Katy Sherman

We live in scary times. While governments call for social distancing, it becomes more important than ever to stay connected as a community. For many of us the measures around COVID-19 mean we work from home and manage remote teams. While virtual teams are not unusual, today’s situation brings its own challenges. Today it is not only about being remote, it’s about facing fears. We fear for our jobs, our health, our families and friends.

How do we help each other stay productive and connected while we are worried and isolated?

This is what every leader should do to support their teams and help them get through the difficult times:

1) Make sure everybody has what they need to work remotely. Technology goes a long way in creating inclusive collaborative environment. Ask frequently, be prepared to act to resolve issues. Know how to navigate the company to obtain resources through management, HR, and Helpdesk.

2) Mentor team members on time management, especially people who are not used to work from home. Share expectations and establish norms of how to be available throughout the day, and when to go offline. While some people struggle with home environment being too distracting, others find it difficult to disengage at the end of the day and would stay at their desks until late. Give guidance based on the unique needs of each individual.

3) Get into a habit of checking in on people without agenda – have a coffee break together, chat about things not related to work, allow to unwind. Keep your finger on the pulse! Your team members can experience anxiety, be dealing with personal issues or worried about their communities. Some will need time off, or more flexibility than usual to provide child care, buy groceries during sporadic shortages, or take care of family members.

4) Simulate reality through video chats. Being on camera helps us stay focused, engaged in the conversation, as well as look and feel professionally. It also allows to read the non-verbals and better understand the vibe of the conversation. Turn your video on every time you’re in a meeting, this will encourage others to do the same.

5) Take care about yourself! Wash hands, sleep, exercise, go for a walk, drink water. Keep calm. Don’t spread frustration and panic. Remember, people are looking up to you, so lead by example.

I am sure we will get through this as a community. Lead the way and help others!

Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider

About the Author:

Katy is passionate about:

•Leadership and vision • Innovation, technical excellence and highest quality standards • Agility achieved through teamwork, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, TDD, CI/CD, DevOps and automation • Breaking silos and promoting collaboration of Development, Testing and Operations under cross-functional umbrella of Software Engineering • Diversity of personalities, experiences and opinions.

Things Katy does to spread the word:

•Speak at Technology conferences (including as an invited and key-note speaker) • Blog and participate in group discussions

•Collaborate with schools, universities and clubs • Empower girls and women, help them learn about Technology and become engineers