We recently posted a blog about the value of utilizing OKRs with remote employees. But that was last week, and given the current climate, not to mention what may be the norm in the coming months, how organizations utilize remote employees is more important than ever.
Even that thinking alone isn’t current enough by itself, and so this week we’ve also posted pieces about OKRs in a Time of Crisis, as well as one on a timely new feature for keeping employees engaged on a daily basis: Check-ins!
However, we also want to pause here to note the unusual circumstances we’re all working in -- or will be -- as remote working transitions from an optional work benefit and organizational policy to a necessity, as the country, and world, practices social distancing.
What we’ve been sharing recently has been focused on the work of making work, work, but these aren’t normal times and as we adjust to this new normal, we also want to talk about taking care of our remote workers and ourselves.
At Koan we will always seek to highlight the team building elements of our platform, but as remote workers become more isolated from their co-workers and society at large, these elements can also be used to:
- Show Compassion.
- Communicate with each other.
- Stay Connected.
Both our personal and work lives are being disrupted in unprecedented ways right now. There is the steady flow of scary news. Children being sent home from school. Our worries about older and distant family members. And a million other things: not being able to go to the gym, fears about accessing medications and other traumas triggered by isolation and confusion. Given this, it’s a good time to remember that we don’t always know what may be affecting colleagues’ confusing, or even hostile, responses to work requests and deadlines; or the conditions our co-workers are working under, or how they feel.
But we can enter into conversations and meetings with compassion and assume there are reasons underlying the behaviors we don’t understand. We can also ask our colleagues how they’re feeling and how the current state of work and the world is impacting them.
At Koan, we’re communicating regularly through Slack and have built a channel for sharing high fives, smiley-face emojis and funny gifs throughout the day, allowing us to let everyone know they are supported and celebrated.
Communicating with Each Other
Along with leading with compassion, we can take the extra step to truly communicate with one another. While we ask, or update, our colleagues on the status of what’s getting done, we can move beyond the quick texts and emails, and ask whether they need any help or support.
Conversely, we can also ask for help. There may be challenges that are new or unusual to us, and our inclination may be to tackle them by ourselves. We may also feel anxious or lost. But this is where we want to remind you that Koan’s whole philosophy revolves around the idea that the solutions we seek are best accomplished through teamwork and collaboration.
We encourage you to push against what may be the inclination to further isolate and let the team know what’s happening. Also, work on making this a habit. Even clear, transparent communication requires practice and repetition, and one of the tenets we’ve built within Koan is to achieve team goals, we need to form good habits that become reflexive, not forced.
As humans, and as a company, we are about more than merely communicating. We are also about making human and team connections. But to make these connections, we have to be in regular contact, and know what our colleagues are up to, while regularly letting them know what we’re up to as well.
As most are reared to focus on individual accomplishments, this can be a challenge for us regardless. However, for those of us unaccustomed to working away from the office, we are now making sense of how best to move around our homes and not the water-cooler
At Koan, one of the biggest impacts is the loss of side conversations in the kitchen, or spontaneous coffee or lunch breaks, where we found ourselves feeling connected and inspired. We’re encouraging everyone to let people know how and what you’re doing (and how you’re feeling) throughout the day, to stay united as a team. We also set up a new Slack integration, called Donut, which creates virtual hangouts with co-workers to help us strengthen our personal connections with one another.
Ultimately, underlying all of these steps is our desire for all of us to care for one another during this time of transition. From your organization’s CEO through the admins who support the organization, we need to remember that what people need right now is to feel they belong to a caring community, where they can feel safe and heard. Koan is not the only company that champions these ideas as organizational values, but it doesn’t hurt for us to remind everyone how important it is to embrace these values during the current climate. Further, Koan has applied these values to the development of our platform, and so as you consider how you can implement them in your organization please remember that we’ve already thought about these things on your behalf:
- With our Weekly Reflections, you can create natural opportunities for feedback and collaboration between stakeholders and team members across the entire organization.
- With the Check-ins you can maintain regular communication and prioritize productivity.
- You can also get updates from where the conversations are happening through deep Integrations with collaboration tools like Slack
- And as we know that the world’s best companies use small habits to drive relentless progress, Koan provides the tools that bring these practices to every Team.
These do not feel like normal times. But as we adjust to what may be the new normal for the foreseeable future, we want you to know that Koan is here for you. If you want to talk about anything we’ve covered in this post or learn more about our platform, just let us know. Until then be safe and we’ll get through this together.