We are doing two things:
1. Virtual Watercooler sessions at work. Thirty-minute WebEx sessions where people can drop in and discuss non-work-related topics with colleagues. Good for keeping your work teams engaged and recreating the informal hallway conversations.
2. Podcasting. Using "Cast" which offers a $10 a month plan (https://tryca.st/). The management records a 10-minute morning briefing on their phone which is then easily published for the rest of the group to hear.
Google Meet is rolling out this week as free for everyone who has a Google account. Zoom has been a go-to & is really easy to use for those unfamiliar.
Here are Resources for Virtual Training Design and Facilitation from ATD: https://www.td.org/virtual-training.
I'm also posting resources, everything from Learning to Leadership to HR, on my LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/katieryanfotiadis). Feel free to connect with me there & keep checking back. As I research relevant solutions & resources to help with a remote workforce, I'll continue to share (look at my posts for quite a few so far). There's even a template for Remote work Guidelines that I'll attach here. It may be helpful to you and your team. Feel free to alter for your organization’s needs.
Hope the LinkedIn posts are helpful and if there is something else you are looking for, let me know and I'll add it to my research list.
Daily standups have helped in keeping our team engaged. We chat on teams and turn on our cameras when we can for meetings.
If anyone has considered or is considering a virtual project tracking application, we recently started using Upwave and are really liking it. It's very flexible. We have it set up kanban style with swimlanes for our major projects. And, it integrates with Microsoft Teams, so it gives us the feel of "one stop shopping". We reviewed several before landing on Upwave - if anyone's interested in more of the details, I can put you in contact with the team member who did the research!
I've been lucky to have some really good leadership coaching over the past couple of years. Brian Houp, my coach, and I have had a chance to reconnect recently, and one of the things we've been talking about is how extra important clear communication is when teams are remote.
One way I've used our daily check-in is to ensure I'm providing the same updates to everyone on the team, and to ensure that everyone has the latest information about what's going on across our company. When people aren't in an office where they can "read the mood" of things or pick up on cues, it's my role to be intentional about communicating to them things they need to know.
As a manager, I also think it's really important to be aware of the potential insecurity our team members are experiencing. I've tried to be extra intentional about being clear about expectations, feedback and expectations, since team members can't see me and know that I can't physically see the progress they're making and the effort they're putting in throughout the day. I also make sure to remind everyone that breaks are part of the expectation - they absolutely need to take time to clear their heads and step away, and they need to know from me directly that that is ok.
Happy hours! Every Thursday at 4 pm our team is having a no-work-talk gathering to catch up, laugh, meet dogs and kids, and just take a breath. It's been really helpful for keeping everyone sane.
Also, I did a video on some team communication tips when working remote. It's at https://youtu.be/nA81WzUvCQY if that's helpful for anyone!
If anything, coronavirus has forced us to embrace technology that we may have been hesitant about at first. Teams has been an amazing platform that we've had at our disposal since 2018 but never fully utilized. Now, I can't see us turning back even after we're in the office again. The ability to share and edit together in a chat, or take control of someone's screen to demo a new piece of software has been a game changer.
Also, communication has been key! Our team chats every morning over coffee and every afternoon before we shut down the home office for the day (cameras on!). We start by sharing our main priorities and focus for the day and end with recognition for the folks who helped and what we achieved.
Finally, we have to find ways to have fun. We've had video meetings where we all wear hats or wigs, we've voted for the best home office setup, waved at the kiddos or showed off the cats, and taken each other on tours of our homes.
Staying connected and collaborating when team members are remote requires intention and planning. How does your team collaborate when you're not in person? How do you connect with stakeholders and SMEs? What challenges are you running into that you'd like to discuss?
ATDKY is part of your extended team - let's connect!