March 31st, 2020
During these strange, unprecedented times, working from home will become the new “norm” for many of us around the globe, however for my team of six it is already business as usual.
Granted, this period of lockdown will provide unchartered challenges for us such as home -schooling our children, daily care for more vulnerable members of our family and of course the same four walls 24/7.
However, I know that with my support and that of our direct team and wider community around us we can make this work and learn many valuable lessons along the way!
Already well versed in the challenges of motivating and connecting with a team working primarily from their own homes, I want to share my top tips for successful communication. This is an untried and untested way of working for many and so I want to reassure you that in fact this working model can be highly effective and efficient.
Encourage open channels of communication with your team: This means that nobody feels isolated and each member feels free to raise a question or an opinion openly to the group. We have a WhatsApp group for all team members and every morning congregate here to say “good morning” and discuss any issues/exciting things happening that day. We also have a weekly conference call to discuss sales and each member of the team has a chance to talk through what they are working on and ask for advice and ideas.
Agree a clear schedule and set priorities at the start of each week: I start the week by sending out my focus for the week ahead and anything key I would like my team to be aware of e.g. a new social competition or wholesale meeting. Each member of my team then sends me their weekly plan of tasks/priorities so that I am across what they are working on and can help them to prioritise and answer any initial questions and give advice or direction.
Regular updates and catch ups: I make sure to check in with each member of my team at different stages throughout the week to ensure that they are still on track and to discuss and give guidance on anything new that has cropped up.
Be aware of your team’s homelife and schedules: Especially in these difficult times it is extremely important to respect that we are all individuals and have different pressures and working hours. My team all work flexible hours and as long as they fulfil their role, I am happy for them to work their hours when it is convenient for them to do so. Some of my team are mothers and so I know not to contact them at tea time for instance, and personally I love to do a workout first thing in the morning, so my team know to avoid that time for me!
Do not lose those “water cooler” chats: Our WhatsApp group is a great social tool – we use this not only to communicate about work but also to share photos, memes and jokes. It is so important to have that element of fun and camaraderie amongst the team even when we are all separated by many miles between us!
I hope that in some small way these tips can help to make this enforced period of working from home as successful and as enjoyable as possible in these circumstances and maybe lead to more business choosing to utilise remote working in the future.
Carrie Elizabeth Dennahy launched her namesake brand at the end of 2015 after spending a decade working as a fashion and jewellery buyer for one of the UK’s leading retailers.
Carrie Elizabeth is a British Jewellery brand designed and based in London.