Keep Teams Engaged While Working From Home

by: The CI&T Team

woman working from home office
Posted on Mar 23, 2020

With globally distributed teams, CI&T has always taken a hybrid, in-person and remote, approach to work. Rarely is there a meeting without someone dialing in from another timezone, so we have learned a thing or two about working and managing teams remotely. 

We are in uncharted territory with COVID-19, so we want to share some of our tips whether managing your remote team is crisis- induced or your normal.

 

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Whether its daily stand ups or open “office hours,” make sure your team has the right opportunities to communicate as a team and directly with management. Open and transparent teams are more efficient and identify blockers, adapting sooner.

There are hundreds of tools to facilitate remote collaboration, so figure out the right mix for your team and commit to using the toolset. Digital chat tools like Google Chat and Slack can be a mix of work and fun. Diverse communication channels deepen personal connections and when communication is consistent, teams can pivot when necessary. 

 

DON’T FORGET NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION 

Whether in person or remote, face to face conversations are essential. Turn your camera on. We are human beings, and nonverbal communication represents a significant part of our overall connection. It also prevents people from multitasking while attending remote meetings guaranteeing people leave meetings on the same page.

 

SET YOUR HOME OFFICE UP FOR SUCCESS

Everyone’s home office environment is different.  Make sure your team members have the resources needed for them to be successful. Normalize that background noise is part of life and we all have some mix of barking dogs, doorbells, neighbors, street sounds, and family members.

 

WELLNESS TAKES DISCIPLINE

Set up times to connect with your team unrelated to work. Virtual team happy hours or coffee dates are important.  Encourage your team to interact with each other and people from other projects or specialty areas recreating those in office “water cooler” moments. Knowledge sharing is essential for company wide engagement and keeps an online office vibe going through chat and email. 

Set up breaks. Make sure you set some time aside each day to get away from your computer and be a model for your team. Communicate when going for a walk around the block or running an errand to break up the day. 

 

BE HUMAN 

As a leader, you need to be a model of stability, reassurance and trust for your team. Especially now, with so much societal uncertainty, make sure you are present to listen, understand, assist, and support, not to fix or just reply. 

 

Whether you already embrace work from home in your organization or it’s your first time having a completely remote workforce, the good news is many organizations learn as they go. There will be wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but starting with the above is a good place.