Working from home can be challenging.
No one was prepared for the changes in our routines that the Coronavirus caused. My new manager did the next best thing. He moved faster than others in getting us ready for what is now the “new normal.” My office has been working effectively from home for two months now. We are part of a larger government entity that is part of the national defense department. From the seat of the new guy in the office, here’s what I saw.
The most important thing my manager did was:
(1) assign us tasks that we could effectively accomplish remotely. To do this as a manager you must know the jobs, responsibility and potential of your team.
(2) prepared for the confusion that was to come. He did not wait to be told by his managers how to take care of his team.
(3) revised our processes.
(4) made rituals.
As the newest member of our team, he prompted me to take training on the security ramifications of working outside the office. He found out the right equipment I would need to connect with the team. He identified what we were going to need, what was expected from his managers, and filled in the gaps. There were a bunch of tools available and as security concerns came up he paid close attention to the best practices.
“Through effective listening during senior staff meetings, while watching national and local news on the hour, I leaned on my 30-plus years of experience and quickly determined that I needed to set my team up to successfully work from home,” said Ron Young. “Our team could not have been successful without each member quickly buying in to the process as it evolved.”
He solicited frequent feedback from our team about how things are going and what we could do to better enable our processes. He set clear objectives and emphasized why we were going in this direction. He assigned responsibilities based on the strengths of the team.
But wait there is more.
Early on he established and maintained trust and accountability with us. We have our own remote, short “stand-up” meetings a couple of times a week.
We are required to check in on the hour. Even if in my case, the new guy that doesn’t know all the ends and out of the office, checks in with the team with one of my “dumb jokes.”
“Our success is due to the outstanding professionals on the team,” Young said. “It might take a few months after we return to the office for the ‘new guy’ to fully understand how he helped the long-serving members of the team. Without much time to get to know us personally while in the office, once he began working from home he relied on his interpersonal strengths by using humor throughout the day, while reminding us to stay focused on our families well-being and to not forget how the world is affected by the virus.”
In the government environment there is often a requirement to handle classified information that cannot be done remotely. He established a team to go into our old workspace to do the necessary tasks on a fair schedule. While some things are time sensitive, he is managing that by personally attending to what is required.
“Decisiveness is the one word that makes a good manager.” – Lee Iacocca
Here are the five things you can do if you are a manager.
- Prepare your Team
- Find and Use the right tools
- Set clear objectives
- Maintain trust and communication
I hope you are staying healthy and safe during this season of uncertainty. If you are working from home help your office mates with whatever is missing. Be whatever your team needs to succeed. We can make it.Check out these podcast: Black Man With A Gun Show , Speak Life church , and Indian Motorcycle radio The Books, Kenn has written.