Being Productive In a Virtual World: How to Structure The Day For Your Employees
START WITH A VIDEO MEETING
We strongly recommend a video meeting morning meeting over just a call in. It forces people to get dressed and prepared as they would for an office meeting. Make it interesting. Ask each person about their setting. Where they are in the house? Why did they pick that room? Perhaps challenge them to create a more attractive or interesting background setting. Nothing essential here, just ways to let everyone know you’re paying attention, and help them get their head in the game.
LAY OUT THE STRUCTURE OF THE DAY
Start by laying out the big picture; the overall structure of the day. What needs to be accomplished by end of day. Try to be as detailed as possible. Each specific task on the agenda and what the vision is. Then go around the virtual table. Ask each person to lay out specifically what they have on their plate, and their plan to achieve it. As always, have some fun and show leadership. But be very clear on responsibilities and deadlines. Remember, in the virtual world there will be no one looking over their shoulder and pushing them, so make expectations clear.
SET UP TEAMS OF COMMUNICATION
Just like in the office, organize smaller teams that can stay in touch and collaborate throughout the day. Again, emphasize video meetings. They push people to be more together and more prepared for each conversation. Have these teams work together so the whole group is responsible for getting the task accomplished. As a group, each team member will feel involved and responsible for his or her part. It helps with the feeling of community and connection. Remember, right now people are feeling isolated. So consistent communication among a small group is both comforting and productive.
STRUCTURE AND ENCOURAGE TEXT CHAINS
Texting can be quick and easy, and let people collaborate and get quick answers. Set up text chains so there is more than one person on the exchange. That keeps conversations on business and away from social talk and gossip. Again, promote constant communication and collaboration. That’s all good and healthy. But it has to have structure to keep it all on task.
END OF DAY MEETING
Just as you set expectations at the beginning of the day, check results as the end. Bring everyone back together for a video chat. Go around the table. Let each person speak about what they accomplished and share the details and process. The ones who are most productive working remotely can inspire those who are struggling. Praise and encourage as much as possible. Leadership is always important, but even more so in the virtual world. People are separated. Good Leaderships reassures them they are not alone, and still part of a team.