Social Distancing Elbow BumpIt’s only been a few weeks here in the U.S., but it feels like social distancing has been around for much longer. Even before the government began mandating that people stay home, many small businesses began to transition to remote work. Unfortunately, many others were behind the trend. I saw an email today advising law firms on how to prepare to move to remote access. Sadly, if you are just now preparing to move to a remote business model, you are likely too late. When I first moved towards a more remote practice model in 2011, I got lots of interesting comments from other lawyers who said it couldn’t be done. But now, most of the lawyers I interact with are using at least a partial remote model. And those lawyers who sneered at me 9 years ago? They can’t run their firm remotely and are probably getting ready to lay off their staff (and their attorneys will probably be soon to follow…).

This week, the HBR had a good article with some ways to manage your team in this era of social distancing: 8 Ways to Manage Your Team While Social Distancing.

8 Ways to Manage Your Team

In the HBR article, Timothy Clark has eight recommendations for supporting your employees in this time of social distancing:

  • Reset your expectations.
  • Stay in regular touch.
  • Support continued learning but keep it short.
  • Assign buddies and peer coaches to add a layer of mutual support.
  • Interpret tone and voice as proxies for face-to-face feedback.
  • Model optimism and drain the team of fear.
  • Update even if there’s no update.
  • Continually gauge stress and engagement levels.

Even companies set up for remote work are dealing with growing pains. Most of the time, they were not anticipating the entire company being moved to a remote work model. But the good news for business owners is that you’re not alone. We’re all dealing with social distancing and finding new and creative ways to run our businesses. Look around and see what others are doing. You may find a whole new way to adapt your business that becomes a productive, long-term growth opportunity.

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