It's unprecedented. As if a manager's role wasn't tough enough. Right now managers are steering their teams through the abrupt change to working virtually. Managers can ease the transition by ...
You can ease their and your transition by asking these practical and reflective questions. Try them out during your regular 1:1 check-ins, as a reflective question during a team meeting, or use them to facilitate a virtual chat. Another idea is pair up your employees and have them interview each other using one or more of these questions.
1) Do you have what you need to work from home?
Make sure your team members have all the tools, software and skills they need to work from home. This might mean offering a tutorial on how to use collaborative platforms like jamboard, or making sure they have headphones and an ergonomic keyboard.
2) What flexibility do you need as you adjust to working from home?
It’s possible they will need to adjust their hours earlier, later or in “sprints” of focused working time.
3) What has been easy or surprising about the transition so far?
Tapping into the emotion of surprise can open up new thinking and possibilities. It’s completely natural to feel frustrated by the change but there may also be significant opportunity if you know how to look for it.
4) What have you learned about yourself as a part of this transition?
This is a great example of using a coaching question to encourage reflection. It also gives you an opportunity to reinforce behaviors that are working well.
5) What can I do to help you feel more supported?
During great change, disruption or disaster one of the most important things you can do as a people-leader is to show your team you care about their personal well-being. Not their productivity. Their well-being.
6) Does our regular call schedule still work for you?
It’s a great time to find a new cadence that works for you both, and there are many options. Have a five 1 minute standing meetings. Try a bi-weekly check-in focusing on work products and process. Adjust the time of day you connect. Have a walking meeting.
7) How are you making time for yourself?
Getting to know your employee on a personal level helps them feel cared for and helps reduce biases. You may find some hidden talents!
8) How are you making time to connect with other team members, colleagues, etc.?
Foster strong relationships between team members. Teams will provide you insights into what keeps them engaged and connected if you listen.
9) What routines are you eager to get back to?
This will give you insights into where your employees’ pain points are. You may be able to brainstorm some solutions to current challenges. It’s also helpful feedback into what processes, rituals and routines were working well.
10) What changes are having surprising benefits, that we might want to continue moving forward?
This question can shift the focus to something generative and creative, empowering your employees to consider a future where they belong. This helps decrease anxiety and strengthen your relationship with them.
Before wrapping up, it's critical to remember that it is a privilege to be able to work safely from home. Millions of workers cannot work from home, and others are not safe. There are local resources available for folks experiencing domestic violence.
If your team had a favorite restaurant, bar or cafe they frequented, invite them to donate as a team to those small business owners.