During these tough times, many businesses have had to lay off some of their employees, seize operation for a while, or even close stores at least for the time being. The rest of them that survived had to welcome a relatively new way of doing business: via online meetings and conferences.
Amid the chaos, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many people have found themselves less productive and enthusiastic due to the new transition. They are stuck at home with their families and are forced to balance work and family life. Indeed, this surely takes a toll on one’s physical and mental health.
Despite the many hardships this pandemic has brought about, it has also presented us with an incredible opportunity to grow, adapt, and improve. We’ve seen businesses launch new and creative digital marketing strategies, come closer together and work successfully while being physically separated.
So, how do you keep yourself and your colleagues productive and positive during the pandemic? What can help managers still do their job to perfection without the luxury of face-to-face communication?
We’ve put together a bunch of practical tips to boost the productivity of teams, leaders, managers, CEOs, and everyone else in a company.
1. Be the empathetic leader/manager/colleague
There’s no better way to show off some excellent package of leadership skills than being an empathetic team leader or manager. This role should be given to a person who is a great communicator, one that gets their point across without leaving a sense of disrespect or even arrogance.
Leaders are those who pave the way for the team, lay the foundation, and lead them towards the path of success. Unfortunately, these in-the-office methods and traditionalism had to be altered in one way or another; and just because you’re no longer at the office, it hardly means that everything’s going to collapse anytime now. It could be just the other way around. Now that we’re all staying inside, we can get enough sleep, reorganize things personally and professionally - things we didn’t have time for before the quarantine.
The same is valid for everyone in your company, from the CEO to the cleaning lady. If you happen to be the manager in your company, ensure that everyone feels connected and supported. We’re all going through the same thing, emotionally, so in this time of uncertainty, it’s essential to build an atmosphere of togetherness, even online.
In the process, you’ll surely notice that some of your colleagues or employees adapt quickly to the changes, while others fall behind a little. But that’s okay! Keep in mind that some people have never worked remotely, and it’s an entirely new world to them. Last but not least, encourage regular, weekly feedback so you can help make things better.
2. Schedule online meetings/phone calls/video conferences
We can’t stress enough the importance of staying together even through the wonders of technology. Sure, not everyone loves being on camera, especially not when there are people around (like members of the family, kids, pets, etc.) Finding a quiet place can be tricky enough in periods of quarantine, but guess what, your colleagues are probably going through the same challenges.
But since real-life conversations aren’t possible right now, the only reasonable option could be video calls. Having webcams turned on and ready for action is a crucial factor in keeping the team together. Not only does it help the leaders keep managing the team, even remotely, but it also reveals people’s true colors. You’ll inevitably notice the more focused and reliable ones and those who usually slide along the surface at work.
3. Help the rookies out
When locked inside, it could be hard to micromanage your tasks, reports, tickets, whatever is it, like you did before the pandemic. So, whenever somebody isn’t able to follow along with the rest, do not be too harsh on them. Some people are more naturally prone to feeling anxious, insecure, and less confident about their skills. It’s especially true for new people in the company, who have yet to prove their place there. Generally, it’s vital that everyone in the company feels engaged and deeply connected with everyone and everything that’s happening. If you see that somebody is having a hard time adapting to the new schedule, reach out to them. Try to help them out. You were once a rookie, too, right?
4. Keep using the right tools
Since Covid-19 has swept the whole world mercilessly, it was only natural that some businesses had to minimize the expenses. This could mean freezing projects, cutting down on budgeting, etc. But in truth, you can’t survive if you keep ditching important things for your company’s growth. Of course, everyone’s focus right now is to cut spending; however, this method will surely fire back in the end.
Since everything is happening online, make sure to pick the right team management platform for your company. Try out different tools, don’t be too shy to use some trial and error. For instance, you could experiment with brain-storming sessions on tools, like Zoom or Google Hangouts, or use Slack channel to test the productivity level of your team, and so forth. It’s specifically necessary for larger teams and companies that can’t be supported by messenger or skype.
5. Welcome “Natural Breaks’ During the Day
Just because you’re no longer at the office doesn’t mean that your lunch break has to disappear. It’s quite the opposite! Now that you can’t have lunch at your favorite restaurant, it’s important to keep that mindset at home. Unglue yourself from that office-turned chair, go to the kitchen, make yourself a good cup of coffee and a sandwich, open the window and enjoy a few minutes of peacefulness.
Not only does it refresh your mind, but it helps you change the atmosphere a little bit, even though it could be a slight difference. The truth is….we’re all so used to human interaction in an office-like setting that it feels extra strange not to have it. Or at least not in the same way for the time being. Many people even practice yoga, jogging, quick home workout sessions during these “natural breaks” throughout the day.
Or better yet, if you can, go outside, take the garbage out, and have a short walk around the block. By the time you’re back, you’ll be feeling a lot better. We guarantee it!
Living in quarantine and still trying to live normally is a tricky combination. You still have to do your job the way you used to, but now the distraction level is immensely high, and it doesn’t affect only you; it’s all of us. But fortunately, there are some ways to help you cope with the new changes and keep you more productive at work such as:
- be more empathetic - address the situation without being too pessimistic
- be online - take part in video chats, conferences, etc
- be helpful - ask your colleagues if they have a hard time adapting to the changes
- keep using the right tools - they help you stay productive and in touch with the team
- have a break (s) throughout the day - you’re not a robot, and nobody expects you to be
Hopefully, our ideas will help you manage your team effectively and bring your team closer during these challenging times.
Andriu Barreto is a full-stack digital marketer who is originally from Venezuela. For the past 5 years, he has freelanced on everything from PPC to copywriting to SEO. Now he writes his insights, guides, and tutorials on Internet Marketing Bro.