Effective team communication is always important, but it’s now imperative as people are required to work from home. The move to virtual working has appeal and feels like a simple answer to a complex problem. However, physical isolation can lead to a “hunker down” mentality, which, if not managed carefully, has unintended consequences and can lead to decreased resilience.
As Shelley Winter, Director, Global Head of Thought Leadership & Solution Design at YSC, explains in the article she wrote for TLNT.com, humans are social creatures, so many of our resilience resources have a social element. Thus, working and living in isolation creates unintended consequences for our resilience reserves. Here are five practical and proactive strategies HR leaders and executives can employ to maintain resilience and foster high-performing teams during social distancing:
- Support: Leaders using increased virtual means to manage teams can best support their people by re-creating quick conversations virtually. These may be five-minute check-in calls or a direct message on Teams or Slack. It sounds simple, but the small connections accumulate and help employees feel supported.
- Confidence: At this time of volatility, leaders need to increase positive feedback and assurances to their people. In virtual interactions, pause to recognize small milestones and individuals’ contributions to team objectives.
- Striving: Business coaching conversations will become even more important during social distancing and remote work to help people identify solutions when they feel overcome by the challenges they’re facing or the uncertainty they need to navigate.
- Recovery: Leaders should help their people think through the small physical and mental breaks they benefit from throughout the day in an office setting: refilling their water bottle, chatting with co-workers in the elevator. These incidental opportunities help people stay active and take breaks while connecting with others.
- Adapting: The pandemic presents a reason to change our assumptions and re-consider how we’re working with customers, suppliers and other partners. It’s likely we’ll look back on this time as one that led creative thinking and new ways of tackling business challenges. Leaders can foster this culturally agile mindset in their people by encouraging them to use the challenges to create new opportunities.