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14 Apr

Manager mandate during online meeting

#lockdown #COVID19 #Workfromhome #meeting

The country-wide lockdown (should I say world-wide) has changed the dynamics of workplace. Along with COVID-19 virus that we’re dealing with, we’re also made to deal with a lot of unknown. None of management gurus / management books have ever spoken / written about ways to deal with such a situation. Organisations have to think about innovative ways of dealing with the new normal. Soon we will see new models in BCP to keep the business alive.

What’s different for the teams?

Virtual teams are the new normal. Work from Home is the new reality. Stay at home is the new mandate. On-line meetings is the new way of work.

How are on-line meetings from home different?

Learning the new way of working has become inevitable. Platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and other meeting software are becoming the order of the day. The industry is not new to on-line meetings. Web conferences, tele-calls have been around for a while. So what is new now?

Firstly, everyone is home, including the children as schools are closed too. Secondly, there is no house-help, so the house work has to be completed by the employees themselves. Added to these the anxiety and stress of the progress of the pandemic COVID 19 in the world, its impact on each one of us and uncertainty around it. If this was not sufficient, then there is fear about our job, fear about salary, fear about productivity. All this put together has led to tremendous amount of stress.

During the meeting we can expect this stress to show up in some form or the other. Not to forget the unplanned background music of children crying or the dogs barking or the milk boiling over ….

Now, none of these would have been true if the online meetings were at workplace.

Online Meetings are the new normal

Making the most of online meeting (new normal).

Taking a few steps would prevent the morale of the team going low. Of course, the usual norms have to be followed including sending the agenda much before the meeting along with clear objective and what is expectation from each of the attendees.

  1. Routine: Making meetings a routine and at a particular time every day would give each of your team members a sense of predictability. and they would look forward to it.
  2. Check-ins : Start the meeting by asking about how they are feeling. Getting straight into the meeting would make sure the stress that they are carrying is continued in the meeting too. Initially, this may take a little more time than expected. But, after couple of meetings, the time taken would normalise. A good idea is also to ask everyone to keep their video on, so you can see them.
  3. Personalised Attention: The on-line meetings have an uncanny way of making everyone feel the absence of personal attention. Make sure you call each one out by names and ask for their opinion. This would also encourage diversity of thoughts
  4. Humour: A little humour will help relieve the stress that is there. For humour, you have to practice it before hand avoid being impromptu as it may bomb. Humour should not be directed at anyone or any group. Best humour is about self.
  5. Transparency in communication: Without in-person connect, you can expect is a strong feeling of missing out. This is a feeling of which may be be caused by the thought of not having access to all the information. It is upon the manager to ensure complete transparency in communication and ensuring all relevant information is available to all. When you too do not have access to certain information, please be honest about it.
  6. Engagement: Engaging the employees is also a challenge. The employees miss out on the water-cooler conversations. Give time for some chit-chat. Have virtual parties gives a sense of belonging. These could include simple stuff like asking them to wear the same colour or getting their coffee mugs to the meeting or anything that will help in building a sense of community.

Does it mean you cannot be yourself?

Definitely not! You have to be yourself. In all this stress, your team may not have the energy to manage the new you. While, being you is important, it is also important to take those additional few steps to keep your team in high spirits. When everything seems to be going through uncertainty, your Compassion will play a crucial role.

Set a reminder for yourself

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going

COVID 19 image courtesy Background vector created by starline – www.freepik.com

online meeting image courtesy : mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Read our next blog on making most of work from home

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