EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND TELEWORK
Reading Time: 3′ (plus 5′ for the "linked" article)
Since the pandemic, teleworking has accelerated. It seems that it was given a big push, and that nothing will ever be the same as before.
However, telecommuting is not the same as working in "the office". It requires certain adaptations, both at the "physical-technological" level and at the "psychological/emotional" level. The first ones are quite clear ("quiet" spaces, adequate connectivity and equipment, collaborative tools, schedules-routines-avoiding distractions...) but the second, the "psychological" ones, are somewhat more "tricky". The former are a necessary condition for teleworking, but an adequate look and "treatment" of the latter are what can make the difference and make teleworking a totally valid option. I'm talking about our fears, anxieties, stress, perception of isolation/loneliness, disconnection, level of perceived competence in the new environment, feeling of belonging to the team/organization, level of commitment, motivation..... These are not new aspects but they may appear more frequently or with greater intensity as a result of teleworking and being "isolated" at home, so it will probably be of utmost importance to be aware of this.
As far as I can see, most companies have dedicated themselves to recommending/providing what is necessary to satisfy what I have called "physical-technological" needs. But what about the "psychological" ones? If Emotional Intelligence is key to leading and leading, in remote team scenarios it will be even more so. Aspects such as being aware of how we are (ourselves and our teams), properly managing stress and our emotions, our capacity for resilience and empathy, finding meaning in what we do as an individual and as a team/organization, having clear purposes, ability to listen to ourselves and listen (especially what goes beyond words)... become even more important if possible.
What role do leaders have to play in accompanying their teams remotely? How to offer emotional support? These are, among others, key aspects on which to start reflecting and, more importantly, starting to act. New habits will be neededAnd new habits start with being aware of it, having clarity about what is necessary and what is not, conviction and persistence to acquire them. I dare to say that developing skills such as Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence will continue to be key aspects forlead yourself and organizations, whether in-person or remote.
Finally, I leave you with an article published in Harvard Business Review ("A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers«) and that I found it to give some advice, simple and interesting, to properly handle remote work. Some are very basic, others not so much.
For those who don't want to spend more time on it, then I add a brief summary about the proposals offered in the article:
- Establish daily and structured check-ins (one-on-one or team-wide calls, regular and predictable, where they feel heard)
- Provide different technological communication tools(emails, collaborative work apps, calls, especially video calls...)
- Establish, together with the team and from the beginning, clear rules of communication according to the circumstances (basically criteria for when and how to communicate)
- Provide opportunities for remote social interaction (time at the beginning of calls to talk about non-work-related aspects, small virtual "parties"–virtual Aferworks...)
- Encourage and provide emotional support(attentive to acknowledging stress, listening to and attending to employees' anxieties and concerns, empathizing with their difficulties and, above all, giving confidence)