Heart of the City member WeAgile has always been running remotely, so we asked on of their co-Founders Monshur to talk us through it, for any businesses getting into virtual leading for the first time:
“I run a digital consultancy WeAgile with my business partner Chris. We built the business on a remote-first model from day one and have overcome many of the challenges companies are facing now.
Making the transition
When going remote it is not an easy or automatic transition. For some businesses and people, the ‘fear of missing out’ or loneliness discourages them from being at their best.
We have a team of nearly 200 creatives globally and at first, we struggled to find ways to keep in contact with everyone. Our initial ideas pretty much took all mine and Chris’s time. We realised it was impossible to speak to everyone individually and mass virtual gatherings were a nightmare.
Managing your people
Over time tried different solutions and the one that we found works best is to empower people to become ‘team leads’. When working remotely, you can often identify people that automatically adjust to the change and can support you in championing new culture. It’s also an opportunity to give people the power to lead or develop management skills. Team leads can have group catch-ups with smaller groups and identify people to have 1:1s with – or pass that decision onto a senior manager or to me and Chris.
This is also a prime opportunity to have your senior people to get involved with talking to people directly and building a true community feel.
What Chris and I do is empower our team leads to have group sessions and lead 1:1s (if they can) and then Chris or I will have catch-ups with them to find out what issues are being raised, what the successes have been and what new ideas people are sharing. We then record a short video message that goes out to all our creatives every month with our feedback and any additional information. This not only keeps teams engaged but also builds a feeling of being heard – something companies have struggled with even before the pandemic.
We also take the time to do 1:1s with people that team leads have identified as needing extra encouragement. It’s great to have an additional conversation to see how the company can support any challenges they are facing with work or at home. This doesn’t take up a lot of time and it helps with identifying issues and providing solutions quickly.
Understanding individual circumstances
In relation to parenting during this period, I am in that bracket, and we actually developed a platform to help primary students to keep learning and give parents a short, deserved break while in the comfort of knowing their child was being taught by a professional tutor. We called that WeLearn.
Companies and senior managers will need to adjust their expectations around these exceptional times. You may find that parents will find it easier to work in the evenings or early morning and spend time during the day with their children,or that they will be slower to respond. We try to share experiences and advice from people within the teams so others can get some help building a plan. This also ensures that people who aren’t parents or carers understand the difficulties that some people are going through – and they should manage their expectations accordingly.”