How to stay connected with your team during the lockdown?

healthy remote work

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For 2 months, people around the world have to sit in their houses as a part of social isolation and flattening the curve. During the global lockdown, people can’t go outside in another situation than shopping or necessities like a visit to the pharmacy or walk with a dog. Within a few days, we had to find ourselves in a new reality and organize work by new guidelines. That means also working with a team, meetings, and typical stuff.

So, how to deal with lockdown and still keep the work on the high level as before the quarantine?

Of course, it’s hard to do. We can’t contact our team personally, but only via Skype, Zoom or mobile phone. We can’t meet on daily or weekly meetings which are necessary to run Sprint correctly. So how to change the typical Sprint and meetings into a lockdown version? If some teams already have an occasion to work remotely, the task is easier. It’s even easier if you work together for some time and know each other, know how to work together and how to communicate effectively remotely. But the situation is quite different and quite worse if you have a new team or a new project. But don’t worry, you can also quickly become a master in that field. 

Scrum in out of office

How it keeps everything fine when the whole world is in a crisis of pandemic and global panic?

It’s quite sure that the effectiveness of your team will drop down, and everything will go slower than usual. People will have to take care of children, prepare some food or drinks, talk with flatmates and sometimes go out on a walk to not go crazy. Unnecessary pressure, questions, and a lot of stress won’t help them during working in those hard times. But try to not make the situation worse than it is. Rather than, help your teammates, ask them how they feel and if they need something. Anyway, try to not change anything as it’s a horrible time for such things:

  1. Keep the Sprint flow in the same way as it was. Organize daily meetings at the same time every day. Ask participants about the preferred time and form of a call (audio or video conference). You can even launch a group on Skype or Zoom to create an illusion of being in a room with colleagues. You may feel the opportunity to contact them at any time. Between daily meetings, still contact with the team and inform them about some problems or things you can’t do, so others could adapt to a new situation. 
  2. Organize visual meetings, chats, webinars to create any kind of communication between employees. Encourage them to create any kind of communication. Try just to talk with each other, get know better teammates and chill out from work. If they make a bond it will be easier for them to stay positive and support each other. And it will be easier for you to manage a united team where everybody knows their value.
  3. Even if you stay and work at home set up for yourself a routine for your own sanity. That means determining working hours from 9 am to 5 pm. After every 30 minutes walking for 5 minutes, doing stretching or some exercises. Make for yourself two bigger breaks to eat something. Of course, you should not eat in front of the computer and to chill a little bit. Go to the garden or balcony and breath the fresh air, calm your mind and think about positives. 
  4. Try to show humanity and give some extra time to bigger meetings which have normally strict hours (like Plannings, Review, Retrospection). Extra time will be spent on lags communication, breaks in audio or video or problems with an internet connection. You will never know what may happen so better be prepared for unexpected situations. Of course, you can stay with old hours but it’s harder to communicate via video/audio conference than face to face and if something happens you will be out of time.
  5. Help others more than usual and just be kind and helpful. Some people can better than others adjust to the new situation and that’s normal. Everybody is different and its reaction to situation changes. You may decide to leeway some of rules. Ask teammates to inform others when they couldn’t be available in working hours. So everybody knows what’s going on and feels more stable. Also, have in your mind that some may feel more stressed and due to that act more aggressive or impulsive. So just be kind and avoid rows.

Be human, be kind, be available…

Morals of your nonprofit organization are now more important than ever. People like and need interactions with other human beings. So pay more attention to connecting with teammates to built morals. Also, that action allows you to think about something different than work and problems, which is nowadays the hot topic. Probably you wonder how to provide some positive thinking into your team and unite them during a lockdown? Solution for this may be organizing online video chats with games like wordplays. Because who don’t like puns and seeing others making strange poses. If your team wouldn’t like to play virtual games (there is a lot of ideas on the Internet) you can just talk with each other, share news from life/local community and maybe discover teammates’ hobbies.

These easy rules aren’t big discovery for many experienced Scrum Masters and Team Leaders. But I know that many people may not remember about the most obvious things under stress. Also, in some organizations, they won’t work because of its culture and type of work. And again everything is alright, just adopt this advice to you or think about other similar solutions. 

Maybe you have some ideas about how to not be crazy and still be the team in virtual reality. I’m curious how work goes in your organization.

If you need more tips on how to improve your work or manage your team remotely you can look here.

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