Due to COVID-19, many businesses have had to move not only their services but also their daily work operations and interactions online. This situation has been challenging and has caused communication between employees and clients to become more complicated. It has also impacted the way we interact with each other by reducing close human interaction, which is a necessity of life for most people. Even in these trying times, there are techniques that we can use to overcome these challenges. Here are some tips and tricks on which might help you make the best of these difficult times and create a New Normal that helps bring us closer together.
During the Old Normal, several hours or more of the 8-hour workday was taken up by meetings. Many of which went on for hours and were not the most productive use of time. They seemed like a waste of time. So, when the need to work from home was the New Normal many felt this would be their escape from meetings. However, to keep projects moving forward and possibly even more importantly, keeping the human connection, meetings still have been necessary. The problem now is how to have productive meetings without placing additional burdens on employees, taking up time and energy that could be applied elsewhere, and intruding too much on their private workspace. The concept of mini-meeting can help support the realization of these two points.
Scheduled mini-meetings, face-to-face, or online depending on the location of each participant, is a great way to open these channels and keep your team connected, not only for the sake of the project but also for the employees’ mental health. Mini-meetings should be kept to between fifteen to twenty minutes in length and focus on discussion points that email or project management applications cannot accommodate. Only the most pertinent information related to the project should be discussed, such as asking questions, confirmation, clarification, etc., as well as time to connect as humans. These mini-meetings are a great way to keep everyone talking and continue to build inter-office relationships.
For these online meetings, it is necessary to find an online video conferencing system that works best for you and your team(s). There are several online conference systems available on the market today. Choosing the best one should be left up to what suits your specific needs. Each system offers different service plans and different price ranges. Shop around and test a few of these systems out before committing to a paid service. If you are only planning on using the service for mini-meetings, as previously mentioned, ZOOM (www.zoom.us) is a great option. Its free version will work for meetings up to forty minutes. Zoom is easy to use, works well with both small and large groups and includes a lot of intelligent features. Of course, there are higher-end paid versions, but if you keep your meetings short, the free version will work just fine.
Another issue is product deadlines and deliverables. It is impossible to measure productivity when working at home. Delegating projects and setting deadlines is a great way to keep everyone going at 100%. To keep the company moving forward, make sure to set achievable goals and realistic deadlines as making things unreachable can often have counterproductive results. As noted in the article 5 Ways to deep human connection when moving learning online due to coronavirus, published online by The Conversation, March 24, 2020, screen time is going to increase rapidly and create other issues. All of this, coupled with the increased financial and mental stress this pandemic has brought, it is just as important to put technology aside once in a while and enjoy the smaller, light-hearted things in life to keep that human connection alive.