Keeping your TEAM engaged when isolation creeps in
Only 4 weeks into virtual team transitions due to Coronavirus COVID-19 and I am already receiving feedback. The most frequent complaint I hear from remote workers is they feel isolated. Remote workers feel as though they are somehow less important than their co-located team member. They feel as though their needs are not being met as expeditiously as possible because they cannot just knock on their managers door and quickly ask a question.
I have personally worked in a remote/virtual office for 16 years. I completely understand the feeling of isolation. It is basic human nature to want to be connected to our tribe. (Read this article from Buffer discussing loneliness as it relates to remote and virtual teams.)
Your Virtual Workforce
The first step in combating loneliness and feelings of isolation is to set your team up for success. Ensure each team member has access to a web cam. Most computers come equipped with an internal camera. However, if you can budget for external cameras it is an investment you will not regret. Here is a mid-range webcam I recommend Logitech C920S
There are so many webcams to choose from. You will find a product that suits your needs. You may have to try a few before you find one that meets your unique needs.
There is one more product I recommend you try. It is typically called a computer rearview mirror. Inside offices and cubicles many people use these as an alert system when someone is approaching from behind. However, in the case of virtual teams I integrate these mirrors into a program we call “Smile Back at You.” This training module is typically about 30 minutes and speaks to the psychological effects of having a mirror in your work environment.
Mirrors can help reflect light, add ambiance to your workspace and provide the illusion there is another human being in the room with you! Also, as you are talking with clients, giving presentations, managing meetings, etc. you can keep an eye on yourself. Often, we hold stress in our faces that we aren’t even aware of until we see ourselves in the mirror. Besides, practicing a presentation in the mirror is one of the oldest recommendations in the book. Take a look at this mirror that I am currently testing with my MacBook Pro.
If you are leading a team through a transition from being a co-located team to exclusively virtual, start by focusing on being a very good listener.. Listening intently to a team member will ensure the psychological safety necessary to create a bond of trust. You can also easily schedule 1:1 sessions and many other meeting types just as you would host in person.
Learning to adapt your in-person skills to the virtual environment is key!
I love some of the ideas contained in this blog post by @zoomvideo.us These are all amazing suggestions as most of the globe will be tasked to transition to the virtual environment.
If you need help transitioning your team to the virtual environment, please reach out to info@everythingwebinar to schedule a FREE Needs Assessment to further explore your training options, or follow us at:
We have been helping teams through this process for 16 years and we are here to support you!