Isn’t it obvious that I love to talk about talking? 😁 I mean, everything stems from communication in my world so naturally, one of the key aspects I want to help you with is communication. So today, we are going to focus on how you as a leader can help your team establish communication times.
You have a life you are trying to live, right? We call that our Legendary Life. When you took a job at any point in your life, or started your own business, or got promoted, with that change in employment you envisioned the life you were going to live as a result of that. Money, influence, time, tangible purchases, etc. All of these things are things you think about and associate with a change in your career. So if you are trying to live your Legendary Life, you must also acknowledge that every person on your team is trying to live theirs too.
They created that vision in their minds the first day they said yes to working within your company, on your team, etc. However, this remote working life is probably taking a toll on them. Expectations of people working all hours because of the mentality that they are always going to be close to the computer, or “they can’t go anywhere anyway so they might as well get some work done,” is an unfair expectation to place upon them.
Everyone needs to have a mental break. Everyone needs to time to decompress and get away from work. You should be setting the example as their role model. Modeling the behavior of standard work hours. However, the other action you can take is to establish communication times within your organization or team. It could be 8am to 5pm, or 9 am to 6pm. Whatever the timeframe is, that’s up to you.
The point is that you make it clear within your team that work communications should occur within that window of time. Which means if someone gets a wild idea, decides they have a question, wants to learn about something another team member is doing, etc. they can email whenever they choose. But the recipient of the message isn’t expected to respond outside of the communication hours.
For this to work, you have to show them you mean it. You have to encourage behavior that supports this change in communication. And you also have to set clear expectations of what is urgent/emergent, and how that will be communicated. For example, if it’s after communication hours and there is an emergency, that message should be shared via a phone call, not a text, not an email. This allows for everyone to leave their phones on a table, not feel an obligation to constantly check their email, but have peace of mind knowing that if something urgent comes up, they will hear the phone ring and they can be responsive. Otherwise, they can enjoy their time away from work without stress.
Think about how establishing communication times within your team would benefit everyone, allowing all team members to decompress and have the mental breaks everyone needs.