by Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business is experiencing even more of a need to offer this work to their employees. What are you doing differently as a leader?
- Have the right equipment and physical setting with quiet privacy and minimize the distractions. Make sure your home office and your employees are equipped with high-quality webcams, monitors, and microphones to eliminate distractions.
Here is an Amazon link to equipment (and my favorite, the Logi Cam) – beware of availability and shipping time. https://www.amazon.com/s?i=aps&k=logi%20computer%20camera&ref=nb_sb_noss_1&url=search-alias%3Daps
- Camera should be set up eye level
- Pay attention to the lighting
- Eliminate distractions in the background
Have the team, whether remote or not, set up ground rules for communication and engagement i.e. be on time for virtual meetings.
Ground Rules example:
- Log on 15 minutes before the start of the meeting, since some online products require downloads and installation
- Be aware of background noise
- State your name when you speak
- If you catch yourself multitasking, be responsiblefor your full participation.
- Turn off cell phones and PDAs
- Stay out of your e-mail
- Develop Leadership Presence on Camera
- Body language, facial expression, and tone (yes, watch your video!)
- Talk 20%, Listen 80%, and ask questions
- Throughout meetings, keep a pleasant expression
- Enunciate, and slow down rate of speech
- Establish good posture, and lean into the camera. Try not to slouch
- Keep a positive outlook when possible
- Develop a strategy to build team culture virtually and do this with the team
- Schedule ‘Team’ Meet-Ups (WebEx, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Slack, Microsoft Teams, VTC, etc.)
- Tips for better video meetings: https://www.groovehq.com/blog/zoom-tips-and-tricks
- Recognize Individual Contributions and Create Social Interaction – Gallup – found that “employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.” Consider scheduling daily meet up times.
From the Harvard Business Review – “The easiest way to establish some basic social interaction is to leave some time at the beginning of team calls just for non-work items (e.g., “We’re going to spend the first few minutes just catching up with each other. How was your weekend?”) Other options include virtual pizza parties (in which pizza is delivered to all team members at the time of a videoconference), or virtual office parties (in which party “care packages” can be sent in advance to be opened and enjoyed simultaneously). While these types of events may sound artificial or forced, experienced managers of remote workers (and the workers themselves) report that virtual events help reduce feelings of isolation, promoting a sense of belonging.”
- Use Emotional Intelligence Skills – refresh yourself and the team. Choose one of the following components, or even a small portion of one of the dynamics, and have a team discussion. (From Daniel Goleman’s, Emotional Intelligence)
- Self-awareness – With self-awareness, a person could identify how emotions impact his or her behaviors and thoughts. This could affect workplaces by allowing employees to see their strengths and weaknesses, which could help to build self-confidence.
Leaders and managers can promote self-management in the workplace through regular feedback and periodic reviews. For instance, an employee who thrives in a certain area could receive positive reinforcement from his or her direct supervisor. Meanwhile, this worker might respond well to advice and words of encouragement regarding a task he or she struggles to complete.
- Self-management – Having control of your impulses and feelings is critical to success in the workplace. Employees who can manage their emotions during bad and good times might be more likely to stay content and productive.
Adaptability could also make a difference for directors, supervisors, and managers. If these leaders encourage workers to take the time necessary to manage emotions throughout the day, they could maintain a healthy, productive environment. Offering employees simple tips such as taking a 15-minute break or meeting with a workplace coach or counselor could prove valuable for workers, their peers, and their supervisors.
- Social awareness – Those who can pick up on the social cues of others, feel comfortable in groups, and notice dynamics that affect such interactions, possess social awareness. It’s important to know your role in various settings, and leaders who promote social awareness could help their employees in a variety of ways.
For example, a leader who sets up employee workshops might help workers develop social awareness. Employees can reenact common situations, and this may help them develop a comfort level with the scenarios as well as with their peers, potentially creating a better environment for all. (And yes, this can be done virtually!)
- Relationship management – Most relationships have ups and downs, and leaders can encourage communication among employees and supervisors to improve this. Organizations may inspire their workforces to perform well in environments that feature open communication.
In such a workplace, there will be minimal communication limits. An employee will feel comfortable approaching his or her manager about any topic, which could allow them to feel valuable to the organization. This worker might be more productive in the long run, as he or she knows the doors of communication are always open with peers and supervisors.
What do you do to help your remote employees? What do you do as a remote employee to stay engaged with your job, your team, and your leader? Send your comments and I will post them! Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you.
Happy Lathering! Marsha
Ps: According to the CDC, World Health Organization, and countless Medical Institutions you only need to wash your hands for a minimum of thirty seconds to keep viruses away!
Professional Speaker, Executive Coach and Best-Selling Author
Contact Marcia Snow for information on having Marsha speak to your group.