How to Stay Connected and Productive While Working From Home?
August 27, 2021
Working from home (WFH) or some sort of hybrid of in-office and WFH setup is fast becoming the norm amidst the pandemic. While this has cut back on the spread of COVID, it has also put a great amount of strain on managers and supervisors, as they have to find ways to keep their staff engaged and focused at home. Accepting the fact that working from home requires a change is always the first step.
In the digitized world we’re in, we all have to adapt in order to be a successful part of it. The best way to stay close as a team is to get accustomed to using applications that allow for online collaboration. From team chat applications to organizational, or even managerial tools, we must all make the change in order to be as successful, if not more, than ever before.
In the event that you’re having difficulty adapting, an easy change is to set reminders for yourself. If you find that you’re not turning on the proper apps, set an alarm. The same can be said if you end up neglecting your team because you’re zoned into work. Creating a schedule for when to meet up as a team also helps keep teams acting as a cohesive unit. The point is to interact with your team whenever appropriate in order to let them know you’re there for them, this goes for all members of the team, not just management.
Make Use of Online Tools
Online team messaging platforms have become an essential part of any WFH team member. They allow everyone in your team to stay up to date on tasks. Equally important, it allows team members to be heard, their well-being can be checked, and the feeling of being an integral part of a team is instilled even without being physically present.
For those working for a client, it shouldn’t be unusual to talk to people through a chat application as you’ve more than likely done it even before the pandemic. Newer or more updated tools have updated features that allow you to send files faster, communicate with text, voice, and camera, as well as many other quality of life features.
In line with changing your behavior, make it a daily routine to start all your communication applications at the start of your shift. This will make it a habit and soon you and your teammates will see it as the norm. In the event that any of your teammates are forgetting, make sure you remind them when you have the chance.
Having daily or weekly team meetings where you discuss the expectations for the day or week is critical when staying connected and productive in a WFH setting. These meetings lay the foundation for what the team will be doing, and give people the chance to voice out their questions and concerns while everyone is present.
If you’re a team leader or supervisor, schedule a team huddle at either the start of the day, the end of the day, or both if you have the time/ability. Make sure to explain the “why” and “what” of a task. Explaining the “why” actually helps with having the team feel included, consequently knowing the reasoning behind a task establishes a connection, which makes people invested in completing said task.
If you’re a member of the team and you don’t have regular team meetings, ask your team leader or supervisor to schedule them in order to keep everyone on the same page. When they do it, make sure to ask for clarification on anything that isn’t clear to you, as that is what the meeting is for.
By holding these meetings, you will save time and energy, as well as, allowing the team to be more productive with the same amount of time as before. The meetings don’t have to be long, they just have to clearly explain what needs to be done while clarifying any misunderstandings.
Check-in With Each Other
In order to keep the feeling of being a close-knit and caring team, you need to show it. Feeling heard can be a challenge online, especially if you aren’t using voice chats or video calls. Online this can be done by talking or messaging about non-work-related topics such as, how someone is doing, if anything needs to change in order for everyone to work better from home, even playing a team-building game in order to break the usual flow of the day helps relieve stress from the team. The activities and talks will differ from team to team based on your dynamic, but the end goal is the same, talk to each other and make them feel heard. Most people will be working from home during the pandemic so keep your teams engaged and productive.