10 ways to stay on top of your business game during Corona

Maryama W. Marong
Mar 12 · 4 min read

Social distancing seems to become the new normal, as the WHO has declared we’re in an official pandemic. This, however, does not mean that everything — including our work or business — has to stop. Here are 10 things you can do to stay on top of your game together with your team, whilst working from home.

  1. When it comes to working agile or remotely for that matter, we often talk about the old vs. new ways of working. Some people have a hard time trusting that ‘the work’ will be done. They might think that a team member will swap an analysis for an episode or two on Netflix. Not the case when you focus on the end goal and the output. So, provide or -even better- co-create a clear vision and team goal contained in a set timeframe or horizon.
  2. Introduce the daily stand-up. The daily stand-up is used in agile organizations to provide transparency on what everyone’s up to. Everyone participating can answer questions similar to:
    - What did I work on yesterday? (reflect)
    - What am I going to do/finish today? (envision)
    - Which obstacles to do my work successfully have I occured? (analysis)
    - I need help with X (support)
    Best to make one person responsible for time management. Depending on the team size, these meetings shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes.
  3. Invest in video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype for business. A lot of communication (let alone focus) can get lost through text messaging, whether it’s email, messaging or text. Calling is way more efficient than sending messages back and forth. Additionally, the ability to see one another ensures that communication is almost as good as in real life: body language is a real thing! Also, it’ll make you feel less ‘quarantined’.
  4. Create — if you haven’t already- an online noticeboard or environment to keep track of the work. Similar to a Backlog or Scrumboard, you can create an overview of all tasks ‘to be done’, ‘in progress’, and ‘done’. This way engagement and commitment to your shared (project) goal are kept alive. *If you haven’t created a shared goal yet, now is the time to do so!
  5. Rhythm! No, we’re not talking about dancing here. Rather, about structure. Having meetings on a regular basis is healthy for the team, in turn for your business. Now, that there are no short and informal coffee corner catch-ups, it’s important to keep up the pace in terms of getting all ducks in a row. Again, transparency..we cannot stress this enough.
  6. Still afraid of lack of commitment or engagement? Talk to each other! Especially if you’re in a leading role or position; express and address the vital importance of someone’s role and tasks individually and as a team. If you haven’t discovered the benefits of positive feedback on development and performance, now might be the time to start your experiment.
  7. Talking about feedback. Communication is of the utmost importance. As a team you could create rules of engagement: how would we like to communicate with each other? It’s been noted that some people get slight anxiety from buzzing WhatsApp groups or e-mail inboxes overflowing with new messages. Establish when:
    - To call
    - To text
    - To email
    And, make use of a transparent online environment like Slack, Twist or Mattermost.
  8. Just because your team (or a part of it) is now working remotely and doing so self-organizing, it’s not necessary to let go of common courtesy. Obviously, some team members will enjoy working in the evening (as well) which is ok. But it’s safe to say that for everyone’s health, you could discuss that it is not necessary to immediately react to an email sent around 11PM.
  9. Nothing works without adding the magic ingredient called ‘trust’. Trust that you can do this, trust that your team can do it, and trust that people can hold themselves accountable. In the end of the day, we’re in this together, and we have to get out better together as well.
  10. Self-motivation can be a challenge. Especially when it’s your team and colleagues who make your job worth it or fun. Self-motivation is so important as it is the primary means to progress. How to do it? Celebrate small wins and acknowledge your own progress. To create a ripple effect: support, assist (where you can) and motivate others.

Transparency, communication and trust are key in successful collaborations, whether it’s remote or not. Following the wise words of Khalil Gibran, we cannot stress enough the importance of open communication and constructive feedback in the process: “Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.”

Want to learn how you can embrace change or how your team can become more agile? Drop us a line at hello@bendandstretch.co

Maryama W. Marong

Written by

Maryama is the founder of Bend & Stretch, an Amsterdam based agency specializing in strategy and innovation. Maryama specializes in Design Thinking and Agile.

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