Making the transition of working in the same building as your team to everyone working remotely is a game changer. But done correctly, you can use this time to grow your team relationships and communication with both managers and other staff.
Plan Intermittent Virtual Meetings
Do your best to arrange a digital video conference at the start of each day. Seeing other people can help break the isolation of social distancing and remind everyone that they’re part of a team. Use this meeting as an opportunity for public praise when you can. Having a morning huddle each day makes sure that everyone starts off on the same page and has the same goals in mind. If possible, make this platform available to your entire team so that they can virtually call their coworkers throughout the day as needed.
Schedule a Virtual Coffee Break in the Afternoon
Plan a 10-15 minute downtime period once a day where everyone checks into your conferencing platform (be it Zoom, Skype, or something else). Only there’s one rule: you can’t talk about work. Having some unstructured downtime will provide a mental “break” for everyone and enhance personal relationships. Someone might let their kids pop by to say hi, show off their pet’s new trick, or talk about projects they have going on around the house. Depending on the overall culture of your business, you might even want to have themed days where everyone dresses a specific way (team jerseys, twin day, etc.)
Organize Team Training
If your office is suddenly displaced because of COVID-19, this is a great time to catch up on things that you might not otherwise have time for. Specifically, team training. If there are online classes or webinars available, having your staff complete the training via the same platform at the same time can create a more cohesive work strategy for the entire team. Getting each individual onto the same page and/or learn new skills to broaden their level of responsibility is beneficial to both your business as well as the individual employee.
Talk to Your Staff One-on-One Each Day
Depending on the size of your team, try to make a personal phone call to each of your employees at least once per day. Just ask how the workday is going, find out if they need help with anything, and reaffirm what they’re already doing.
Encourage a Bit of Friendly Competition
Working from home can feel isolating. Encourage your team to get up, move around, and practice self-care. You might want to have a chart where people can rank their steps or the number of glasses of water they’re drinking. It’s simple, but it promotes better health and motivates others to care for themselves even when they aren’t together.
Regroup at the End of the Week
Meet again at the end of each workweek to answer any questions, recap weekly goals, and talk about any new changes that need to be implemented for the coming business week.
This too shall pass. But as small business owners and managers, it’s up to us to keep our teams motivated until social distancing guidelines are dropped. Have a goal, stay connected, and use this unique opportunity to form bonds that will last for years to come.