As we head into our first full working week of lockdown – many companies are grappling with the need to revert back to remote work policies.

Many companies, including Google, have extended their home working policies until at least July 2021. However, they’ve not just sent everyone home & hoped for the best. Their team have implemented a number of changes that you should 100% steal if you’d like a happy and engaged team!

1. Make the team meeting an absolute must

These meetings can sometimes be the only interaction the team will have when working apart. Set it for the same time each week and stick to it – even if there isn’t anything urgent. Virtual meetings are a chance to take the teams pulse, continue to build rapport and connectivity. Our tip for the team meeting – schedule a virtual breakfast or lunch once per week and keep it informal!

2. Be present in digital meetings

Camera on. Muted when not speaking. Not responding to emails while your colleagues talk. Pay attention. Simple but SO important.

3. Recognition is still key

You’ll get less off-the-cuff opportunities to say thank you when you’re not in the office with your team. It’s therefore even more important to make sure you are recognising the team for great work – give them a shoutout in team meetings or send them a little something in the post. It’ll go a long way.

4. Look out for the introverts

Virtual environments are a nightmare for introverts. It’s important for managers to help them by asking their introverted team members for their input, directly. Also, if you see their body language change – it may be because they are trying to enter the conversation – give them a chance to speak.

5. Set the expectations

Googles researchers recommend discussing and documenting team norms with colleagues – these would include:

expectations for how long it should take to respond to emails/pings, taking off-hours and time zones into account if needed;

clarifying task expectations and ownership within a team, including when they can move forward if a team member is unreachable and when it’s better to get a response;

the best way to share information;

how often to stay in touch; and

a broad vision to help teammates align to a broader goal.

This process puts everyone on the same page and can impact on low productivity because someone in the team is waiting on something from other team members.

6. Select the right channels

Message? Call? WhatsApp? Video call?

Too many of any of these will lead to burnout. Find a nice balance and ask your team their preferred method.

7. Well-being is a priority

Google encourages its employees to:

set up a comfortable office space to physically separate their work and home life;

set limits on their workday so as not to work too many hours; and

get up every hour for a short break.

Not revolutionary, but we as leaders need to continuously encourage our employees to look after themselves through these difficult times.

We’d love to hear what ideas you have for ensuring the next few weeks of home working are a success! Comment below.

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