Ask EmThePM – Part 2.

After my last blog where I answered a question publicly in a blog post. During this blog, I will be doing something similar.

“Dear Emily,

I’m wondering if you can help me. Like other Project Managers, I’m struggling with the adjustment of working from home and being located in a different location to my team. We seem to have resorted back to “Storming” part of team development and I really don’t know what I can do to quickly move us back to where we were. We do not how long this will go on for so I’m looking for some tips and advice.

Many thanks,

Jamie.”

Dear Jamie,

Thanks for emailing me and this is a really important topic for a lot of us at the moment. I think that it’s important to recognise that your team are also going through a massive change in how they are working and how they are able to be effective during this time. You do not mention how you are managing them differently in your email so are you looking at daily stand ups/ video calls to touch base? What have you done to change how your team are interacting? It might be worth having a team meeting to discuss how your team wants to work and what changes you can make to support them during this time. A few short snippits of advice:

  • Do not add meetings into your teams schedule to try and get the connection back.
  • Try to connect with each team member individually. This can be short meetings/ IMs etc. Aim to add value to both your days not burden.
  • Allow productivity to be key guiding factor
  • Foster the virtual relationship. Make sure everyone has a picture in their profile and uses video where appropriate.

On a longer time scale, I would work with the line managers of all of the team members to make sure that they have some training in their objectives which covers working virtually so that they can become more effective through their career and through this difficult process.

Another thing to consider is their set up. Are they working in an isolated area? Do they have the room to concentrate and work? or are they working in-between their children/other family members? Also, do they everything they need to be able to work? Have their got an additional monitor/keyboard? Or are they working on their tiny company issued laptop?

If you are looking for ideas for how to improve, I’ve included a list below:

Finally, this is a very unique period of time, so please be kind to yourself and your team for what is possible and feasible at the time.

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