Here’s some quick tips to help in keeping your teams to stay engaged online and working collaboratively.
If your staff are working from home for the first time, it’s probably going to require a bit of extra effort to make sure that this is a great experience for them. Keeping your teams engaged online will enhance their wellbeing and productivity, helping you to focus on your core tasks as well.
1. Make it enjoyable
My first tip is let’s make this enjoyable. Yep, we’re still at work – and this is not about having fun time at home; instead it’s about making the experience comfortable for people. Give them some chance to build their competence by practicing and using some of the online tools.
We also need to have a bit of flexibility about this. It’s not going to always work, our online experience is not always going to involve seamless, smooth transitions. Take a deep breath and give your people a bit of time to get used to some of the tech and then they’ll be able to use it comfortably.
2. Keep it simple
My big tip here is the 50% rule. So if you’re conducting an online meeting or workshop, we really need to have participants in the frame of mind that they speak for half of the time that they normally would In a face to face meeting, otherwise, people are going to disengage really quickly. They’re probably weary from lots of screen time. And they’re easily distracted. So the 50% rule is my golden rule.
3. Build engagement
At the moment, we’re being told to do a lot of things, especially around the COVID-19. If you get the opportunity just to ask people about the changes they want to see, you’re going to get some really good engagement. Avoid asking about their problems – that starts a conversation that won’t end and provides little in the way of tangible outputs.
4. Use a range of tools
Tip number four, is use a range of tools for engagement. We’re all probably becoming reasonably familiar with Zoom. There’s some other great collaboration tools around like Group Map that is like an online flipchart for your team to exchange and document ideas and develop strategies. Platforms like Trello and Slack are valuable to get people engaging in a secure environment, where they can keep all the information in one place and be able to message each other without having to follow a huge trail of emails.
5. Play nicely
People are facing a lot of uncertainty and have pressures in their lives that we just don’t know about. In a workshop I facilitated online last week I still had team mates trying to prove each other wrong, saying, “No, that’s not right – you’ve got that wrong.”
That stuff’s simply got to stop right now. We’ve got to support each other. And really keep looking for what’s working now just to help each other out.
You can do this!
The online environment is different, but we can simplify it for our teams. It’s really just taking the principles we use at work and applying it in the online environment.
Please Get in touch with me if you’d like to discuss these suggestions further.
Grab the podcast version to listen and reflect on this later.