We do hope that you, your family and your people are well and staying safe during these unprecedented and uncertain times. As remote work is now a new reality for many of us and is sure to come with it’s own challenges but hopefully many successes too!
To help in easing this transition, we thought we could do our bit by sharing the top things we do to stay productive and aligned together as a team that has been remote working from day one.
We’re sparsely spread across the world from New Zealand to Pune to a number of States in the US, and yet we have a tight, productive, remote work culture. There’s been an awesome spirit of sharing and connecting over the last couple of weeks and as such we want to share with you some of what we have learnt in our journey and are still learning now. Hopefully it’ll stimulate you in sharing what you are also learning to create an explosion of positive innovation during a challenging time!
The JumpShift Team
|1. In times of unprecedented uncertainty I firstly make sure that I am grounded and present at all times. For me that means making sure I have connected with my immediate family, knowing they are OK and set for the day. This helps me to ensure the risk to them is minimised or I can mitigate any concerns I may have.|
I then set my plan for the day, what can I influence, how can I support my team the best.This helps me prioritise immediately and focus on things that are within my control.
2. As a leader doing remote work you have to develop and identify ways that you can connect in with your team regularly and be able to read the unsaid (or seen) need of the team. This is important as you don’t get the normal queues from meeting a person ie: looked stressed, flustered, angry, frustrated, tired, sad etc.
3. To keep positive and motivated I set small goals throughout the day – mainly around who I can influence / support, and how I can add the most value. I’m always thinking of how we can innovate and accelerate our ability to deal with unknown situations. This requires us to think of potential implications or outcomes and how we could plan contingencies – being prepared for likely outcomes helps us see them earlier and make informed and calm decisions when they happen.
|1. Clarify your work space and time. It will be difficult at first to merge both together when working from home. Set boundaries with a dedicated routine and workspace which will help make this transition easier for remote work. It’s also a great opportunity to up-skill, re-skill, write that book you’ve been meaning to get to or learn about social media! Re-purpose yourself.|
2. Swap out the work commute for exercise. Calculate on average how much time you save in travel time each day and allocate it to something you love doing or is a recharge time for you – a walk in nature, exercise, meditation, reading, family time are all great ways to boost your mental health. Check out this tool, manage your energy not your time.
|1. Over-communicate! Use texts, group chats, shared docs, whatever it takes. At JumpShift we use a shared Whatsapp group to check in daily and let each other know how we are feeling on a 1-10 scale. It helps us all see who needs support and who is quiet each day.|
2. Agree on a “remote work charter” with your team. This can include things like: core working hours, when people are expected to be online or available, how you need to be dressed for internal / external meetings or how you should communicate vacation or sick days. Holding a weekly “virtual social” from wherever people might be based, allows you all to socialise and stay connected. A virtual equivalent of sharing lunch or Friday drinks!
3. Build in breaks around your work. Your brain needs recovery time too. Think about the time you would spend moving between meetings or commuting – you can repurpose this time into making your life run more efficiently by building “recovery time” around your tasks. I use a 50+5+5 method – 50 mins work, 5 mins of movement/refilling water bottle and then 5 minutes to plan my next task.
|1. Play with what’s in front of you. It’s too easy to obsess over the future and try to plan for every eventuality. I’ve had to check myself into staying in the present, focusing on what matters most right now and what can I control. From this I’ve been rewarded with noticing beautiful moments that I’m grateful for with my family, co-workers and dogs. This really helps with resilience and a healthy mindset.|
2. Love human connection. This week I experienced the highest turnout we’ve seen in a while on our weekly call with the team. I was reminded again of the value in maintaining our team connection and that social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. It was less about work and more about how we are doing as people. We shared our ideas and thought about how we can help the world during this hard time. We even managed some humour. I really felt connected to people who were at home all around NZ. Take this time to learn more about your team and what they value most.
|Have a basic daily schedule to follow. Put an approximate time on activities with the kids and ask them what they’d like to do. Make the most of the opportunity to have quality family time. Make it fun. Without being morbid I like to pretend these are the last weeks I have with my family – it’s amazing how much you appreciate them and how much love you can feel.|
2. Keep each other in check. We found it was easy to have a short temper with kids after a few days so we have a code word we use when we hear our partner over reacting or being unreasonable. It’s a great way to remind us to be calm and kind and that we’re all in this together. Also give each other a break. Take turns to get out and walk around the block, clear your head.
3. We haven’t done this yet but intend to organise a virtual games night with friends. Find ways to connect socially and still have a laugh.
|In August 2018, we were luck to have Melissa Crawford as a guest speaker at the Leadership Action Network. Her message to us all was about the power of Kindness, especially in times of uncertainty. Kindness is something that we can give to others for free, and it benefits them, and us (the giver).|
It has huge power to lift people’s spirits and build a strong culture and community. Doing random acts of kindness can have a signifiant impact on your personal mental health. So take action and “Give some Kindness”. You can do this each day or each week to help others and yourself.