The New Virtual Reality for Business
As we are closing out “Week 4” of quarantine life, I am sharing what has been working for me and many of my clients these past four weeks in the hopes that it can help you and your organization. If you have some ideas to share, we would love to hear from you.
Here are some great tools to adjust your virtual reality working from home. (Don’t miss the Technology tools at the bottom of the post)
What Has Worked, Weeks 1-4
Use video where possible. Quarantining can be very isolating, it can feel like you are working on an island. Video is certainly not as good as face to face, but much better than texts and calls, and ensures both parties are focused on the catch up in hand. You’ll also be able to see each other’s emotions, facial expressions, and quirks. Connecting through Zoom is a great way you can really boost shared experiences and connection during this time.
Have a “team huddle” daily over Zoom to address the rapidly changing and fluid events and objectives. Brainstorm on how to continue to keep our customers’ needs front and center. We developed tweaks to our delivery process, further evaluating on an as-needed basis. This requires several team members to wear a new “hat” in our business.
Include in your meeting agenda a time to share how each of your team is doing in crisis-mode. Having that opportunity to share your own concerns is helpful.
Be transparent with your teams regarding their immediate considerations pertaining to the crisis. Teams will appreciate a leader’s communication and the freedom to acknowledge “the obvious” in this difficult time is comforting.
Schedule “Virtual Office Hours” for your internal and external teams to connect with you. You can do this via Zoom or Slack. I have been setting Fridays from 2 pm – 4 pm as my “office hours”. I send my Zoom link to my active candidates and clients and keep Zoom open. Individuals with the link can jump in the Zoom room to ask me questions, or just to chat.
Assign a buddy. Partner your team members up with a peer colleague. Although they don’t report to their partner, it can be helpful to go over “to do” lists and have a buddy during this time. Partners can check in with each other daily to review priorities and discuss the best way to tackle our latest challenges, even engaging in small talk. Schedule casual check-ins to help everyone stay on track and feel supported. *see FocusMate, an app that allows virtual coworking.
Celebrate every win – big and small. This is a great time to help each other look forward. One of my favorite questions to ask is “what is the next best thing” we could be doing? Each of these next-best things will start to build on each other. This is most certainly a time to celebrate every win – no matter how small. Set a designated time to do this, perhaps during your weekly call, or during a Friday wrap up session.
Utilize technology – I have been able to help many of our partners set up virtual systems.
Here are some tools that have come in handy for my clients and partners:
Slack – Team Messaging, workflow automation, video and instant messaging
Skype for Business – Video and instant messaging
Friday – Team collaboration tool
Microsoft Teams – Team chat, instant messaging
Google Chat – Team chat for google users
Zoom – Video calls and team conferencing
GotoMeeting – Video calls, team meeting, conferencing
Join Me – Video calls, team meeting, conferencing
AirCall – Virtual call center software, voicemail, call conferencing
- Miro – digital whiteboard for teams working remotely
- Loom – Video recording and screen recording
- Google Docs – online word processing for shared access, cloud storage and shared editing
- Google Drive – googles file storage, syncs documents across the cloud, user access, editing, and sharing
- Tandem – virtual office, team collaboration, syncs all collaboration tools and cloud storage
- Dropbox – online cloud-based storage
- FocusMate – virtual co-working, accountability partners
Project Management, Note Taking, HR and Time Management Tools:
- Asana – Project Management, task tracking, delegation
- Clocktify – free time tracking
- Trello – Project Management tool, task tracking, delegation
- Basecamp – Project Management, workflow
- When I Work – Human Resources, attendance tracking, communicate availability via text
- 15Five – Employee Engagement app, communication
- Fireflies – record transcribe and search across zoom files
- Dashlane – store passwords and personal information
- 1Password – password manager
- LastPass – password manager
While so much has changed since the virus arrived, the basic tenants of business—serving customers and taking care of employees—remain constant. As we all write history together, it will be interesting to see how organizations work creatively to address both customer and employee.