No matter what industry you’re in, there is always that one time of year that’s referred to as “busy season.” Whether it’s filled with tons of meetings, conferences, heads-down work, traveling, or holidays, it can be challenging to stay connected with a remote team.
Even if you’re not actively interacting each day during “regular” season, there’s something about seeing that little green bubble next to your colleagues’ names that makes you feel more motivated and connected as a team. So how can you keep your remote team connected, motivated, and productive when the busy season is in full swing? We have a few suggestions:
Set clear expectations and goals.
This might go without saying, but you should always have clear expectations and goals set — especially during your busy season. Clarity for what’s expected helps alleviate frustration, confusion, and spin, allowing your team to focus on what needs to be done.
💡Here’s an idea: Use your Google Business Suite or Microsoft Sharepoint to create a workspace that is accessible to the entire team. That way, you can share updates, ask questions, and work together on projects when you’ve got the time, without constant pinging.
Communicate. Communicate. And communicate some more.
In today’s world, “going dark” isn’t acceptable when you’re on the clock. Set a calendar reminder for yourself to check in with your colleagues. Whether it’s a good morning message, a GIF in the Slack channel, or a quick text, it’s always good to let your teammates know you’re there.
💡Here’s an idea: If you use Slack, there are Apps that can automate check in prompts each morning, like polls, GIF responses, and more. Or you can simply create a poll in a Slack message.
Make sure you have adequate backup.
There’s nothing worse than sitting in a session at a conference with your phone or email notifications pinging. Though this may require some prep work, do your best to identify a backup teammate or manage expectations with key stakeholders to ensure important tasks are managed while you’re away.
💡Here’s an idea: If you use project management software, like Asana, there are plenty of ways to create a quick status report for your teammates and stakeholders to use. Be sure to identify a contact person for each project, and give those contacts a heads up if any crucial points in the project are coming up.
Do your best to connect via video or phone conference once a week.
There is something to be said about hearing someone’s voice or seeing their face. Most video conferencing systems have mobile apps, so even when you’re on the go, you can still “see” your coworkers. Schedule a walking meeting to check in and mix things up.
💡Here’s an idea: You don’t need a reason to meet. Schedule a once-a-week coworking hour. Everyone turns their cameras on and works together. Wild concept, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re answering emails, working on a project, or just in the mood to giggle, these “gatherings” can really boost team morale.
Unless you’re a heart surgeon, project timelines and teammate availability can (and will) shift. It may be easier said than done, but creating a culture of flexibility before the busy season begins can really pay off when things get crazy. Here at Eventective, we often talk about having a plan B for your event in case details need to shift. Those same recommendations and concepts apply here.
💡Here’s an idea: Build in time with your projects for flexibility. Just like telling your friend who is always late to arrive 15 minutes early, be ambitious with your due dates. It’s a win-win: if you hit the deadline, great! But if you have to push a deadline back, you’ll still have time to get the work done.
Take care of yourself and each other.
Busy season can take its toll. Lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise, and everything in between can cause tons of stress and kick your immune system to the curb. Encourage and support team members to take time to rest and relax.
💡Here’s an idea: There’s an app for that! Self care is a billion dollar business and takes many forms. Encourage your team members to download apps like Headspace or Calm, take a workout class, go to a movie, or simply take a nap. Let your colleagues do what they need to do to wind down.
Remote working can be challenging and isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips, implementing some of the suggested ideas, and using software and programs that can help you accomplish your goals, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your remote team connected during busy season.
Kadi McDonald is a freelance writer, marketing strategist, and proud Cleveland sports fan.