Many of us are working from home and adapting to the virtual realities of our professional lives. Meetings, trainings, conferences, and other events are now taking place in the virtual realm for people from many sectors and professions. Check out my list of 7 ways to help keep yourself and others more engaged during our new” virtual reality”.
1. Include them in planning and preparation
An easy and effective way to make your team feel included during virtual meetings and communications is to include them in the planning and preparation. Taking time to send out an agenda before a meeting and asking people for input or changes can make them feel included in the process and more invested in whatever is taking place and being planned.
2. Talk with people, not at them
Staring at a screen and trying to feel connected can be difficult. Make sure you aren’t just talking at people every time you’re having virtual communication with them. Allow opportunities for them to contribute, ask clarifying questions, or even take on leading portions of the meeting when possible.
3. Use the features that video conferencing applications provide
I’ve sat in so many virtual meetings where video conference features weren't being used to their full potential. Don’t be afraid to use the poll feature on Zoom or the breakout room feature to allow for your teams to have more intimate conversations with one another. It gives the meeting some variation and helps people to have some different things to look forward to.
4. Make sure people have clear and meaningful goals that they can work towards and invest in
Working virtually can feel very overwhelming to people. You must make sure that the goals and tasks assigned to people feel purposeful and clear. It’s much easier for people to invest in goals and outcomes they feel connected to them.
5. Build and maintain trust
I have seen a lot of people struggling with a new wave of micromanaging because of virtual working. Many managers think that employees have more time on their hands because they’re working from home. Now is the time to work on building a culture of trust with your staff and team members. Don’t assume that they are taking advantage of working from home and don’t assume that you can give them more work just because they are home.
6. Have fun when possible
Don’t forget the ice breakers and team builders. It is more important than ever before for people to have opportunities to socialize, build, and connect. Be very intentional and consistent with adding fun and social activities into work meetings or activities whenever possible.
7. Encourage and check in on health and wellness
I believe that this is the most important one on this list. CHECK ON PEOPLE. Everything cannot be business all the time right now. Your employees and colleagues are likely dealing with a lot and it’s important to check in with them and ensure that they’re doing ok and getting the support they need to get through each day, show up to work, and be the best that they can be.
There’s so much more than can be added to this list. The most important thing you can do to support employees and colleagues working virtually is to be supportive, be intentional, and be present. It can truly go a long way in helping to ensure that people feel like they have what they need to do their jobs and also get through all that’s going on in the world.