Thriving during Covid-19
Best articles on remote teams, working from home and mental health
Since April 1 we have been creating daily C-Suite Intelligence briefings to help leaders access the latest and best thinking in the world. We source insights from global news sources, consultancies and leading business schools. The articles below are some of the most popular articles on Covid-19.
Part I: Remote teams
PART II: Working from home
PART III: Mental health
REMOTE TEAMS (Back to contents)
There are specific, research-based steps that managers can take without great effort to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare. Managers need to understand factors that can make remote work especially demanding. Otherwise high-performing employees may experience declines in job performance and engagement when they begin working remotely, especially in the absence of preparation and training. Challenges inherent in remote work include:
- Lack of face-to-face supervision
- Lack of access to information
- Social isolation
- Distractions at home
As much as remote work can be fraught with challenges, there are also relatively quick and inexpensive things that managers can do to ease the transition. Actions that you can take today include:
- Establish structured daily check-ins
- Provide several different communication technology options…
- …and then establish “rules of engagement”
- Provide opportunities for remote social interaction
- Offer encouragement and emotional support
We are all getting used to working from home but how do you work productively and successfully and achieve greater impact? Forbes provides 10 tips for successful remote work.
Critical Steps For Leaders
1. Create A Strategic Plan: Put in place the processes and tools to equip your teams with what they need to maintain productivity.
2. Create Virtual Leadership Principles And Communication Norms: Quickly debate and then communicate your expectations for how your teams should be working with one another including expectations on responsiveness, work life balance and video conferencing usage.
3. Make A Deliberate Connection Plan: Remote workers are at a higher risk of feeling isolated, and the COVID-19 outbreak can also create added anxiety. Find ways to check in on each other, like matching people for virtual coffee chats.
4. Galvanize Internal Remote Work Pioneers: Call on pioneers to lead and teach others how to maintain their productivity while working remotely.
This e-book, based on guidance from experts, provides advice on all aspects of working from home, including for employers, as well as Human Resources and IT leaders. From establishing a clear and concise working from home policy to ensuring that cybersecurity is not compromised, the guide is a comprehensive resource. It also delves into how professionals can make the most of the situation to be as productive as possible once they are working from home, how to create the ideal workspace and how to ensure that work-life balance is maintained for employees.
WORKING FROM HOME
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The 14 rules of virtual meeting etiquette from Winmark and Sackers
We are all adapting to increased reliance on webinars, video-conferencing and phone meetings.
Here are 14 rules to keep your virtual meetings productive and professional,.
These seven tips will help the success of any virtual event, whether it’s for hundreds of paid attendees or for a meeting of 10 staff members.
1. Involve the audience quickly
2. Build in interaction that’s useful for attendees
3. Lure and re-lure your audience
4. Work the camera
5. Use a producer and moderator
6. Don’t forget you’re on camera
7. Plan your shots
Communication tactics that work well in a conference room may not translate to a computer screen. Elevating your presence in a virtual meeting requires disabusing yourself of potentially detrimental misconceptions about the medium. This Harvard Business Review article provides six recommendations to help your impact:
1. Focus on your camera, not your colleagues
2. Maintain a strong voice
3. Frame yourself wisely
4. Be present and mindful
5. Don’t become your own distraction
6. Use the chat window as your partner
Many leaders worry that a virtual presentation will feel impersonal and long-winded, since they rely on the energy and body language of a "live" audience to guide their delivery. That's why the design process is so critical -- and you need to think about how you'll match your message to the medium. Consider making these your guiding design principles:
- "Chunk" your content
- Use visuals wisely
- Make interaction a priority
- Be your own A/V pro
- Turn your phone into a confidence monitor
MENTAL HEALTH (Back to contents)
Now more than ever it is important for organisations to recognise the importance of well-being. The current situation is unique and looking after yourself, maintaining mental health and managing your workload is paramount. Winmark Technical Partner XPS have kindly shared the following 'Thriving in Lockdown' videos created for them by Russ Boulter. Russ has recorded these short, simple and very useful films with advice on how to work at home effectively whilst managing your wellbeing, some ‘digital tips’ for the new world of video conference calls, and, most recently, how to manage stress and maintain a positive mindset.
- Looking after yourself
- Video conferencing do's and don'ts
- Managing stress under pressure
- Change your mind
The Mental Health Foundation’s guide to how to support mental health at work provides a checklist for employers that will help them to value mental health and wellbeing as core assets of their organisations and support the development of effective line management relationships.
'Checking-in’ before a meeting will help your team remove distractions and regain focus. Checking-in is an intentional practice for a team to open a meeting or session. Each participant shares what they are bringing to the table (their ‘mindset’) before the work conversation starts. Benefits of a Mindset Check-in:
- Increases self-awareness
- Allows people to be present
- Drives understanding
- Gives everyone a voice
- Reinforces trust
- Reminds us that we are human
Any crisis is also an opportunity to build resilience among your reports. If you successfully implement the tactics offered in this article you just may find that they not only bounce back from these difficult times but emerge much stronger as people and as a team. The key is to focus on two things: people and perspective.
- People - Know your team’s resilience factors: Three “protective or facilitative factors” predict whether people will have resilience: high levels of confidence in their abilities, disciplined routines for their work, and social and family support. One of the first things you can do is establish a “resilience inventory dashboard,” by checking in individually with your reports.
- People - Foster resilience-oriented conversations: The most effective way to increase resilience at work is through customized individual coaching. As a manager, you might have guided conversations with each direct report yourself, but these can be time-consuming. We recommend encouraging your team members to have guided conversations among themselves on a regular basis. You might go as far as assigning pairs and requiring scheduled video chats.
- Perspective - Ask questions: Ask your direct reports what plans they have in place for working remotely longer than anticipated. While they might not feel comfortable thinking about such things, they will weather the crisis better if you help them plan constructively.
- Perspective - Find learning opportunities: In a longitudinal study, involving about 200 U.S. Navy recruits during training in 2015, we found that when the recruits viewed their unsuccessful experiences as learning opportunities—rather than a string of failures—it also built their resilience.
Read here for full details.