Managing and training in a virtual environment offers challenges as well as opportunities.
With much of the world on lockdown, global business has abruptly retreated from the boardroom to the living room, or den, or wherever we can find space at home to set up a desk and laptop — hopefully a spot with good lighting and a nicely curated background for Zoom meetings.
Nobody could have predicted this new normal way back in, what was it, early March? Working from home is an entirely new lifestyle for a large majority of workers, posing a new set of challenges, especially for team leaders who value face-to-face interactions.
But with a bit of expert guidance, disruption can lead to opportunities for an improved team dynamic and greater productivity. The first step is to make sure everyone is connected in the most efficient and effective way possible, said Bob Fuhs, a longtime leadership consultant, instructor and coach who teaches the DCE Foundations of Leadership course.
“You are going to need the right technology to enable you to connect and collaborate,” Fuhs said. “I have used Zoom even before the pandemic and I find it to be simple to use and with features I need like the ability to record meetings, in case I forget something, share files and use breakout rooms for smaller group discussions.”
It helps to stick to one method of personal communication, so the entire team won’t be distracted by toggling between emails, texts and phone calls. Fuhs suggests using a platform like Slack for quick messages that replace short conversations around the office.
“Slack also lets you create ‘channels’ that allow you to keep conversations separated by topic, and you can even make phone calls from within the app.”