Recruitment Entrepreneur is committed to the health and safety of each employee and their families. As part of our dedication to those we partner alongside, each business will be working from home until further advisement.
These safeguarding initiatives have been implemented to encourage the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and their communities during these times.
This guide is designed to keep each person connected to their teams, allow everyone to remain productive, and continue to manage success within each company.
What to do if you become unwell
If you become unwell with any symptoms similar to Coronavirus you should:
- Stay at home and call NHS 111, rather than visiting your GP or hospital
- Self-isolate for 7 days
There is now an online help website at www.111.nhs.uk – where you can complete a short online questionnaire and get advice on the next steps.
If you become unwell at home and have travelled to any of the specified risk areas or have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 you should:
- Call NHS 111 / log onto www.111.nhs.uk
- Self-isolate: stay indoors and avoid contact with any other people immediately
If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 then please stay at home as per the guidance from PHE and call your team to let them know.
Government Coronavirus response
Government advice – at-risk areas
Managing a Team Remotely
Remote working requires self-discipline, motivation, and integrity to achieve everything that you set out to complete. When managing a team remotely, it is necessary to trust in your team members and work together despite the distance between one another.
These 5 additional steps can foster trust and continue driving each individual’s productivity.
1. Communicate Clear Expectations
Type up a plan that outlines achievement objectives over the next few weeks detailing expectations and deliverables. When you share this with your team, it can be used as a point of reference to make sure everyone is up-to-date and working from the same page.
Share with stakeholders and team members
Schedule team meetings to disclose new expectations, talk to the team and make sure that they are coping successfully with remote working. Team meetings should be scheduled through Zoom to create as much engagement as possible, whilst ensuring everyone is clear on their responsibilities.
The document should cover:
- Goals you are required to achieve.
- Spell out; what needs actioning, reasoning behind the action, and the timeframe for delivery.
- Who is responsible.
- Use the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model to delegate the necessary requirements to the team. Quick 5 minute vid.
- How often an update is required and should it be via Outlook, Zoom, etc.
- Reporting a lack of capacity to complete work i.e. Escalation norms.
- Communication norms; should the team use Outlook, Teams, WhatsApp, or Zoom to communicate, and for what purpose?
Communication norm example:
Email: For non-urgent requests; response time within 24 hours.
Text: For urgent requests; response time within 1 hour; use only in emergencies.
WhatsApp: For checking in, fun, learning, and connection; response time optional.
Make sure that your team has everything needed from you in terms of communication, understanding of responsibility, and that their questions can be addressed in a transparent and time-effective manner.
2. Share Frequent Updates
Our markets and service delivery revolve on pace, collaboration, transparency, growth, agility, and ambition. These qualities are showcased when businesses share their successes between themselves and their team members to maintain drive and motivation.
Sharing updates also creates a culture of accountability centered on encouraging others to achieve.
Recruitment Entrepreneur’s weekly roundups will still be issued on Fridays as usual.
3. Maintain 121 Time
As a manager it is your responsibility to check on the wellbeing of your employees. The media coverage and current circumstance of COVID-19 may leave your team feeling overwhelmed or anxious. 121s are your opportunity to ensure that each person is performing with the ability to reach their potential. Emotional intelligence and empathy are always required so your team feels supported and informed.
Create a space where your employees feel comfortable to discuss anything concerning them. To provide context to the meeting, share an agenda for both parties to populate beforehand. This step also allows both parties to take ownership of the meeting.
Dedicating between 30 minutes to 1 hour to your direct reports for a 121 each week will aid communication and is critical for successful team management when working remotely. Start your 121 with an open-ended question which allows the most important and top of mind topics to surface.
By allowing for regular catchups, and promoting open communication, managers can stop issues from evolving and make sure that each team member is working towards the same goal.
4. Deliver Feedback Often
Regular feedback is important, especially for those who are used to the hustle and bustle of the office. Silence experienced during remote working can often promote feelings of anxiety and confusion. We are wired to scan for danger and threats, so is easy to assume negative feedback if we haven’t heard otherwise.
Breaking this barrier can improve employee engagement, keeps everyone on the same page, and encourages communication through maintaining motivation through sharing of information.
Leadership from managers is necessary to keep relevant information trickling down to the team and making sure that each member is on task.
Make sure you understand what’s being communicated and what is being asked from your team so you can relay this information to them and continue achieving successfully.
5. Share Information Promptly and Inclusively
Sharing information among the team in a prompt and timely manner. Depending on your communication style, a long email can be replaced with a Zoom call to share news or relay instructions on a new brief. This will increase engagement and improve two-way communication channel between colleagues.
Comms and Engagement
When you’re not working in the office, it is important to find the best way to communicate with your team. Inside the office, it's easy to recognise people’s regular behaviour patterns and spot if someone needs a chat or is in the flow and avoiding distractions. In a remote team, you lose this overview.
Here are a few ways to build strong connections and communicate clearly with your team from a distance.
1. Daily or Weekly Catchups
Highlighting progress and flagging blockers can easily be done in a daily meeting that involves the core team.
Typical team catchups will cover the following questions with teams prepared to answer each:
- What did I work on yesterday?
- What am I working on today?
- What issues are blocking me?
Daily sharing of everyone’s individual successes contribute to overall team motivation and keep the team on track.
2. Combat Miscommunication
Consistent back-and-forth emails can often lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding. Without face-to-face communication and non-verbal cues, a lot of context to what is being said can be lost.
If you sense that what is being said maybe being misconstrued, then it might be the time to upgrade the communication platform to phone or video. Remember to ask clarifying questions to understand the message sender’s intentions before assuming that there are negative connotations behind the message.
3. Pay Attention to Burnout
Working at home can easily blend the boundaries between your professional and personal life. It is natural when you’re working away from the team to be concerned about other people’s perceptions with a desire to prove that you are working extra-time. This behaviour, overtime, can lead to burnout.
It is important to align with your manager and team on expectations and desired outputs so you concentrate on your achievements, rather than how much work you’re completing.
Creating work start and stop rituals will encourage a healthy difference between ‘work-mode’ and enjoying your home. Taking small measures such as scheduled stretches and gamified breaks can provide enough distance between yourself and your work so that you can relax at the end of the day.
4. Maintain Team Spirit
Virtual team building through creating chances to talk to one another will help teams adapt to this new working style, especially if this is new to a large proportion of the team who are more accustomed to sharing office snacks. Maintaining team spirit is important for motivation levels and can help replace valuable
in-person forms of communication.
Teams can arrange a “lunch-room” Zoom between co-workers so people can chat and eat lunch together and experience some of that classic team banter and lunchtime escapades.
Eliminating distractions and staying productive is necessary to continue being successful outside of the office. Working from home has some excellent perks and reduces a lot of the distractions inside the office but comes with its own handful of situations including errands, chores, TV, social media, and that pet you’re not allowed to bring into the office.
Creating a space to work effectively from home will help you zone in and rescue your productivity.
1. Morning Routines are Key
Continuing your morning routine before you head to the office will help kickstart your day. Prompt yourself for the day ahead by starting the day as you would have if you were going into the office today.
Even getting ready and then stepping out to get a coffee to create a clear separation between work and home can give you the time to decompress and begin your day as productively as if you were at the office.
2. Set and Follow a Schedule
When you are away from the office, it is easy to fall away from your usual scheduled day between calls and meetings. At the end of the day before, schedule in your outlook diary exactly what you plan to achieve in each hour block, remembering to carve time for breaks, so that you remain on track and will be able to report to your manager what you have achieved.
Managing your day:
- Start with reviewing your to-do list to make sure you know what needs completing by close of play
- Provide updates on your work to your manager and team members at an agreed frequency
- Schedule time for breaks to keep productivity flowing at the end of each task
At the end of the day:
- Shut down your computer and go on a walk to create distance
- Avoid opening your email after you have ‘finished for the day’
- Find an activity that allows you to disconnect so you can begin the next day with the same productivity
Read this working from home article by Harvard Business Review for some excellent tips.
3. Create a Workspace
If possible, create a space in your home dedicated to work during your scheduled work hours.
Videoconferencing is going to be key during this time for building rapport with team members, candidates, and clients. Before you begin leveraging this excellent tool, ensure that you have covered off very simple tricks to make the call as engaging as possible:
- Make sure the light is right and people can see your face, if you’re sitting directly in front of a window it can either be too bright when reflected or illuminate you from behind so you’re in shadow.
- Test your computer microphone, speakers and camera before important meetings
- Be conscious that there are not distracting things in your background
Read Zoom’s Guide to make sure you are making the most of videoconferencing.
4. Ask for Help
It may take some time to adjust to working from home if this is a new practice.
Reach out to your manager if you require more direction to navigate your assignments whilst working virtually. Recruitment Entrepreneur is dedicated to keeping the business functioning as usual during these times. We are incredibly fortunate enough to have the technology to enable continued success among ourselves and our colleagues. It is important to use this to the best of your abilities and demonstrate real autonomy.
Plan time for social connection to help with your overall wellbeing, both physical and mental, to maintain your own positive and happy demeanour.