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Written by Carolina León – CEO and Cofounder of Managing Virtual Teams.
When I was invited to write this article, the first thing that came to my mind was how can I bring together useful information to the entire remote work community, offering them tools and recommendations they can implement in their daily teleworking lives.
However, it seemed like this was a perfect opportunity to take a break and skip the long and comprehensive list of guidelines and tips we usually share as a result of our extensive experience helping companies managing remote working teams.
To me, this was the time to reflect about the mental and emotional well-being of remote teams, especially during these times.
In fact, contrary to what many may think, this kind of reflection shouldn’t be done exclusively by human resources departments. Even if they’re usually the ones in charge of such processes.
This is a reality that any team leader or head of company should take into account and give it its due consideration.
These pandemic times caused drastic changes in our ways of interacting with each other. We had to adapt quickly and flexibly to this whole new reality, and the workplace was no exception to that.
Although technology solved one part of the issue, even those of us who were already working remotely for many years had to leave their comfort zone and face new challenges.
We are now facing a situation where companies, regardless of their industry, have been forced to move their work team fully or partially to a virtual model.
A lot of them were in fact already prepared for this new way of working, but others had unfortunately never even contemplated this possibility.
Making such a change in a hurry - or if you’d rather call it improvisation, may have indeed helped break many paradigms, but it has also created new issues that companies weren’t familiar with.
Those new challenges were definitely large in number, but so were the lessons they taught.
However, for many people, the efforts and energy they had to invest in this adaptation process brought with them high levels of stress due to several reasons.
The workload, the uncertainty of the current situation, not to mention the constant struggle of reconciling work and personal life, or even important health issues and loss of a close one, are just a few.
To varying degrees, the most common effects that were encountered during this pandemic year are:
There are no standardized rules that can be automatically applied to everyone.
However, it’s definitely possible to detect common effects that, if not properly treated, will eventually result in:
The first step is to take control of the situation by using strategies that will promote mental and emotional well-being and will help motivate your teleworking teams.
You have to be part of the solution and seriously assume the responsibility of taking care of the people who contribute every day to the achievement of the company’s outlined objectives.
Acknowledging the situation isn’t enough on its own.
What is crucial is to open communication channels to listen to your team members’ voices and make it possible for them to share and exchange experiences of how they’re handling the changes.
In the virtual world, there’s always a risk of relationships becoming cold. To prevent this from happening, you can rely on professional experts to facilitate spaces of support and active listening.
Moreover, these meetings’ inputs will later on serve as a navigation guide to create strategies that will meet the specific needs of your team.
Once the needs of your team are defined, it’s time to put in place customized organizational strategies that will allow you to start the journey of support and assistance to your work team.
There are several types of strategies, but the most important factor is that everything that is designed and implemented should go hand in hand with the organizational culture of the company.
Individual support will focus on people who may be going through difficult times or having a crisis and need a psychological counseling space.
Group sessions can be achieved through workshops or activities intended to improve the team’s wellbeing.
The best way to repay your team for their great effort is by providing solutions that will help view in retrospect not only everything that has been achieved, but also the great potential and resources they have deployed as individuals and as a team.
For remote workers, reconnecting and recharging their motivation and energy is necessary to face the new challenges ahead and assume their role in the companies with positivity.
Even if teleworking helped create new collaboration opportunities, we can’t overlook the fact that companies’ most valuable resources are the people.
This is why we should nurture our remote work team and energize them if we want the virtual environment to be a healthy and productive collaboration space.
An excellent way to do that is through workshops for remote teams, which are specially designed to help improve and maintain people’s mental and emotional well-being.
Now is a perfect time to recognize the efforts of your team, motivate them to continue on this journey of change and offer them experiences that will allow them to recognize and strengthen the great individual and collective potential you have as company.
Because the mental and emotional wellbeing of remote teams matter!
And you? How are you motivating your team?
Managing Virtual Teams is your resource for handling the human aspects of your remote team.
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