Whether it’s been a minor or major change, most teams can say they’ve found it harder to operate in the same capacity they did in a pre COVID-19 environment. A large number of teams normally work remote; however, that doesn’t mean they aren’t finding it a challenge to maintain momentum and clear communication in wake of recent events. If your workspace doesn’t have newer distractions (more people, busier than normal neighborhoods, new location, etc.) then you may realize the higher volume of information finding its way to you through your email, phone, colleagues, friends and family. Whatever the new variable, it can have a larger impact than you recognize.
At Elevation Solutions we’ve revisited some basic practices that have made maintaining our normal mode of operating easier. These simple yet effective habits help you and your team maintain continuity not only now, but also when more traditional business operations begin to pick back up.
Lists. Whether you’re tracking items in Salesforce, in Excel, on paper, or in a third party app, lists have the power to reign in your focus, keep you accountable, keep you organized, and aid you in recognizing accomplishments. I tend to share my lists via Slack or Trello so I’m more inclined to tackle items knowing others are aware of my tasks.
Morning review. Blocking off 30 or even 15 minutes in the morning to calibrate your day can ensure you utilize the workday and avoid work after hours (which is easier to do when you’re at home). Try categorizing what you review in that time by what you absolutely need to get done that day, what questions you need answered, who you need to speak with, and if anyone is waiting on your input.
Document conversations and share outcomes with everyone. On almost all of our calls, someone is taking notes. Those notes are shared with all attendees and if possible, have one owner as well as dates. Even though there are plenty of highly effective tools for managing tasks, sometimes simply reiterating through normal communication channels helps drive accountability. If you feel like you’re overcommunicating, you’re probably communicating just enough.
Give them a call! Don’t forget the amount of information you were able to share with someone during a quick in-person sync at the office. If you’re not used to 100% virtual communication, this can feel like quite the shift. Virtual discussions with more than a couple people may leave questions lingering and have you saying “let’s take this offline” more often than not. In that case, go back to basics with a quick phone call!
Be present. Communication technology makes it possible for your team to get a hold of you at any time, whether you’re in the office or working remote. If you’re taking the time to join a discussion, plan to fully be present. Try muting Slack, exiting out of your email, or turning your phone over. Take a look at meetings on your calendar and really consider if you need to join or if another day is best. Joining a discussion only to be visibly occupied with something else sends a message you don’t intend to send. Especially now, you don’t want to create a distraction with unintentional ques and you want to be protective of your time.
Less words, more visuals. We’ve always been big fans of visual tools, but now more than ever we aim to make information easy to absorb. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again…Trello is great!
Celebrate the wins. Big or small. Wins are wins and no matter the size, the impact on morale can go a long way. At Elevations Solutions, we have a Slack #Shoutout channel that gets a lot of love!
It may sound simple but don’t forget the small practices that help you and your team stay focused, efficient, and informed.
Director of Operations at Elevation Solutions