96: Become a Virtual Team Overnight

We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Almost overnight, thousands of teams needed to figure out how to do their work virtually, while also navigating the stress of social distancing. Being a manager is hard enough during regular times, but right now is a time when your team members need you most.

In this episode, I talk through three tips to help you adjust to managing a remote team during social distancing. For more support, scroll down to the resources section.

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Read the related blog article: How to Be a Rockstar Manager During Social Distancing

Key Takeaways:

  • Give yourself a break. This is a high-stress time and no one expects you to be perfect.
  • Be practical. Give your team members time to adjust to working from home, especially if they have kids around.
  • Delay timelines and push back deadlines when you have wiggle room. This will alleviate some of the stress.
  • Allow “good enough” to be good enough when you can.
  • Talk with your team about how you will work together remotely. What hours will everyone be available? What tools will you use?
  • Talk with each team member individually about what kinds of support they need from you right now.
  • Let your team members know what support you need from them, too.
  • Hold a weekly team meeting to connect and stay aligned. Use the first part of the meeting to check in and connect with each other. Use the second part of the meeting to align on work progress, company news, and reflect on how you can work together more effectively.
  • Use a chat app to stay connected at a distance. Set up topics for work and fun.
  • Organize your work topics based on the natural conversations you’d have. Consider also creating topics such as ‘issues’ as a special way to signal when help is needed.
  • Create fun topics such as ‘family time’, ‘coronavirus news’ or ‘funny things.’ Use these topics to replicate the casual conversations that happen around the office.
  • Post pictures! Photos are a great way to feel connected. Encourage people to share pictures of their life at home, even if they would normally be more private.
  • Use the chat app to hold a daily standup meeting. Each person posts their answers to these three questions by 9am: (1) what did I accomplish yesterday? (2) what will I accomplish today? (3) What is stopping me from doing my work? Or What do I need from my colleagues?
  • A daily stand up helps people focus and prioritize, creates accountability, and quickly identifies roadblocks.

Additional Resources:


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