Christmas in July: Guide to Working from Home- How to Lead Meetings, Manage Team Members, and Find Your New Routine (All While Working Remotely)

Back in March, the concept of working from home was new to many team members across the United States. During this transition, where most organizations were forced to work remotely, the learning curve was significant: Employees had to find and prepare home office spaces, learn how to run remote meetings and workshops, and redefine their work-life balance.

Now, three months later, it’s clear that many teams will continue to work in this capacity for the foreseeable future. That means it’s time to move beyond “just making it work” into the territory of settling into a routine and mastering the art of remote work. For today’s blog, we’re sharing an excerpt from our new whitepaper, a Remote Work Guide. Reading up on these strategies for working remotely will ensure you’re always prepared and ready to go for your virtual meetings, presentations, and deadlines, no matter what is thrown your way.

If you’d like to browse the eBook before downloading the complete guide, we’re sharing a few of our favorite tips in today’s blog.

Chapter 1: Establishing and Maintaining a New Work Routine

If you’re still trying to find a solid routine for your new remote work lifestyle, you aren’t alone. It can take time to adjust to working outside your office, but be patient and try these tips to find a groove that works for you.

  • Invest in your space. If you’ve been working from your kitchen table for the last three months, it might be time to upgrade to a new desk. Make sure that you are comfortable and have the proper technology you need to do your job well. A new standing desk, headphones, or office chair can make all the difference to your home office.
  • Turn your phone off or leave it in a different room. No one can focus on work while their phone is lighting up with texts and notifications every few minutes. Avoid the constant temptation to peek at your screen by leaving your phone out of sight and out of mind (that is, of course, until you’re ready for a coffee break).
  • Message your coworkers. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re flying solo. Do your best to check in on your coworkers and let them know that you’re thinking of them and missing normal office banter. Shooting someone a slack message or text is a great mini-task to do between morning meetings.
  • Find good lighting. No, seriously. Having bright lighting in your workspace isn’t just helpful for your zoom calls – sunlight is known to improve your mood and productivity. Rather than working in your home office with the blinds drawn, try opening your shades and a window or two to let in some fresh air and sunshine.

Read the rest of chapter one here.

Chapter 2: Managing your Newly-Remote Team

Managing your team isn’t just weekly 1-1’s. While your employees are working remotely, it’s critical to adjust your managing style to ensure they feel supported and engaged.

  • Offer shared inspiration. Working from home may have your team feeling in a rut. Try sharing a quote or mantra at the beginning of each week to engage your crew and inspire them to do their best work. Sharing a weekly mantra or inspirational quote is a fun, easy way to set a positive tone for the work week and build a sense of comradery.
  • Make meetings fun. Calls with your team may be the only opportunity your employees have during the day to see each other face to face and catch up. Allow a few minutes for some water-cooler talk before diving into your next meeting agenda.
  • Be direct. Acorio is a strong supporter of radical candor. This communication style is now more important than ever: with many non-verbal social cues lost over Zoom and Slack, you must speak openly and directly with your team. Although it may feel initially uncomfortable to deliver criticism via Zoom instead of in person, it’s important not to block your team from an opportunity to learn and grow. While working from home, focus on giving honest and clear feedback to your team.

Read the rest of chapter two here. 

Chapter 3: How to Lead the Most Productive Video Calls While WFH

Security should remain a top priority even when you’re working from home. What precautions are you taking to protect your organization? If you’re using Zoom, make sure to follow the necessary steps to keep your calls secure.

  • Schedule meetings with a unique meeting number and URL instead of using your instant meeting ID.
  • Always require a password with your meeting, you can even embed it right into the URL so participants don’t have to type it in.

Engagement during virtual meetings or workshops is as important as ever. We recommend using one of these techniques every 10-15 minutes to keep your team actively involved and ensure everyone is paying attention throughout the call:

  • round robins and/or mini-round robins.
  • Ask for consensus from the team or teams – document agreement throughout the call.
    •Drop a poll into Zoom.
    •Ask team members to share their perspective.

An open line of communication is a central step to achieving a productive meeting. While working remotely, teams have been challenged to adapt to virtual meeting platforms that have altered traditional meeting etiquette. So what can you do to establish expectations for communication the next time you’re getting ready to hop on a call? Set the following guidelines:

  • All attendees should announce their names before speaking so that all other attendees know who is speaking.
  • Mute yourself when not speaking to avoid contributing any unnecessary background noise.
  • Pause at the end of each section of your agenda for feedback. Not everyone is comfortable interrupting others, and pausing at the end of each section allows attendees time to bring up any comments they weren’t able to voice earlier.

Looking for more tips? Download the PDF to have complete access to our three remote work checklists, and dozens of other virtual work tips straight from our ServiceNow experts.

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