Responding well in unprecedented times, sustaining well-being
By Catherine Hamilton and Karen Tidsall
Being thrown into leading a remote team whilst still managing yourself is bound to create some tensions and frustrations. Structure, sense of community and attending to own and others’ needs are always important and even more so now.
- Structure comes from having in place clear goals, measures and timescales, and then motivating staff to establish an ‘at home’ working routine. Basic things like getting up at the same time, working in set blocks of time, gaining co-operation and understanding from other family members and taking regular breaks. Team members used to home working can support those new to it. An online sharing of what’s working well and how colleagues are handling frustrations and challenges can be very helpful.
- Sense of community in the virtual world grows through us all being open, transparent, willing to listen and making time for each other and making use of all the wonderful technology such as Zoom, Face time and Teams etc.– seeing each other’s faces is now so much more important. Leaders and managers are pivotal in sustaining a sense of community and regular check-ins with staff, even for five minutes, can make all the difference. If nothing else, this situation is a powerful reminder that we are all connected and interdependent, and an urgent call for us to show compassion and care to ourselves and others.
Leaders need to act as the conduit between new business demands and ways of working and making sense of these for their teams and caring for individuals. It’s business as normal by creating the new normal.
3. Attending to own and others’ needs – We all know the theory with regards to attending to our own and others’ needs and, in these current circumstances, sustaining our wellbeing has never been more important. So, check-in with yourself and your teams on regular basis and share tips and ideas with regards to care of self and others. Be sure to cover all bases: exercise, a balanced diet, enough social contact, allowing time to rest and replenish our systems and resist the temptation to fall into stressful working patterns, such as with back to back Zoom meetings!
In Summary – Drivers of team well-being
- The work: Organise the work to drive high performance across the team. Actively manage workload and resourcing, tap into the team’s strengths and foster a sense of purpose.
- Communication and Involvement: Make communication work for the team. Give everyone a voice, make sure they’re heard and use communication channels in ways that support team wellbeing.
- Relationships: Foster the team’s social energy by building great relationships and a strong culture. Connect with each other, show empathy, include everyone, be positive and have fun.
- Day to day experience: Make sure everyone in the team optimises their energy every day. Support each other to take breaks, be active, eat healthily and work flexibly – So you can all perform at your best.
- Personal Growth: Foster your team’s well-being through learning. Create opportunities for everyone to actively learn on the job and respect training commitments.
- Recognition and appreciation: Recognition and appreciation top up the team’s social energy. Give regular constructive and spontaneous feedback, celebrate success and say ‘thank you’.
- Leadership behaviours: Make your actions count! Give explicit support for well-being and behave in ways that promote well-being.
Leadership during uncertainty