Staying Organized: Virtual Collaboration & Working From Home
If virtual collaboration wasn’t already part of your daily life, chances are it is now. Today most of the nation's workforce is at home, where teleconferencing and virtual collaboration are the new norms. We here at Live Nation Special Events are no different as we find new ways to remotely engage with audiences of our postponed events. The speed with which our lives have changed means that most of us are figuring out how to work from home on the fly. If you’re new to the lifestyle, you’ll need to reset your routine and change your mindset to stay connected, productive and inspired.
Author, entrepreneur and thought leader Keith Ferrazzi - CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a Los Angeles, California-based research and consulting firm - uses these guidelines to create high impact remote-work experiences. Read along with us to see how you can start living your best work-from-home life today.
Establish Rules for Communication
Now that you’re relying solely on chat tools, video conferencing, text and other virtual communication, you’ll want to specify how quickly responses are expected for each platform. Avoid information overload, and set a cadence that is focused on outcomes. Create a priority protocol to ensure that high-importance messages don’t get lost in the fray.
Set Clear Goals and Expectations
Establish new working rules and take a proactive approach. Know your goals, your boundaries and your blind spots. An early win could be something as easy as planning a daily morning and afternoon team check-in, and sticking to it. Be sure that all of your collaborators are on the same page, and remember… over-communication can be a good thing.
Teams are bound by trust. Trust is established through bonding and vulnerability. Daily face-to-face interaction with our co-workers used to bring a hundred opportunities to connect. Don’t lose that! Take a moment to ask about your teammate’s day, video chat whenever possible to give others a “context” and avoid the temptation to get right to business. In these uncertain times, keeping a connection is more important than ever.
Keep A Routine
A daily routine is critical to stay productive and avoid the work-from-home “rut”. Be sure to have the same start time and morning routine. Dress like you would at the office. Take regular breaks, and enjoy them to the fullest. Curate a work area that’s well lit, uncluttered and free from distractions. Create a separation from the other members of your household. The idea is to define, not blur the lines between work and home.
Go the extra mile and go beyond the duties of your “role.” Do you have a teammate who’s juggling young kids? Offer to take something off their plate. A coworker who’s less tech-savvy? Find opportunities to coach them on virtual collaboration tools. Being generous with your time and talent is not only a must for success as your team learns the rhythms of working from home… it will be remembered when things return to normal.
Agree to be Candid
We’re moving faster than ever before, and we don’t have the benefit of face-to-face interaction. That’s the perfect storm for misunderstandings and miscommunication. Be candid! Be proactive with feedback provision and don’t be conflict avoidant. Choose voice or video over email or text whenever possible (tone is important when giving feedback).
Tap Into Technology
Google docs, Evernote, Slack, Dropbox, Calendly, Trello, Basecamp, the list goes on. It’s an amazing time to be a virtual collaborator - our resources are evolving literally every day. Learn these tools, and make use of them.
Remember to have fun. Find little opportunities to make the team feel connected. Start a thread in your chat tool and ask everyone to post a link to whatever music they’re enjoying at the moment. Create a challenge for your team to share video tours of their home workspaces (cute kid & pet cameos welcome) and award a gift card to the best tour. Set up a Friday social hour and live stream a “cheers” with everyone’s beverage of choice. We could all use a reason to smile right now... even if it's a virtual one.
Most of all, find what works best for you. There will be some trial and error, and that’s okay! Through communication and support you’ll get to a place where virtual collaboration is easy and rewarding, and working from home feels natural.
For more insight on organizational culture, as well as how to motivate and energize your team check out Keith Ferrazzi’s website.