Keep Your Team Engaged & Productive From Afar - Part 1
Even if you love being a people manager, it has its challenges. Staying on top of your own to-do list, coaching and guiding your team and reporting up all while trying to preserve time to think and strategize can feel impossible some days. For many, the sudden move to everyone working from home is exacerbating those challenges.
As someone who has long embraced the consultant, work from anywhere lifestyle, I have learned a lot on what works and what doesn’t. Consulting has a global workforce baked in; one of my most favorite architects ever packed up his family and moved to Mexico. He’s successful because he understands the importance of communication, transparency, trust and technology.
In this blog series, I’ll lead you through ways to make the most of your Office 365 tools as a manager. Let’s start with the tool we login to everyday, Outlook.
Have everyone start blocking off work time on their calendar. We all need focus time; spending all day in meetings, responding to emails and instant messages as soon as they come in feels busy but is rarely productive, assuming your team isn’t a call center or support desk. Ask your team to consider their most important tasks and block time on their calendars to get it done.
Encourage everyone to share their calendars, not just the free/busy, but the names of their meetings. This simple act of transparency makes it easier for you to not only see what they’re working on but reduces the back and forth emails when trying to figure out how to schedule an important meeting.
First, assess all your current meetings:
Turn on the cameras. This one took me a long time to embrace but it truly increases engagement and understanding during conversations. In Teams, users can blur their background and soon can now select custom backgrounds.
Record your meetings. If you’re using Microsoft Teams, these recordings will automatically be stored in Stream and everyone in the meeting will have access. If you’re using Skype, be sure to upload recordings to Stream when meetings are over and don’t forget to share them with the team. Stream automatically adds transcription and can be replayed at 1.5x speed. A nice and quick way for those who missed the meeting to get caught up in no time.
Use a shared OneNote to take meeting notes. Save yourself and others from having to chase down notes after the fact or having one person in charge of emailing the notes out to everyone. Claim a space in a shared notebook and encourage your team to help create agendas for upcoming meetings.
The most important call out here: everyone should be storing their files in Office 365. Whether its OneDrive, SharePoint or Microsoft Teams, those documents need to be making it to your company’s cloud. If anyone is saving important files on their laptop, you’re running the risk of loss. Laptops die, get stolen, ransomware attacks have teeth and at the very least, your team will be doing rework.
That said, team and project documents should be in a shared location on SharePoint or Microsoft Teams. Many of us get self-conscious about posting work in progress documents but that’s not a valid reason to avoid it. People get sick, leave suddenly to care for loved ones, win the lottery, etc. If those documents are not in a shared location, it will take longer to recover from their departure.
Storing files in Office 365 also provides a ton of useful features:
In future blogs, we’ll also look at task management, employee engagement and keeping your team’s skills current in this everchanging digital landscape.
If you haven’t already, check out our free database of Office 365 webinars.
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