From Team Tenshey

With the unprecedented effects of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, we’ve been waking up each morning faced with an uncertain future and with questions like “What is my new normal?” What’s important now is that we remember to support one another in the present, whether in our own capacities or as a wider community of companies and organizations. In fact, many companies are doing what they can to mitigate some of the concerns surrounding Coronavirus. Many companies have mandated remote work for their employees to reinforce social distancing, while tech companies have been offering free videoconferencing tools to increase communications. Given these adjustments, we still know how difficult it can be to deal with abruptly changing circumstances. We’re here to offer some words of encouragement on how to make the best of this unprecedented time.

1. Be Kind and Compassionate
We can become increasingly worried about the unknown during times of uncertainty, which can make us behave out of character. A leader who has handled stress very well in the past, for instance, may express themselves in ways that seem targeted or hurtful. Stress manifests itself in different ways, which is why it is so important to ask people how they are doing. A seemingly small gesture like this can alleviate some of the worries they are feeling. Similarly, we can also think about how organizations can help their employees with alternatives to in-person meetings as much as possible.

2. Overcommunication is Key
When it comes to leaders and members on your team, over-communication is key. This is especially so when you’re temporarily not working in the same office. You lose that “water cooler” time where you get to catch up on what you did over the weekend, which organically leads into work-related chatter. As an alternative, try investing in workplace communications tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to stay appraised of team updates in real-time. Now is the time for overcommunication.

3. Schedule One-on-One Calls
Similar to losing “water cooler” time, the restrictions of working remotely include losing the elements of face-to-face communication. Psychology Professor Albert Mehrabian pioneered the idea that personal communication is made up of 7% spoken words, 38% in the tone of voice and 55% in body language and facial expressions. While videoconferencing can help with communication, schedule one-on-one calls as much as you can. This allows for more time to ask questions or check in personally without holding up a larger group.

4. Create a Routine
Your daily routine is bound to change. You’re suddenly juggling unexpected responsibilities such as child-care or working alongside your family members while running a business meeting virtually. For many leaders, it may be difficult to stay productive and engaged with distractions. To maintain a sense of normalcy, schedule your work for specific hours of the day (and lock down the number of hours needed) and be sure to include time for breaks.

5. Trust Your Teams
Working remotely can bring up the old adage “out of sight, out of mind.” If you’re worried about your team’s productivity, resist the urge to micro-manage. Instead, ensure you and your team members have explicit agreements on key deliverables and timelines. Trust that your team members will complete your collective goals by the agreed-upon deadline. For example, if you have a report to submit, lock down specific dates for your first, second and final drafts that you must stick to – no exceptions.

For more tips and advice, check out these articles here:

Harvard Business Review: How to Reassure Your Team When the News is Scary
Harvard Business Review: Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis
NPR: 8 Tips to Make Working From Home Work for You

Helpful Videoconferencing Hacks from Team Tenshey:

Change Your Background if You’d Like
Videoconferencing tools such as Zoom offer virtual backgrounds to help you disguise the fact that your living room is a mess.

Set Boundaries and Expectations
Disruptions happen all the time. If you have an adorable dog, let your participants know that they may hear him or her barking in the background every once in a while.

Wake Up at your Normal Times
Don’t be tempted to sleep in late when you’re working from home. Wake up at your normal time and try to dress presentably anyway (as opposed to staying in your pajamas).