The "Leading Work-from-Home Employee & Virtual Teams in This COVID Times" Playbook: 10 Useful Tips
Author: Louie John Banta, LJMB Online's CEO & Chief Consultant
The lockdown started.
We were thrust to work-from-home (WFH). And lead virtual teams.
While companies may have provided tools and gadgets, many didn’t receive on-boarding in this new WFH reality. To begin with, nobody had the playbook for this. You may have WFH experience but I'm sure it was not as intense and prolonged as this - 5 days x 8 hrs per day (I know it became worse later on).
We may or may not like it, but for the meantime, it’s here to stay, we just have to leverage on its advantages, work with what we have & address related issues.
WFH realities are also different across countries. Compared to North America, Australia and Europe, household sizes in the Philippines, India and other countries Asia and India are bigger (due to extended family ties) and can pose more challenges to productivity and distraction-free participation in video meetings.
I delivered my first webinar on this topic in April 2, and did around 10 more sessions. I know it’s not enough to reach out to everyone who may need this. So we are sharing this “slide:ument" and giving this away. I propose 10 tips in this article that can lay the foundations of that “playbook”. They're based on my personal experience leading a virtual team not too long ago, my team's experience during this pandemic and validated and enriched by my interactions with webinar participants in the last 10 weeks.
The principles in leading people before and during this extended WFH set-up are the same! The tweaks are in the behaviors!
You may have learned the hard way and already developed some techniques. I know you will pick a thing or two from here. Pass it on to fellow leaders. Some may still be struggling trying to engage their teams in this set-up.
An added bonus: I will post in my LinkedIn account a write-up and/or a brief video explaining each tip, 1-2 tips per day. Pls watch out for it.
Here are the 10 tips supported by specific tactics and techniques.
Tip 1: Ensure people have the INFRASTRUCTURE.
Tip 2: Set up the Team ROUTINE/ RHYTHM.
Tip 3: Set EXPECTATIONS on WFH Ground Rules/ Behaviors.
Tip 4: Ensure PRODUCTIVITY. Leverage on available DOWNTIME/ FREE TIME.
Tip 5: COACH your team on How to Succeed in WFH.
Tip 6: OVERCOMMUNICATE. Ensure hared understanding.
Tip 7: Discuss WORK LOAD and SUPPORT Needed.
Tip 8: Allow for FLEXIBILITY. Show Compassion and Understanding.
Tip 9: Practice AVA!The ‘next best thing to being physically present’.