By Julia Borges
Virtual Work and COVID-19
If our world wasn’t already virtual, it sure is now. Amidst the Novel COVID-19 pandemic that has completely changed the way the world works, businesses are faced with the challenge of staying connected in a virtual world. Many businesses may already be comfortable with working virtually as this is has become increasingly popular over the years, but for some businesses, this way of working is uncharted territory.
With an increase in virtual work comes a lot of change. This change can include the way your people communicate, execute their work, and stay connected with their teams. Staying connected is one of the biggest challenges of working virtually and if not managed properly, can cause miscommunication, decreased productivity, and misalignment. For those who are used to working in an office environment where their team members are just down the hall, working from home might present challenges that hinder this essential connection. When team members are no longer an earshot away, organizations must adopt new strategies to stay connected to ensure business continues.
Tips for staying connected:
• Set up routine one-on-one touch-points with team members. Having consistent touch-points with team members are essential to staying connected. This is a great time to discuss any individual questions, concerns, or thoughts. This can be done with phone calls, chat platforms, email, video chat, etc.
• Have consistent team meetings. In addition to connecting in a one-on-one setting, it is essential that the whole team connects consistently to ensure everyone is aligned and feeling connected. These team meetings are a great place to discuss team goals, progress, and challenges. This can also be done with phone calls, daily huddles, wiki-type collaboration tools, chat platforms, email, video chat, etc.
• Facilitate virtual training sessions. When we think of meetings, we generally think of touch-points to discuss or work through projects and tasks. We don’t tend to think of facilitated training as something that can be done virtually, but nothing could be further from the truth! With use of your video chat platform of choice, create a training session that could be done in person and facilitate as you normally would. You would have to adapt a few things such as group discussion, flip charting, activities etc., to accommodate for the virtual environment, but the face-to-face interaction is what is key. If you don’t have a video platform to use, this can also be done with the use of a conference call and emailing a PowerPoint deck to your participants. Just walk through the material as you normally would in a training, allowing opportunities for participant engagement.
• Take advantage of technology. With today’s technology, there are so many ways to stay connected. In addition to traditional phone calls and emails, there are also platforms that offer group video chats, virtual training sessions, and collaboration tools. There are many programs and tools out there, so it is important to find what fits best in your business and culture.