Leading a Team Through Seismic Change
02 Apr 2020 .
As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, employees have been displaced from their traditional office locations to work remotely in an effort to practice social distancing. For some, this is a new way of working. For others, it’s an adjustment working from home alongside partners, children, and housemates.
Adjusting to Change
As manager of Pontoon’s
Krakow Customer hub, I have daily responsibility for over 100 people. Our daily
interactions in the office, whether a catch up over a coffee or more formal team
meetings all make up valuable pieces of a people management process.
But “office life” as
we know it has changed for the time being and we can no longer rely on all the
previously known comforts of normal work life that we unknowingly took for
We now find ourselves
embarking on a change management process to adjust to this new situation. In
doing so, here are some of the things I have found most helpful when
transitioning to managing people remotely:
huddles – as a business we use PERFORM methodology and hold short meetings every
day to talk about our mood, performance, and plans for the day. My team has
found it beneficial to continue these huddles remotely via use video chat. The
outcome is strong and consistent communication among my team which keeps morale
high, regular updates on each team members’ individual progress and the bonus
of showing off each person’s home work spaces.
- Use online
document repositories – this is a central place where everyone can view and
edit documents keeps everyone informed and updated and cuts down on the amount
of email traffic. This enables our team to collaborate in real time even though
we are geographically dispersed.
- Keep your
virtual door open – an email feels more invasive to somebody’s time than
grabbing them with a question at the water cooler. In a remote working environment,
some team members might hold back with questions or not ask for help. I make
sure I’m always available for my team via email, chat or video should they need
me, and we make sure to connect regularly both in groups and to individuals.
events – Create your own coffee and lunch breaks and even after work drinks with
a video chat tool. These help with team bonding and allows more casual
conversations to let off steam during uncertain times.
about great work – it’s difficult acknowledge collaboration when working
remotely as team work is not as immediately visible. We use an online
recognition program to reward team members helping keep the environment
- Empathise – everyone is
adapting. I have been in lock down with my husband and a 3 year old for three weeks
as many others have been as well and I’m the first to say it has been tough.
Sharing about our experience has been a great outlet for my team and I, even if
my toddler sits in on video calls. We can shows each other that we’re all human
and doing the best we can.
I am proud to work for an organization that has been agile and quick in
the response this crisis and proud to have a team people around me who have
adapted to the situation brilliantly, not letting this challenge affect productivity
or team spirit.