Continuous Improvement for Life

Rick Heyland leads the Continuous Improvement process to explore and discuss, share insights and success stories of individuals and companies that are making a difference personally and professionally.

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Recent Insight Posts

Working Remotely - Part 2

Apr 01, 2020

As most of the world now turns to remote working environments, the impact on business and health during this pandemic is massive. Our organization, RLG has successfully been working remotely for a number of years. We are here to help with tools and techniques possible for small and large businesses to be effective.

We have heard from our major industry clients as well as from smaller organizations of some of the hurdles they are facing in this new environment such as distractions and anxiety of the future that Covid-19 has brought. Before we get into our checklists on overcoming distraction, tips for conducting an effective remote all-day meeting and insights on dealing with the high volume of emails, here are a few quick start ideas. 

  1. Institute a regular Operating Rhythm with your team. Schedule a weekly check-in for 30 minutes, two-three times weekly for review.
  2. Begin each meeting with an icebreaker. Participants to provide one-word to capture their feeling of the moment.
    1. Depending on the level of anxiety felt by others with the one-word captures, organize a “Remote Stand-down” to further discuss and address the teams emotional state.

How to Overcome Distraction

  1. Minimize or turn off your internet news feed during working hours.
  2. Follow the Plan of the Day.  Control the inputs in your new environment, i.e. radio, television, etc.

How to Have an Effective All-Day Remote Meeting

  1. Make sure the video platform you are using on your computer is working, check sound and video.
  2. Expect that there may be issues along the way, technological or other, expect it and plan to move on.
  3. Brief check-in with each participant on the call. Have a name and a voice/face of each contributor.
  4. Ensure the outcomes are clear and agreed at the outset. If they are not clear adjust as necessary as you move into the call.  Frame the flow and time segment.
  5. Know the questions in advance. This helps to focus your attention and limit the sidetracks that can happen while working remotely.
  6. Summarize crisply. Is everyone in agreement and aligned?
  7. Incorporate small breaks.  Schedule 10- or 15-minute breaks every two hours.
  8. Reach out to silent participants to ensure engagement.
  9. Attend with Focused attention will help with the quality of input.
  10. Utilize software note-taking apps/programs such as One-Note which can be shared with meeting participants.
  11. Capture all agreements and actions at completion.

How to Handle the High Volume of Emails

  1. Can the email be replaced by IM (Instant Messaging)? Use for quick question and answers.
  2. Schedule the check-in time to address all issues in order to avoid the emails.
  3. Reconsider the cc or reply all. Exercise discipline there.
  4. Unsubscribe to any superfluous or junk emails.
  5. One touch email. Resolve any email at that moment if possible. Answer/Action.
  6. Send shorter emails.
  7. Batch emails. If one touch emails are not possible, batch them to respond at a specific time of the day.
  8. Consider empathy when composing emails during a heightened anxious time.

To listen to the full podcast on remote working part 2 for tips and insights on conducting an all-day remote meeting and dealing with distractions, listen here.