By Henry May, Coschool’s CEO
COVID-19 reflections on “teletrabajo” (home office). Five strategies that have worked for us so far in Coschool and two things we aren’t getting right.
I’m feeling really connected to the 40 members of my Coschool team at the moment, as I am sure many of you will be with your teams. Why is that? What are we doing differently to before COVID-19? What seems to be working? Is anything not going so well?
Five strategies that are working
One daily routine has really stuck with the team. At 9am we have a recurring zoom meeting called “Todos Juntos: Atención plena” (Everyone together: Mindfulness). We’ve invited lots of different Mindfulness teachers to share a brief 10-15 minute practice with us and the team have been loving it, I think. “If I start my day with mindfulness, I have a better day…”
Keeping it interesting with surprises and guests
We know that surprises can bolster intrinsic motivation, and we’re big fans of “The Power of Moments“, so we’ve tried to keep our whole-team meetings interesting by:
- Inviting special guests (A Doctor from the UK, ex members of the Coschool team, musicians/performers)
- Hat parties! Bring an object/hat and share (in break out rooms) why that object (or hat) is special.
I’m willing to look beyond Zoom’s security issues because for now we absolutely love the break-out room feature (for small group discussions). Available with Pro account ($15 USD/month well spent…). You won’t regret it.
Clarity & Transparency with numbers and dates
We all took a pay cut in April and shrunk most of the team’s contracts to one month. A defensive move, but it felt like a necessary one. We share our cashflow for the next 6 months with the team, shared everyone’s salaries, and proposed adjustments. The team was grateful for that. Our leadership team took a bigger pay-cut that others. If you want to see the presentation I used, please ask me. I told the team we’ll meet again for a similar presentation tomorrow (April 16th) to share decisions on May & June. We’re being clear and open on dates, decisions, and data.
“Clear is fair” Brené Brown.
Other activities: Fear Setting & Film afternoon
Thanks to a couple of inspiring conversations with Jim Marsden from Reboot and revisiting Tim Ferris’s’ fear-setting activity (based on Stoic principles) I decided to run a “fear-setting” workshop for the team, with the goal of creating space to spend time with our fears and consider new ways to approach them. It went down well, as did the chance for a film afternoon with our favourite Brené Brown’s Netflix talk The Call to Courage, followed by an emotional discussion between 20 of us on Zoom.
Two things we’re struggling with
Overdosing on Zoom: The Zoombie effect
Splitting headaches, feeling way more tired than usual, and having trouble sleeping are all complaints I’ve heard from my team recently… they are side effects of too much screen time in my opinion, and somehow we are creating a culture where online meetings are overwhelming us. We’ve tried to block at least two half days per week for no internal meetings, but we’re still struggling on this one. I spent 7 hours on Zoom yesterday.
Not sharing leadership: The Overperforming leader effect
As is often the case in a crisis, the leader (s) sweep in start to over-perform to fix issues, and plug holes. In terms of trying to switch us to an effective remote-team I’ve gone into Captain Planet mode – running the Geekbot slack channel, leading a lot of the team Zoom spaces, and so on. It’s time for me to delegate, and let others step forward.