By Janel Maysonet, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
When I became a manager, I knew I would face challenges. I never, however, anticipated that one of them would be managing a remote team during an unprecedented time of uncertainty – a global pandemic.
Who could’ve seen that one coming?
Almost overnight, I was charged with not only managing my work responsibilities at home, but also handling the needs of my family. That included one of my most important responsibilities – the learning of my 7-year-old son, Frankie.
With that, I wasn’t alone.
Members of my team and managers and employees around the country have had to adapt to a changing world; one where children are learning at home and normal routines and boundaries have been pitched out the window.
In order to be successful for my team and my family, I needed to have a plan, which included taking these five important steps:
- Scheduling one-on-one time with employees. When working from home, employees may feel that their work isn’t important or appreciated. Establishing regular one-on-one meetings with each member of my staff has helped overcome this challenge. These meetings provide the perfect opportunity for team members to openly discuss their work and their challenges and successes.
- Being flexible. Balancing work and home life during this time can be extraordinarily difficult, especially if you have to manage a child’s learning and schedule. Giving employees the flexibility to work on their own schedules can make things easier. I also try to schedule meetings at convenient times, such as when school is over for the day.
- Having accountability checks. Every week, we have a meeting where all members of the team (including me) are asked to provide updates on their assignments and action items. It’s also the perfect opportunity for me to share updates on what’s happening with the bank and respond to questions and concerns team members may have.
- Making time for bonding. Without in-office “watercooler chats,” working at home can feel isolating. To help with that, every week we hold a team bonding meeting with no agenda. Team members can discuss what’s happening in their lives and invite their dogs and kids. There’s something very personal about having a meeting from your home, so we get to know each other beyond the work environment, which has brought us closer.
- Using technology. Recently, Avidia leveraged technology to continue our long-standing tradition of Employee Spirit Week. Using the Tint platform, employees were encouraged to post pictures of themselves and their families and our President and CEO Mark O’Connell shared a video message. It was one of our most successful events even before the pandemic, giving us a chance to see other and come together.
There’s no question that the pandemic has been a difficult time in all aspects of our lives. But, with some planning and collaboration, managers can use this time to develop stronger, more personal connections with team members. It’s worked for me. #pandemicwinning