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How soft skills impact and translate in the world of working from home

Many of us are adjusting to working from home with the increasing risk of Coronavirus.

Some of us might not have the ergonomic set up that helps us to work without physical pain; we may be sharing a desk with our partners or family members who are also working from home; we might live alone and feel isolated; many are balancing their work with home schooling children and too many are working tirelessly around the clock with our work hours being blurred into our personal time because we are working and living in the one space.

The challenges our people face will be varied and individual, so what can Leaders do to best support their people and keep them engaged through this challenging time?

Genuinely Care –  The secret sauce of great leadership is having a genuine care for your people. Reach out as often as you can to ask your team members how they are doing and what they need from you as their leader. Ask how you can best support them during this time of great upheaval and uncertainty. Demonstrate empathy for their individual circumstances, by being flexible in meeting their needs.

Give Trust – Give your team members the autonomy to work in a way that best suits them and their individual home circumstances. Believe in their positive intention to do their work as best as they can in the circumstances. Avoid asking them to run through the list of what they have done each day, but rather ask them to summarise their key achievement for the week.

Related: Let’s Talk: Are soft skills more important than ever in leadership?

Structure the Day – Help team members to structure their day, so they are focused on the key priorities and take regular breaks to rejuvenate and refocus their attention. Whilst zoom drinks are a lovely way to socially connect in a virtual world, limit how often these happen, as it is further screen time for your team members. Avoid scheduling back to back virtual meetings, as this can lead to burnout on a sustained basis.

Chunk Down the Big Goal – When a goal feels too big or out of reach, team members can give up before they even start trying to achieve the goal. They may do everything they can to achieve the goal, only to feel like it doesn’t matter how hard they try, it is never going to be enough. They become disheartened and disengaged. The opportunity is to break down the bigger goal into smaller achievable goals for the month ahead or the quarter. Not only will the goal seem more realistic and achievable, it will drive greater engagement and commitment to goal achievement.

Share Praise and Celebrate Wins – We all love to be acknowledged and to feel like we are valued. Look for what team members are doing well and recognize their contributions. Celebrate milestones and key achievements along the journey to the end goal. You might like to consider sending team members at home a surprise gift basket, thank you card or bottle of wine to acknowledge their successes and contributions. Whilst being socially isolated, it will help your team members to feel grateful, engaged and connected to their Organization.


Sonia Motum, Mindset Coach

Sonia Motum is a Mindset Coach and Mentor at Energy Coaching.

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