Remember the days of being in the same room as your team?
Most of the world has been remote for a long time. But I’ve heard rumblings that some people are heading back to the office…and some aren’t.
While I don’t bring this up to comment on the state of the world in the coming months, I do want to talk about the difficulties managing a team that’s only partially remote.
One particular time sticks in my head. I was on a conference call with my Core Team. Usually, I was in the room and could keep the meeting on track. But this time I was one of the team members who dialed in, while others were in the office.
WOW. That was one tough meeting.
I felt like I was “on mute” the whole time – I couldn’t get a word in without someone talking over me! It was as if the people in the room felt like they were the only people involved in the project – those on the phone were on the outside looking in.
As the leader, I struggled to communicate with the folks in the room. It was a really big reminder of how my remote team members feel whenever I held a meeting from the main office.
The reality moving forward may be a partially remote team. That’s so much more difficult than everyone remote!
So what’s the solution? How can we make sure everyone feels involved?
One way is what I call “All On or All In”.
That means, if everyone isn’t in the room, everyone dials in from their desk. I realize that “all on” can be challenging, as some people work next door to each other in the office.
But there are ways to handle that. The most obvious is to use headphones so you don’t hear audio from the cubicle next door.
What it does not mean is “cheating” and having 3 people in a conference room looking at 1 person’s projection on the wall.
Make it a level playing ground. If no one can have a sidebar conversation, the whole team feels included. And that makes team bonding a whole lot easier.
Stay safe, stay healthy – and lead on!