The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way many industries operate, and required a fast transition to this remote-working world that is new to many. Financial professionals, who generally spend a great deal of their time in face-to-face meetings, are now adapting to “face-to-screen” meetings. While this environment can be new and present some challenges, there are also great benefits to adapting to this new, technological world, and fun ways to keep connected with your team.
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind while navigating through a remote-work environment with your team:
1. Keep connected with your team
Communicating with your team may be more difficult while working remotely; however, there are still efficient ways to keep in contact while you and your colleagues work out of your home offices. Use email to keep your colleagues up-to-date. Carbon copy team members on email messages so they are all in the loop, real time, when it comes to client situations. This way, your entire team will be informed and ready to take action when it’s time to take the next steps.
Take advantage of the many platforms to meet and share video in this virtual world. Have both a morning and an afternoon web-based team call to recap conversations, talk about tomorrow, etc. This will keep everyone on the same page with the absence of being next door to each other in the office, and you may find it will spark some interesting conversations. Seeing team members in their own environment, at home, can be a bonding experience. You’ll find yourself discussing the different things everyone can see and hear in the background during a call, and it may help connect your internal team members on a more personal level.
2. Find creative ways to engage with your team – in a non-business setting
When you aren’t getting together in person for meetings and lunches, get creative! For example, implement a nacho Thursday or a team happy hour call. Make a meal together via video chat, or sip a favorite beverage and share the week’s highs and lows with the team. It will be something that your team will look forward to, and help to build your company’s culture and relationships.
Help your team separate from work, even when their personal and work life may both be in their living rooms. Try to put some “ground rules” in place for your team, such as texting them off hours for personal updates only, not business. That way, folks feel like they have a little bit of separation from the work day, and a friend who cares about them on their team.
3. Embrace a “next-generation team”
Use this time at home to think about the future, knowing that technology will only continue to be a bigger part of this industry, and many others. Offer routine trainings on the firm-approved meeting platforms, and provide updates to your colleagues when new features or versions are released. Ensure that you have colleagues in place who can help the team move to the next level of technology, within firm parameters.
Think about what will “stick” going forward, and work to perfect those elements with your team. The implementation of video chats has proven to be very effective, and most likely will not be going anywhere. Help your team become comfortable on these platforms, and use them for reviews, meetings, and ongoing discussions. The constant interaction of the team going forward will be non-negotiable. It will create a strong team bond and dynamic, and is worth holding onto.
Empower your team in this virtual world by connecting with them regularly and helping them become experts using these tools that will likely be a part of how we continue to communicate going forward. Total team engagement, work/life balance, and assembling a multi-generational team are what will help your team grow, especially during volatile times.
Julie Genjac is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC.
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