As we are all discovering, working from home is hard. Staying connected, updated, and motivated takes more discipline than many of us thought it would.
However, this is not the time to be invisible. Keeping your profile front-and-center is essential. Staying connected with your boss or executive is hard to do, but it is crucial that you do it.
You may have an executive who normally travels a lot, and you are used to not having them in the office down the hall . You may be working with and supporting others who are in emergency meetings for what feels like 24-7, and it is next to impossible to grab a telephone conversation with them. Or, you may have found that the work has slowed down considerably and you are finding yourself with time on your hands and you’re not entirely sure what to do about it.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”efM4N” via=”yes” ]While working remotely you need to keep the communication pipeline flowing.[/ctt]
What you need to do is keep the communication pipeline flowing. It won’t be easy if your executive or team is up to their eyeballs in work right now. It may look different depending on your situation, but here are some tips to ensure you don’t fade into the background or feel abandoned due to social distancing.
1. Have a daily “virtual huddle” with the team. Ten minutes at the beginning of each day to check in and ensure that everyone is okay, no significant issues happened overnight, and everyone knows what is going on and who is doing what.
In a perfect world, this would happen with a video meeting for everyone. Using Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, or any other kind of video conferencing software is ideal. Connecting visually matters right now. Many people are suffering from this isolation, and seeing coworkers face-to-face has greater positive impact.
Keep the meeting quick, let everyone share (one minute or less) what they are working on, and what their workload is like. This allows people to offer help if needed, and ask for help if needed. It is an excellent chance to expand your skills, too, by .
2. Weekly one-on-one. As important as it is to meet with the group, it is equally important to have a one-on-one with your executive. Go over the upcoming schedule and make adjustments as necessary. You may have been doing this while you were still co-located; you need to continue it now. Put the time in your executive’s calendar. Make the appointment mandatory and at least once a week.
3. Daily or weekly email updates. My entire team is virtual (and always has been), and I know that it is important for us to always be communicating. Each day I get an email from Jacqui listing what is on my schedule, what things have happened, where I can find the files (we all use Dropbox which is like a SharePoint site), what the week’s deadlines are, and what she is working on. I get a weekly email from Pooja (David’s sister, who has taken over the role he had), letting me know where things stand.
This isn’t about me being a micromanager, it is about making sure the workload is evenly distributed. I don’t want anyone stressed with volume while someone else is working at an overly relaxed pace. We are all a team and are able and willing to jump in and help each other when needed.
4. Be visible. If you get an email, a phone call, a text, or any other communication (within reasonable hours) respond quickly. Delaying response, especially to your executive/boss, is not a good idea at this point because they may question what you are doing.
Think about how we react when a child/friend/coworker doesn’t respond quickly. Some people may make disparaging remarks like, “She’s probably having a nap in the middle of the day,” instead of assuming that you are actually very busy. Unfortunately, absence makes people more suspicious.
5. Proactively share your progress. Don’t wait to be asked how things are going. Let your executive/boss know what you are working on, what your progress is, where any roadblocks are, and even if you find yourself with extra time on your hands. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t be invisible. Take this opportunity to step up what you offer your organization. This is the time to show how much you can do.
Find your voice. If you need to increase your level of assertiveness to ensure you get what you need, then do that. You don’t have to be bossy or aggressive, but if you wait for things to come to you, they won’t.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”4HJde” via=”yes” ]Working remotely is hard. Make sure that you stay in touch with everyone on your team.[/ctt]
Working remotely is hard. Make sure that you stay in touch with everyone on your team, with extra focus on communicating with your executive.