Splendid Isolation – The number two tip for remote working around Coronavirus

Agile Course

Let’s get specific on communication.  If you are a manager of a remote working team there are three communication priorities that you need to consider every week.  These three topics are born out of real world research into effective remote working and have their source in three problems that can occur when digital nomading. 

Every week you need to be asking yourself who do I say what to, under each of these three headings:

Priority 1: Issues and risks for escalation.

Remote workers need a higher level of support when it comes to dealing with the tricky things.  In the office people will ask, check, seek out advise from others.  In the remote world there is a small but significant in the moment barrier to doing that, which means there is more chance they will ‘just go with what they think’.  This can lead to unhelpful decisions as well as an increased sense of anxiety for the isolated individual.  As a manager you must facilitate the opportunity to raise issues and risks into the dialogue so that they can be discussed in a supportive way.  

Priority 2: Focusing objectives and sequence of events.

The second thing you need to communicate on a weekly basis counters the potential for people to become less focused when remote working.  Managers need to step up the clarity of expectations.  What is this weeks focus and what is the sequence of events that will get us there.  Spelling this out ensures that your team stay on track and expend their energies in the collective right direction.  This needs to be clearer than intact team working and will need your coordination to ensure everyone is progressing in the right direction.  

Priority 3: Motivational and developmental feedback

The final weekly communication priority is to deal with the performance management conversations around your team.  These will be both motivational and developmental conversations.  Every week you must decide who you need to say what to; that is praising them in the excellent work they are doing; encouraging them in the good work they are doing; and supporting them in the work they are finding more difficult to deliver. Remember remote workers lose almost all of the social learning that goes on in the office.  That means that you have to be on point to encourage the great stuff and help with the not so great stuff that they are doing.  

Make this a Monday morning priority, I would recommend you put it in your diary, pick up the phone or video conferencing and work through these there priorities every single week.  

Bob Bannister

Ships Captain