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7 tips for keeping your remote working team safe and engaged

7 tips for keeping your remote working team safe and engaged

What does ‘work’ look like for you and your team in this current situation?

If your team is working remotely, there may be a lack of certainty about when we may all be able to return to work as we knew it, and when we do, what will it be like?  Even over conferencing platforms like Zoom or WebEx, chances are the face-to-face natural social interactions you’d share in the workplace have dramatically diminished over the past few months.

At the same time, there may be a change in domestic dynamics – perhaps both you and your partner are working from home using technology, you may have children still in the home which presents its own challenges. Plus many are on reduced hours and are trying to do more with less time.

As a leader, you also worry about looking after your peoples’ wellbeing, output and results while dealing with your own situation. We all have different levels of resilience, different needs for social interaction, different needs for the amount of feedback and interaction with our leaders.

The effect can be, to say the least, psychologically stressing on everyone.

Yet work needs to go on. How do you do this?

Firstly as a leader, identify what your needs are at this time.
How does being naturally introverted or extroverted impact you in this situation and under what conditions do you do your best work? Are you missing the hum of the office or are you happy working squirrelled away from your remote location?

These factors will likely influence your leadership response and accessibility at this time.

What we do know, however, is that under our obligations under the WHS/OHS Acts, Regulations and Codes of Practice such as Communication and Consultation and Risk Management – leaders in organisations need to demonstrate Duty of Care.

Here are 7 tips for keeping your people safe and engaged while working remotely

1.Ensure your people are safe wherever they are working
Employers’ duties extend to workers who work from home or remotely, and must take steps to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers.  Comcare has developed a Working From Home Checklist for employers and workers with guidance and measures on how they can meet their respective work health and safety obligations.

Download the Working From Home Checklist here >>.

2. Give people space
Acknowledge that work is different in many aspects when working remotely. This is the time to assess people on their output, not the clock, and short of installing surveillance cameras in everyone’s home, leaders have to trust people. A study from the Society for Human Resource Management found 77% of workers reported greater productivity while working offsite; 30% said they accomplished more in less time and 24 % said they accomplished more in the same amount of time.

Encourage your people to use outdoor spaces where possible when they take breaks from their computer and try to incorporate some exercise or other activity as part of their working day.

Trust people to do the right things, even though their days might be a mash-up of stop-start-stop-start-stop-stop-start, most people are bending over backwards to do a great job from home.

3.Create community – The Virtual Water Cooler
Create an open room in an online meeting tool like Zoom, WebEX, Skype or Microsoft Teams, and give your team the meeting code so they can join from wherever they are.
Set a time in the workday that works for everyone, say a morning coffee break, afternoon tea or end of the week “wine time” (or “whine time”) where people drop into the online meeting and can see each other and talk about non-work related things. Being able to see one another makes a difference. This is not a work meeting, it’s an essential mental health break.

4. Communicate and tell it straight
Create a weekly “News from the Trenches” via email, video or Facebook live (to a private group of your people, if it’s appropriate for your workplace) –– that outlines how the organisation is going – any initiatives, new clients/opportunities – feedback from clients and customers – how many sales made etc. Be straight, but positive where you can. Anything that reinforces that the business is making headway. A lot of people are terrified about losing their jobs or businesses closing down for good. If you can, reassure them of the steps the business is taking, what government assistance your business is utilising to keep them employed and the business operating, as well as future plans. Knowing is better than the fear of the unknown.

5. Reach out personally
As a leader, call your people regularly and ask “How are you going?”, “What can I/the business do to support you?”, “Do you have the resources to do your job remotely?” and check-in on their wellbeing. Keep them up to date with anything impacting their specific role or responsibilities and ask for ways that you can collaborate to further improve the remote working scenario.
If someone is struggling who is usually a great performer, reach out and ask them how they’re doing and seek to understand where they are at – is it a resourcing issue? The business landscape? Are the complexities of their specific role challenging to do remotely? Is it stress from the dynamics at home? Complete exhaustion? The key is to also listen and acknowledge rather than just talking.

6. Acknowledge people
Most team members thrive on positive feedback, acknowledge them for what they’ve done well either publically or personally and let them know their hard work under the current working conditions hasn’t gone unnoticed.

7. Turn fears into ideas – innovate
While some industries and business are being disrupted and decimated by the pandemic response, others are innovating their way to survival. Ask your team if they see any opportunities to innovate – has the current situation created any opportunities to offer new products, in new ways into new channels or to innovate with processes? Ask if people have any suggestions or can see any new opportunities – how can you turn fears into ideas? Your people are some of the best resources you’ll have for coming up with business innovation and this may be a new opportunity to thrive, both as a business and as an engaged remote team.

Research source: Society for Human Resource Management 
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/teleworkers-more-productive-even-when-sick.aspx


Want to train your staff at home or remotely?
LDN Interactive (LDN-i) – helping organisations train and develop staff while isolated

Leadership Dimensions, Safety Dimensions and Workplace Dimensions programs are now available through a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment – via computer.

We don’t offer pre-recorded online programs – just the same experience of our face-to-face programs, delivered differently.

Find out more >>

Why self-paced online training isn’t for everyone – and how LDN do online differently.

Why self-paced online training isn’t for everyone – and how LDN do online differently.

Hasn’t the world changed? In a short period, we now have a ‘new normal’. For some, this has meant working from home, for others, reduced hours, being stood down, or unfortunately retrenched.

What has become certain is that life is uncertain.

 

Yet, the need to expand our skills and be more ‘employable’ has never been more critical. If this resonates and you find yourself ‘googling’ online training or qualifications, there are a couple of things to consider.

Not all online training is the same.

Training providers vary in what they consider ‘online’ learning. When researching, find out how the program is delivered and what happens if you get stuck.  Is the program fully self-paced? This may mean you are given a pdf workbook, login to an online portal of content, pre-recorded lessons including videos, materials, quizzes and message boards, then it is up to you to go through the content and complete assessments. Research what live support you get from trainers via email, chat or phone.  Is this included in the price or extra? How quickly will they respond to your questions or give you feedback?

This style of learning works for some. Why? It’s inexpensive (compared to face-to-face training), you can do it at your own pace, (working around family commitments or work) and you can do it from anywhere.

Sounds like #winning – right?

At LDN, we do things differently.

Our online training is delivered in real-time, with a live facilitator interacting with you, just as they would in face-to-face training – all from the comfort of your home or workplace or anywhere else you can get an internet connection. 

 

We know how people learn best, and therefore combine the best of face-to-face training interactively, just delivered via technology to give you the best learning outcome. We use the most compelling aspects of online interactive technology but don’t leave our learners muddling through on their own.

 

How do you know if self-paced online programs will work for you?

Even with the best intentions, do you sometimes find yourself procrastinating, or struggling to find time to juggle all the urgent versus important things each day?  Let’s face it, we’re not all cut out for self-paced learning. The allure of training in your own time, when convenient, is attractive. However self-paced online only, without live sessions requires steely self-discipline, especially if there is no set timetable.  Also, watching a video and reading materials isn’t always the most exciting way to learn, even if you are passionate about the subject. Especially if the only sliver of time you have to yourself is at 3 am on a Wednesday.

These factors are critical contributors to why online training programs have lower completion rates than traditional face-to-face programs, so you should ask yourself, “Am I a self-paced person or can I find a way to make a structured program work?”.

 

With LDN, you learn in real-time. 

For most people, we find sticking to a structure and having physical materials helps them get things done. When you undertake our programs, you’ll turn up at a specific time on a particular day, just like a real face-to-face session. If you can commit to the time, you’ll get through the content.

We will send you the workbook in the mail so you have something actually in front of you before the live training starts.  No reading pages and pages of text off a screen, nothing to print.  We provide everything you need to participate.  You can find out more about how we do this here.

 

Checking for deep understanding

Our live facilitators check for understanding throughout the session. When a question arises during a face-to-face learning session, it’s dealt with in the moment, so you can then continue your learning with that question answered. If you’re learning in a self-paced format, you may be less likely to ask questions to fill in the gaps of your knowledge if it means sending an email, then waiting for a response and may keep going even if you don’t quite ‘get it’. This may later impact how successful you are with your assessments, and more importantly, it creates a gap in your knowledge.

If you’re someone who likes to ask questions as you’re learning, learning in a live interactive format is going to deliver you the best outcome.

 

Doing it on your own doesn’t work for everyone

The solitary nature of some online self-paced programs may suit students who are uncomfortable in a classroom situation. But if you’re a person who learns well in a group and likes to bounce off ideas, self-paced will likely be a little lonely for you. Traditional eLearning is often geared toward ploughing away at the program content with few opportunities for social interaction, apart from writing and responding to threads on message boards.  This doesn’t make a program’ interactive’, and often the best learning happens when participating or listening to an evolving live conversation!

 

With LDN you’ll learn with a live facilitator and a group of other learners.

You’ll get one of our excellent facilitators live on your computer or device from where ever you are. And you’ll learn with others – just like a real training room. You’ll be able to see your facilitator, interact, discuss, join break-out rooms and simulate many of the activities you can do in a ‘real’ training room. This is as close to a live training experience as you can get without physically being in a room together.

 

Completion rates and satisfaction

If you’re looking at self-paced accredited training, ask your provider, “What’s the completion rate of people undertaking their program?”.  This will give you a good idea of how well they support their learners through their learning and assessments.

 

We’ll be there for you.

Our support doesn’t end when the live interactive online sessions do. You have time after the interactive sessions to complete your assessments with our facilitators and support staff available to support you via video chat, phone and email.  Our results demonstrate quality.  The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NVCER) surveyed graduates of our accredited programs and reported:

  • 97.1% were employed or enrolled in further study after training.
  • 96.8% were satisfied with the overall quality of their training.
  • 93.7% would recommend the training, 96.4% would recommend us as a training provider.
  • 89.3% achieved their main reason for doing the training

 

See the full  NVCER report here.

 

By focusing on the vital component of learning collaboratively, with a real-time facilitator and your peers (yet also supported by online collaboration tools) LDN uses the technology to enhance your learning experience – and that’s what gives our learners the best outcome.

______________________

SOURCES

https://workplacedimensions.com.au/wp-content/uploads/NCVER-Australian-vocational-education-and-training-statistics.pdf
https://www.ncver.edu.au/research-and-statistics/publications/all-publications/online-delivery-of-vet-qualifications

Safety Dimensions offers both accredited and non accredited programs though our LDN-i platform powered by the Zoom conferencing platform.

 

Call us on 1300 453 555  or contact us for more info.

What public programs are coming up soon?

Subcontractor Management live, online and interactive.

SLCSCM406 Implement and monitor subcontractor work health and safety requirements

Learn to manage subcontractors and gain a unit  which is part of the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction program.

Find out more >>

WHS live, online and interactive.

BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety: 5-day program.

A nationally recognised qualification which will train you to identify hazards in your workplace, assist with responding to incidents, assess and control risk, and consult on work health and safety issues.

 

Find out more >>

Contemporary, online, live and interactive training for your teams (LDN-i)

Contemporary, online, live and interactive training for your teams (LDN-i)

Safety Dimensions, Leadership Dimensions & Workplace Dimensions programs are now available through a facilitator-led, real-time, interactive training environment – via computer.

We don’t offer pre-recorded online programs – just the same experience of our face-to-face programs, delivered differently.

The world has changed and so has the way we all do business. Many organisations are now operating with wider geographically-dispersed teams, or have moved to more flexible work arrangements where their workforces are working remotely or under a hybrid model of remote + office.  Bringing people together in a central location for training or meetings may now have some additional expenses. This is where LDN can help. Our belief has always been that location should not be a barrier to receiving an engaging, excellent high-quality education.

Traditionally online training involves video or document-based tuition, is often self-paced and leaves the participant with no opportunity to ask questions or become engaged through involvement and, more importantly, does not flex to individuals’ different learning styles.

Our live and interactive, facilitator-led training (LDN-i) brings your teams together utilising the most up-to-date video conferencing software (Teams/Zoom).

All programs are delivered in real-time, by our highly skilled and engaging facilitators and utilises the full range of adult learning tools including small group discussions (breakout rooms), online polls, role-playing, quizzes and individual and group activities.  Our programs are accessed by learners through their own laptop, computer or iPad and full support is provided to ensure set up and attendance is easy, even for those who do not often use computers.

LDN-i delivery mode enables clients and their teams to capitalise on the convenience, cost-effectiveness and flexibility of upskilling and training from wherever they are located.

We can design and develop programs for your team or customise any of our proven safety or leadership programs.

Contact us for more info here


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Leading through uncertain times – how to be a leader through the COVID-19 response

Leading through uncertain times – how to be a leader through the COVID-19 response

How can leaders make things feel as normal as possible to support ‘business as usual’ when we’re certainly not in a ‘business as usual’ environment?

 

So here we are at the beginning of a seismic disruption to workplaces all around the world with the COVID-19 response. Organisations are shifting the way they’re doing businesses, some are closing temporarily, others are mandating their people to work from home, and some are doing both.

This is a challenge for leaders. How can leaders make things feel as normal as possible to support ‘business as usual’ when we’re certainly not in a ‘business as usual’ environment?

The US military coined the acronym ‘VUCA’ to describe times of rapid and unpredictable change that are Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. VUCA can be used to explore the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 landscape and can double as a simple catch all summary for “Everything is going completely NUTS out there!”

It can also serve as a very useful frame for how leaders should and should not respond at this time as leaders can often display the VUCA characteristics in their own leadership style. This is even more detrimental in the current landscape.

Mertz (2014) gives leaders some tips on leading through VUCA times through the acronym DURT – being Direct, Understandable, Reliable and Trustworthy.

How you can apply this in a COVID-19 response environment :

Be Direct – Give your people the facts. What does the current situation mean for your business and the work your people are doing? How can you do this with kindness and compassion?

Be Understandable – Create a clear context and give clear messaging. Break down messages for your workforce in terms of what your plans mean for them in their role. If you have people in your organisation with English as a second language, or with literacy challenges, make sure your communications are delivered in formats and language that can be understood by them. Consider all communication formats, don’t just rely on email. Try WhatsApp groups, or communicate through video messages for more personalised communication.

Be Reliable – Ensure people can count on you. Workforces are looking at their leaders for direction and reassurance. Do what you said you’d do, or be straight about why the situation has had to change.

Be Trustworthy – No leader, politician or health care professional has a crystal ball to see the future and what the impact of COVID-19 will be. As much as we all crave certainty, acknowledge that situations are changing daily and be straight and compassionate.

Also, leaders need to look out for their wellbeing and that of their people. This can be challenging when we are feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 response, not just at work, but at home and in the wider community. So, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, and others.

REFERENCES:

VUCA Times Call for DURT Leaders

https://www.thindifference.com/2014/05/vuca-times-call-durt-leaders/

Additional information for employers

Here’s some additional information from Safe Work Australia on when employers can direct employees to stay away from their usual workplace under workplace health and safety laws.

Safe Work Australia has information about when an employer can direct employees to stay away from their usual workplace under the model workplace health and safety laws.

More information:

Want to elevate your leadership capacity?

Safety Dimensions offers accredited and non-accredited leadership training for emerging leaders. Through our training, you’ll learn how to effectively communicate, set clear priorities, build team cohesiveness and implement operational plans and continuous improvement.

Want this program customised for your workplace and industry?
Call 1300 453 555 or email info@ldn.com.au

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