The Trick to Improving Remote Working? Be More Human
As our first weeks of remote work come to a close, many of us are reflecting upon recent days and our new realities in this global upheaval. For many, it may feel like the insurgents (i.e. kids and pets etc) are plotting to overthrow the household, and a new way of living and working under one roof is slowly being realized. This new normal is no better captured than by tweets from parents who began juggling homeschooling and working from home this week.
While it's easy to fall into the reactionary mode of “OMG, what are we doing here!”, we at Liminal Collective believe there can be an upside to this precarious situation. In fact, focusing on the opportunity of this moment can actually reveal some great hidden strengths for both you and your teams. Even if “hidden strengths” feels like a stretch to believe in right now, this new reality is a great opportunity for leaders to intentionally focus on fostering quality connections and to reinforce or renew a team culture that emphasizes our own humanity in spite of physical isolation.
While you may be feeling overwhelmed, lonely, disconnected and unsure if you can make it through the coming weeks, you can find solace in not being alone. In fact, the data on remote work shows these are all totally normal reactions (learn move via the study here). Indeed, these emotions are all incredibly natural responses to this rapid change. In the face of these emotions, you may be wondering - what can I do to move forward? And if you’re a leader, you may be asking - how can I accelerate my team’s ability to thrive with this new way of working?
For many years, our team at Liminal Collective has been studying and implementing strategies to help teams optimize their performance. We have particularly enjoyed the challenge of gaining insights from, and supporting, remote teams working in highly unpredictable and uncertain environments. From this work, we’ve learned that the main priority for all remote leaders is to ensure that the human connections within your team remain front and center. Focusing on reconnecting on a very human level is the foundation for effective, clear communication, which is more critical than ever when maintaining a successful remote team experience.
Like all leaders and teams new to working remotely in highly uncertain environments, you’re likely seeking ways to accelerate yourself along the path to effective communication and teaming. You may be surprised to learn that the answer to this problem is much simpler than most people imagine - the foundational requirement is simply enabling your humans to be more of what they already are...human. In order to do so, very basic tools are often sufficient to understand the needs and motivations of the humans on your remote team and to build deeper connections to the people you work with.
For this, we’ve developed a quick exercise for opening up conversations and emphasizing the human in remote teams. Our exercise, the Remote User Manual, includes the following powerful questions:
- What is the best way to communicate with you while working remotely?
- Do you have any pet peeves for others working remotely?
- How can people get a “gold star” from you while working remotely?
To quickly improve your remote working life, we recommend answering these questions - inspired by David Politis - and sharing them with your team. You can download our Remote User Manual exercise here, as well as find a link to our full, extended User Manual here for teams that may be useful in the future.
We hope this quick exercise helps next week feel a bit better than the last, and we’ll continue to share actionable tips and tricks in the coming weeks to accelerate the performance of your remote team.
As you try out the Remote User Manual with your team, let us know in our LinkedIn comments how it’s working for you. We ask that you also share other tools you’re using, as well as feedback on what your team needs most during these times. What challenges are you facing that the Liminal Collective team can support next week? Be sure to drop a quick note to let us know.
Don’t forget, we’re all in this together!