How to run productive one-on-one meetings remotely
The one-on-one meetings are a forum between manager and direct reports, where there is a space for coaching and feedback, unlike the other kinds of meetings.They are also a space for employees to express in an open way their feelings regarding the work environment, work load, career, etc. These meetings aim to build a strong and committed team, and to strengthen the bonds of trust between the manager and their reports.
This type of communication is essential for a better understanding of workers' feelings, ideas and concern. It is especially important during these COVID-19 times when uncertainty is everywhere, causing even more anxiety. In fact, according to surveys carried out by Impulse, 61% of employees felt anxious, distracted or stressed after the first few weeks of confinement. As a consequence of this, there has been a reduction in their productivity levels.
Perhaps in the everyday face to face work, it is possible for a manager to notice when their teams are unmotivated or not very committed. However, nowadays with many teams working from home, it is difficult to interpret the tone of emails or instant messages. Now more than ever it is necessary to find ways to keep having effective communication just as when it was face to face.
Essential points to consider in order to have productive one-on-one meetings remotely:
1. Schedule the meeting in a recurrent way, according to you and your team's needs.
2. Have an agenda of the options to be discussed, and ask the participants to also have the points they want to talk about.Schedule the meeting in a recurrent way, according to you and your team's needs.
3. Consider using technology that allows hearing the tone of voice and seeing the body language of the participants. This way, communication may feel almost as personal as if it was face-to-face.
4. Ask about their physical and mental health. This poins is more important given that now more than every, your direct reports need to know that you care about their wellbeing, and also will help your team members to feel more supported and listened to.
5. Be considerate of the individual situation of each person on your team as the person who is carrying the quarantine isolated is not the same as the person who has children at home or people in their care. Each of these particular situations can be reflected directly in their performance, so it is important to acknowledge them and be empathetic.
As we previously mentioned in the post of "How leaders can protect employee wellness", having confidence in delegating responsibilities to your team is essential while working remotely, but in the same way it is essential that managers are available to address concerns that arise.
For this reason, one-on-one meetings are a very useful communication tool to build trust within the team, know if you are in the same page, as well as to detect things that are not working and work on action plans that help achieve business objectives while taking care of your team´s wellbeing.