Apr 15

Keep Calm and Carry On Remotely!

In these current times of uncertainty, daily virus updates and general shut-down, I found The Queen’s recent message both inspiring and positive. I hope you did too.

But if I might take the liberty (like the late Lord Altrincham) of providing one small piece of constructive advice to our monarch, it would be for Her Majesty to add the words “our work colleagues” into her final positive statement to rally our spirits. Thus included, in these current times of seclusion, we will therefore not only, once the virus is defeated, “see our friends again, …see our families again, (and) we will see each other again”, we will also see our work colleagues again.

During these current days of seclusion, we are all remote workers. There is a risk, over time, of our feeling adrift and disconnected from our colleagues.

Of course, various apps, including Zoom, Skype, Facetime et al, do help us visually to clap eyes on each other from our respective workplace burrows. But there is never quite anything that can act as an adequate substitution for in person engagement.

Like the morale boosting posters of WWII, each workplace, however now constructed, needs to keep calm and carry on remotely. Easier said than done!

But I did actually find two other posters which were also created in 1939 at the outbreak of war to accompany the now highly ubiquitous “Keep Calm and Carry On”. campaign. I thought that they both two were helpful to note here: “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory”, and, “Freedom Is in Peril / Defend It With All Your Might”.

So what can we do, to ensure that our workplaces can remain calm, carry on, be courageous, cheerful, and hold onto the core purpose of why we are all currently in seclusion?

Pointers for those managing teams remotely

1. Listen carefully to your team

Listen, really listen, to what each of your team members are telling you, about how they are going, what they need from you, and how often they are in contact with you. And once you have listened, take practical steps to respond to problems and road-blocks. This is the time to be available to your team, and whilst large Zoom group chats are great, it is probably going to be really even more helpful to have some one-on-one informal chats, on regular basis. People may be “nothing to see here” when in Zoom-land, but may actually be feeling anxious, upset or nervous, and may not be proactive or confident to speak up publicly.

Explore what and how the team would like to communicate with you and each other. Is it a daily or weekly check-in? Is it telephone conferencing? Is it Zoom? How long should such meetings go for ? What times suit most people? This may take some piloting, too, so maybe do a “let’s see how this goes for 2 weeks” approach, and reflect with each other at the end of the pilot for any further process tweaking.

2. Celebrate success

Celebrate successes with your team, now more than ever. This does not again, need to be cultish, but recognising people’s efforts, whilst juggling their (novel) home office, parental and carer responsibilities, and whatever else might be going on, shows that you appreciate their hard work at this time of transition.

3. Look after your health (and lead by example)

Watch your own energy, workload and ability to continue to work and juggle your role at this time. You are going to be particularly visible over this period to your staff, and so do make sure that you are able to show, and communicate, that you are a role model of taking care of your health, so that others follow your lead.

Offer some ways in which that can happen. For example, encourage your staff to discuss ways to relax and de-stress during this current time of virus, offer Mooski to your team (which includes Mindfulness exercises), and make sure that your team is clear about work-life balance, whilst operating from their own office.

4. Name the elephant in the room

Name the elephant in the room. We cannot always be endlessly upbeat, and at some stage, there will be times when anyone of your team may feel adrift and exhausted. Best to acknowledge that this is a hard and unusual time for all of the team at such times. (And do of course, feel free to note, that this too shall pass, and “we will meet our workplace colleagues again”).

Managing People Risk for Remote Workers: Free Webinar

If you are keen to consider in more depth various tips for managing people risk for remote workers, then register now for the free lunchtime Worklogic webinar “Remote workers; Tips for managing people risk” on April 28th.

About Grevis Beard

Grevis Beard, Worklogic Director, is a highly experienced and widely respected author, dynamic speaker and trainer, and workplace investigator.

Grevis speaks knowledgeably and diplomatically on how to resolve workplace conflict, manage people risk and build a positive culture at work based on his extensive experience as a lawyer and workplace investigator. Grevis delivers a comprehensive range of in-house training programs designed to help organisations resolve workplace  complaints and create a positive culture at work. 

Please contact us to book Grevis for your in-house training or for an obligation-free, confidential discussion on issues at your workplace.

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