It’s going to be tougher than ever to keep teams effective over the coming weeks, and having some rituals in place will really help you feel connected and in control. Here’s a great framework we home you can use right away!
Because distributed business management doesn’t really differ from brick-and-mortar business management, let’s focus on how distributed team management differs from that of a co-located staff. Implementing these regular habits will ensure that communication, culture, and unity stay strong within your team, regardless of where you’re all located.
Team Standups. To ensure your team feels connected and supported, it’s important to quickly check in with each member at least once daily. Some teams like to have a casual standup conference call, while others prefer an agile scrum on Slack. How you do it isn’t important, but gauging accountability and tracking progress is. (Tip: Yonder have used an automated slackbot and they love it!)
Catch up on email. Avoid future “Have you followed up on this, yet?” emails by encouraging all of your team members to zero out their inbox at the end of each workday. Trust us, your clients and vendors will notice and appreciate your team’s accessibility.
Plan your tomorrow. This tried and true productivity method is easy to integrate into your team’s daily routine with a slackbot.
Casual Chats. Remote employees may need to be reminded that they work and interact with real human beings. Make sure to integrate efficient (but sincere) personal conversations into your work week by asking about kids, pets, trips, hobbies, or anything else that is exciting or unique about your coworkers. If you’re not “naturally blabby,” block a quick one-on-one chat with each of your team members into your calendar or randomly pair employees with each other (including yourself) to connect during a scheduled time.
Live Meetings. Every team, regardless of size, should come together at least once a week to report, plan, celebrate, and problem solve. How you connect (phone, video, in-person, or other) isn’t very important, but uniting over shared experiences or goals is.
A Celebration. Recognize another stretch of a job well done with a celebration of some kind. You can start simple with extra compliments on Slack, then eventually graduate into Friday afternoon parties or breaks. Fun goals, like this, often make it worth getting through a tough few days and recharges everyone for the next week.
Progress Reports. Voluntarily providing updates communicates trust and confidence, so make sure to offer some kind of reporting to your followers, including progress summaries, important news, and forecasting for the next month. It’s up to you to decide whom to share these reports – just your team, a department, the whole company, or even your entire community. Again, the message is more important than the medium, so don’t get too caught up in format or distribution tools.
Unprofessional Activity. Forget about work and deadlines and clients for a minute and just do something outrageously fun or fulfilling together. Some teams host a Fitbit challenge, slack book club, or happy hour video call to enjoy together. Be creative. Tap into your company’s branding or common interests and goals for inspiration. This will not only support your company’s mission, but strengthen it.
Temperature Gauges. Check in on your team members one-by-one to get an idea of how they’re doing in general. Think of it as an agile scrum, but for their big picture: Are you satisfied with your progress and accomplishments this month? What blocks are you noticing that are hindering your creativity? What can I do that might help you accomplish your goal for next month? If you choose to share responses publicly, make sure to follow up your posted response with a private message to display individual concern.
Employee Evaluations. During standups and meetings, topics are usually discussed on a micro-scale, so this is a good opportunity to zoom out and look at the big picture of each worker’s progress, satisfaction, concerns, and goals. To encourage transparency, create a casual and comfortable environment, be open to any responses (positive or negative), and be as honest and compassionate as you expect them to be with you.
Personal Gifts. Remind your team about how much you appreciate their work and value your professional relationship with them by sending them a little something every now and then. Budget these into your necessary expenses, so if a special occasion pops up or morale seems to sink, you won’t have an excuse to hold back.
Establishing rituals with your team might be the most direct path to becoming a more engaged and productive remote leader. With consistent habits and rituals, you will notice a higher rate of employee satisfaction and a more positive vibe to your company culture.
We;d love to hear about any other rituals you think will help people stay more effective and your teams more connected. Please use the comments below and we’ll edit them in!
Microsoft have just announced a free Power App for Crisis Communication at this time. It’s been developed rapidly and it’s bound to get further enhancements soon!
With the recent medical situation globally, Microsoft has recently built a FREE powerapp “Crisis Communication App” to help customers enhance the organizational communication, news sharing, etc. Please see the below eDMfor more info.
The solution combines capabilities of Power Apps, Power Automate, Teams, and SharePoint. It can be used on the web, mobile or in Teams. This app can be self-deployed . Please see this powerapp details and deployment instruction in the links below.
Right now you’re suddenly thrown into Remote Working, and for the most effective, engaged and developed teams this is a chance for them to show how good they are; for most teams however it risks suddenly amplifying the problems with silos, trust, or lack of understanding of each other.
To help we’re compiling the best examples and ideas we can find to help you use this opportunity to make your teams even stronger!
We know many of you will be itching to get out and swim, run, cycle, or just play (football or with the kids!), but whilst you’re stuck inside and trying to stay healthy enough to both keep your business going and look after your friends & family we hope some of these links can help you keep your energy up.
The Nation’s favourite new PE teacher Joe Wicks does daily classes live on YouTube every morning at 09:00 (UK time) on his channel here
With thanks to James Neil Thomas (Personal Trainer / Gym Manager at the Ministry of Justice)
FIRST PREPARE YOUR SPACE
Make sure the space you are using is clear of any sharp corners and objects
Make sure you are wearing clothing that is suitable – i.e. breathable, loose.
If you decide not to wear trainers make sure you wear either non-slip socks or exercise on a non-slip floor
All you need is roughly a 1m x 1m space
Open windows for ventilation
If the heating is on you will want to turn it down a little so that you do not over heat. Also, take others into consideration when setting the temperature
Make sure you keep yourself hydrated.
Secure anything that could potentially fall and break (especially anything of sentimental value) You don’t want to be the person who starts any arguments!
EXERCISES – PYRAMID CIRCUITS
Pyramid circuit training involves adding or subtracting: exercises, repetitions, rest periods or changing the weight after every round or set. Using Pyramid workouts is an effective way to get more out of your workouts and to add in a little fun along the way.
Start doing each set of exercises once, for 20 secs, then for 40, then for 60, then for 40, then for 20, and do this twice.
Or you can increase reps and then decrease them again on the way down.
BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE
Walking on the spot (warm up)
Tricep Extension with a towel
Bicep curl with a 1ltr or 2ltr bottle of water
Jogging on the spot (warm up)
Plank to press 5 x each arm
Tricep extension with towel
Bicep curl into Arnie press (with water bottles)
Press-ups -narrow / wide
Tricep extension with towel
Bicep curl into Arnie press (with water bottles)
Doing something is better than nothing – walk round the garden, climb the stairs, do some press-ups, just don’t spend all day sitting in the same position. YouTube is also a great resource for relaxing workouts such as yoga as well as dance workouts which can also get you energized and in an upbeat mood, depending on what you need. Simply search for the workout you are interested in, and the length of time you would like to work out for e.g “30 minutes Afrobeat workout”, “20 minute dancehall workout”, “15 minute abs workout” etc.
Keep moving every hour – set a small goal to achieve instead of a big workout.
Our community has pulled together the following tips to help you manage your anxiety. As we’ve already said, not everyone contributing is an expert so below are also a set of links to specialist resources where you can get help.
Wash your hands and reduce time spent in public
Moderate your news intake, limit exposure to mass hysteria online
When working from home or in self-isolation, arrange your space so that it’s calming
Practice deep breathing exercises or other methods of meditation
Reach out for help: your mental health is important
If you are struggling, you can use the Crisis text helpline on: 741741 (UK only)
It probably sounds impossible but if done correctly this will allow you to add to their learning techniques which aren’t possible within a regular classroom. Remember, it’s not usually possible to simply recreate the classroom environment online. Think about what you are trying to achieve with your lesson plan and what information you can share, and how you can then support the learners in the time you have.
SOME TOP TIPS
Establish connectivity with learners beforehand. Make sure they can connect with Audio and Video before the session so that if they need any technical support etc. this can be dealt with prior to the session. You don’t want technical problems when you’re supposed to be teaching.
Have a clearly structured presentation. The best approach is to Time Chunk, sounds kind of basic but takes on a whole new level of significance when your audience isn’t quite so captive.
Establish the ground rules for the session – online etiquette. This will be new to both sides so ground rules will be appreciated all round. Examples include:
Mute microphones if not speaking
Raise your hand if wanting to speak.
Avoid asking open questions, have a rota of who is asked, everyone trying to speak at once in a virtual classroom is bedlam.
Ensure that your learners are set to mute when they enter the room to minimise distractions.
Look directly at the camera to establish eye contact and build rapport. ensure you are far back enough to get a range of non-verbal feedback. It can also mean that as you’re looking into the camera you’re looking directly at each learner and can actually establish more rapport than in a classroom.
Speak and engage with learners as though you were in class. Don’t get too concerned with the new medium, it’s still the transfer of ideas from one human to a group of others, not as much has changed as it might appear.
Use learners’ names a lot more as you’re looking at a camera and they’re looking at a screen, they may have no idea who you’re really looking at or talking to unless you explicitly state their name.
Ensure sessions are recorded and the recordings shared with learners. This is important for learners who might lose connections etc, and means they can review the lesson (a bonus feature they don’t get in school!)
SEND – Use dyslexic friendly fonts and colours. Use pictures and not lots of text. Any learners who might have unidentified learning difficulties might find their coping strategies are challenged in this new environment. https://www.dafont.com/lexia-readable.font
Make use of their workspace. In a virtual classroom, you can take advantage of their surroundings. Doing a session on health and safety? then add a ten-minute activity where they have to go around their workplace and take pictures of hazards? There will be things you can do virtually which are impossible in a regular classroom environment.
Break your lesson into 30-minute slots, give each an objective. roughly 10 minutes delivery of theory, 10 minutes activity/consolidation, 5 minutes checking learning and 5-minute discussion repeat per objective. The activity can be something simple as a discussion, the use of interaction and discussion is more important with remote learning as it can be more anti-social both for the teacher and the learner. plan for interaction and discussion but control it well.
Start the session a few minutes early so that everyone can be in and ready to start, and any technical issues don’t impact the session. 10 minutes is usually enough.
Take a register (for normality’s sake) and ask people to make it clear beforehand if they cannot attend then start on time, don’t hang around waiting for latecomers unless you have a small group and know why people are running late. If you record the session they can catch up afterwards.
End with an exit ticket – Socrative does a good online exit ticket, which lets you do a basic assessment of how well learning has gone.
We know you’ll all have great tips, tricks and advice to share. Please add comments below and we’ll attempt to edit them in.