly and en masse.
The tendency to use email for all communications is often driven by our desire to get something done, driven by our own agendas and timeframes, and because it suits us, enabling us to hit send and pass the proverbial ball to someone else along ethernet.
This can be relatively harmless when the message is simple, black-and-white, and fully fact based with clear easy actions and unambiguous next steps.
It becomes highly problematic when the situation is more complex, more emotive, or has the potential to insight different interpretations, different reactions, and different perspectives -all signals for the need for exchange, discussion and dialogue.
What happens when we mis-use channels like email is that we often set of an interminable email trail, unwittingly offend or trigger tension and conflict, waste precious time, and often generate more issues or create even more work than we solve or get done.
Below are some simple tips from the M.A.D. team on maximising your presence, connection, and effectiveness in a remote work setting:
Check your tendency to default to email
Each time you open an email take a moment to pause and ask yourself;
- Is what I am about to send best delivered via email?
- Is there a back-and-forth or exchange of ideas required?
- Could this be dealt with more effectively through a real time conversation?
Leverage technology that facilitates real time video conversations
With the plethora of apps available today that make it easy, not to mention free, to have video calls, it seems there’s no excuses. And no, worrying about what you look like on camera doesn’t count!
I regularly use these channels to connect with clients. In fact, I have several coaching clients I have never met in person and all our ongoing engagements are facilitated via video-based apps. These forums approximate as closely as possible in person presence and connection providing us with critical non-verbal information that we need consciously and unconsciously as human beings in order to connect and communicate most meaningfully.
Stay focussed and engaged
Some of us are more adept than others at working alone and in isolation. This is simply a function of our core preferences and tendencies and how different people thrive in different environments.
For those of us who prefer a lot of human contact when we work, the prospect of working remotely and at home can be daunting. This brings with it challenges around staying focused, feeling energised and maintaining our motivation and drive. If this sounds like you, there are loads of things we can do to combat this.
- Start your day with a focusing routine – This might look something like sitting down with a tea or coffee and reviewing your key priorities for the day, taking five slow breaths before you dive in and get started, or simply taking a moment to focus and presence yourself.
- Make time for virtual coffee – You could also include scheduling a mid-morning coffee catch up with a colleague where you both stop work and dial in on a video call to have and informal catch up over coffee.
- Exchange experiences via group chat – Leveraging group chat forums where you share photos, videos, and other dynamic materials with your teammates throughout the day can also create a sense of energy, engagement and fun.
- Reach out and ask for help – Most critically if you find yourself really struggling it’s super important to reach out and let someone know that you need a little help.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to maintain your presence, focus, connection and effectiveness as we embark on this sudden transition to remote working, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to have a conversation!