by RVWA Member Angel Swindell of Freelance by Starfish Services
The RV Women’s Alliance hosted a Coffee, Lunch, and Learn sponsored by Bill and Shannon Kosteron Friday, May 22, 2020. How to Create Engagement with Your Quaran-Team was presented by leadership guru and Amazon best-selling author, Kelvin Redd. Kelvin shared that prior to the COVID pandemic, approximately 25% of workers in the USA were already working remotely. However, with a good portion of folks transitioning to work from home and serving their “Quaran-Teams” well, those in attendance felt remote work will be the wave of the future.
Kelvin Redd cited remote work challenges for leaders to consider as teams remain dispersed:
Lack of face-to-face supervision is a concern for leaders. Ironically, several bosses have learned that their worry and distrust was unwarranted. Studies show remote workers are actually more productive and often work more hours because they no longer have to commute.
Lack of access to information can cause trouble in the quaran-team. Workers and leaders can become disgruntled if their calls are constantly going to voicemail or when e-mail is sent and does not get a response. Also, a physical workplace can serve as an economical equalizer. Several remote workers lack an appropriate workspace in the home and access to reliable internet. Many employers have had to become more flexible as team members duck out to quiet their environment or lose connection to yet another web-based meeting.
Social Isolation was discussed quite a bit by Kelvin Redd and the attendees. Psychometric instruments such as his favorite, Emergenitics, can help foster self-awareness and a meeting of the minds. Introverts (people that typically speak 5000 words per day) and Extroverts (people that typically speak 25000 words per day) may have very different reactions to remote work environments. Regardless of your team make-up of introverts and extroverts, leaders please be sure you are providing opportunities for social interaction.
Ideas provided by Kelvin Redd on HOW leaders can support remote employees include:
Establish STRUCTURED check-ins. Trust your employees to do their work. Check-in with them daily but do not hover over them. When you do connect, ask them how you can support them.
Use the technology at your disposal but also establish “rules of engagement” by setting expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for the team. For example, use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings and instant messaging/chat when something is urgent. Allow your team to express and respect contact preferences such as “I tend to be more available ____. I prefer to be contacted via ____.
Social Sharing is a must to maintain relationships. Even if your group is mostly introverted, make sure to allow 10-15 minutes at the start of your daily check-ins have the water-cooler, coffee-room style chats. Some work groups that want to “people” more are now holding virtual breakfasts and happy hours from home for more interaction.
Regardless of what strategies you incorporate, Kelvin Redd says, “Love who you are. Love what you do. Love the people that you have been entrusted to serve.”