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Emily Rogers on Management: Greatest practices for main digital groups – Enterprise – Information Chief

It’s just as important to keep people involved and maintain a professional environment when working from home.

Now that many of you are adapting to working from home and virtually managing team members has become a necessary (and unexpected) fact of life, I’m offering some practical tips to lay the foundation for maintaining engaged, emotionally connected, and highly effective teams in a geographically diverse work environment.

I’ve worked from home for 20 years, both as president and chief growth officer of a marketing consulting firm that was headquartered 1,200 miles away and while I launched and grew my executive coaching and consulting business in Lakeland. Here’s what has worked for me, the far-flung teams I have led and the international clients I have served.

Schedule regular and consistent meetings. This will provide necessary structure, create a sense of normalcy, and keep team members engaged, informed and accountable. These may include daily huddles, update meetings and group collaboration.

Utilize a variety of communication platforms. Examples include video conference (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc.), instant message (e.g., WhatsApp, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc.), text, email or phone. Quickly train your team members on how to use new technology with tutorials, best practices and troubleshooting guides.

Prepare for efficient and effective virtual meetings by testing and troubleshooting your technology in advance and setting up the functionality you need to make video conference meetings productive and engaging (e.g., white boards, polling, document sharing, small group break outs, etc.).

When possible and appropriate, choose video conference over instant messaging and emails to keep everyone connected on a more personal level.

Utilize and share virtual meeting best practices to ensure your team gatherings are energizing and highly productive. These include:

• Ground rules to ensure everyone is present and engaged (e.g., turn on your camera during video conferences, avoid talking over each other by using the chat or hand raise functions when you have something to ask or add).

• A clear and structured meeting agenda (This is always a best practice).

• Pre-read materials so everyone comes prepared.

• Specified timeframes for topics and tasks.

• If meetings are longer than an hour, provide pre-determined breaks and longer breaks to re-energize.

• Put someone in charge of monitoring the time and getting meetings back on track when they get off track.

• Monitor the energy level of the group and make adjustments to the pace and approach as needed.

• Be creative by utilizing imagery, short videos, music, short physical exercises and mindfulness practices.

• Integrate playfulness and humor as appropriate.

• Ask for feedback about virtual meeting experiences and continually look for opportunities to improve them.

• As an ongoing practice (outside of scheduled meetings), communicate even more proactively and regularly to ensure clarity, alignment and accountability.

• When conflict emerges, resolve it via phone or video conference, not text, instant message or email.

• Keep an emotional pulse check on your people with regular one-on-one check-ins by phone or video conference that are people-focused not productivity-focused. Our country was suffering from a loneliness epidemic long before the coronavirus pandemic created the need to socially distance.

Create a professional work environment and encourage your team members to do the same.

• Design a dedicated and distraction-free workspace.

• Establish regular working hours and routines.

• Utilize workspace organization tools.

• Stock up on office supplies.

• Minimize clutter.

Maintain a professional image and presence by dressing for work and grooming as if you were going into the office. You will feel better and look better on video camera.

When you need to be offline for a period of time, let your team members know when you are checking out and when you will be checking back in. Our work and life are more blended (versus balanced) than ever before. No one should feel like they need to be tethered to their laptop.

Schedule virtual coffees, happy hours and lunches to sustain informal relations and to continue to build and strengthen your network.

Continue to acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, achievements, and successes. Continuing these workplace traditions will boost morale and reinforce what’s most important.

If this information is useful to you, please share it with your team members and others in your community who might find value in it. As we navigate this new way of working together during these uncertain times, we become stronger and stay more connected when we reach out and support each other.

This article was originally published on on March 21. Emily Rogers, Founder & CEO of Emily Rogers Consulting + Coaching, is a business consultant, executive coach, and retreat facilitator, she strategically advises and supports organizations and individuals in growing and realizing their full potential in purposeful and balanced ways. You can connect with her at

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