The UK has reported more than 1,500 coronavirus cases and 55 deaths – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000. In light of the speed in which the virus is spreading, Boris Johnson has urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contacts and to work from home where possible.
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The Advanced Workplace Institute (AWI), part of Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) – a firm with 28 years in managing remote teams – has released a series of tools to help organizations manage dispersed workforces. In addition, the Institute is offering advice to those people who will find themselves working from home in the coming weeks.
10 things to do differently
- Spend time socializing with colleagues when you’re apart – stay in touch with what’s going on in their lives to build cohesion and closeness.
- Make your activities visible to colleagues – they can’t see you physically, so make sure they know what you’re doing and if you need support.
- Jointly agree on how to run virtual meetings and always use video to see how people are and how they react – we need more feedback when we are apart.
- Take responsibility for maintaining relationships – find out what colleagues need & share what you need – don’t leave it to chance.
- Overtly demonstrate you can be trusted by delivering on your promises – trustworthiness is more difficult to judge when you’re apart.
- Go out of your way to make information available to people – it’s harder to track information down when you’re working apart.
- Critically review your own communication style – without visual cues and careful listening, we overlook what helps or hinders others from being their best.
- Make sure people know about your expertise – virtual teams have fewer opportunities to demonstrate/learn about each other’s knowledge and skills.
- Understand each other’s personalities and preferences – work on accommodating differences and not letting distance divide you.
- Offer emotional support and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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“There is a lot we take for granted when we’re in the office. When we’re working away, we need to consciously develop new leadership and workers practices,” says Andrew Mawson, founder of AWA. “Once the ‘honeymoon period’ of home working is over, teams and leaders will need to develop new practices, acquire new skills and make new agreements with family and people they share their homes with in order to remain productive and focused during this challenging time. Organizations should see this time as an opportunity to upskill their workforces to be effective in working away. The world of work is never going to be the same again.”