By Kate De Jong
Overwhelmed. Productive. Disorganized. Flexible. Disconnected. Relaxed.
The sentiment coming from the new Work-from-Home (WFH) workforce is a two-sided coin. Some people are feeling isolated and frustrated; others are hitting a productivity groove and relieved to have some more time in their days. I think most of us have each of these feelings now that we've been at this for almost a month.
Last week, I presented a webinar on this topic to nearly 150 attendees with the focus on productivity, communication, and connectedness by implementing new habits that will transfer from this forced WFH situation back into whatever our new normal office-life becomes. I invite you to watch the full webinar (above) or read through the slide presentation to learn about helpful productivity, communication, and connectedness best practices and resources. For this blog, I'm going to dig deep into my favorite best practice: the "Daily Huddle."
The Daily Huddle
Simply put, the Daily Huddle is a very short (8 minutes or less) meeting of a team. Ideally, every team in the company meets (preferably first thing in the morning or at the end of the day) to check-in and make sure everyone is aligned. In this current WFH situation, this will make sure that people remain productive, have a chance to communicate their wins and their stucks (challenges or issues people are stuck on) and connect with each other.
More specifically, the purpose of your daily huddle is to provide 360-degree communication (up/down/all around), give each employee a broader context to their day-to-day work, keep a pulse on what's happening to help individuals determine their daily priority and enable support and troubleshooting on individuals' stucks.
How to Implement a Daily Huddle
If you're a manager, get the 8-minute meeting on the calendar for your team.
If you're not managing a team, but you'd like to have this daily connection, now is the time to request it! In this unexpected WFH situation, managers will be looking for ways to communicate with the team, and they will be wondering how to help their teams remain productive and connected. So, suggest this blog post and ask for a daily meeting.
Here's the agenda to paste into your meeting invitation:
PURPOSE: provide 360 communication (up/down/all around), give each employee a broader context to their day-to-day work, keep a pulse on what's happening to help individuals determine their daily priority, and enable support and troubleshooting on individuals' stucks.
EXPECTED OUTCOME: Team alignment and improved productivity, communication, and connections
Any Wins? What happened yesterday that felt great?
What took up most of your energy yesterday? Not what took the majority of your time, but what took the majority of your brainpower.
What is your ONE priority for today? Not a list of things you need to do, but the one thing you should accomplish over everything else.
Any stucks? A computer issue, an approval you're waiting on, anything that prevents you from getting something done.
MONDAYS are "Gratitude Day"* – think of something or someone you appreciate: friends, colleagues, family, strangers, etc. Any time you talk about thankfulness, you have an automatic stress buster!
REMOTE ACCESS/CALL-IN INFORMATION: (Add links to the recurring remote meeting in Zoom, Teams, WebEx or whatever your remote meeting platform is.)
Tips for an Effective Daily Huddle
This needs to remain a SHORT meeting!
This needs to be a REQUIRED meeting. If you miss the meeting, you should IM (or email) the team with your list of wins, a daily challenge and a priority and any stucks.
If you are the manager in this meeting, add in your manager POV as you hear interesting wins, challenges, priorities and stucks.
Stucks will not always be solved in the meeting. If the team gets to deep into a troubleshooting discussion, cut this off and recommend someone help the person who needs it. This needs to remain a SHORT meeting!
Think of this as a long-term habit that you are developing. Even when everyone is working in an office setting, you need to align with your team.
When you return to office work, keep the remote meeting so that people can join in from wherever they are for that short 8 minutes.
Once you've created your Daily Huddle routine, convince the other managers in your department or company, and preferably the executive team, to do the same. This gets the company fully aligned.
After a quarter, when the daily huddle habit is fully formed, assign rotating host duties so that it can be self-run if the manager needs to miss occasionally. This will also keep the meeting fresh and allow for a little bit of leadership for each person on your team.
Add the following to your meeting invitation:
HOST DUTY: The host of the meeting kicks things off by getting started on time and calling on the first person.
Go the Distance!
Our workplaces will feel different when we return to them, so when you think about how to best work right now, choose practices that will have a positive influence on how we work in the future. The single best tip I have for improving productivity, communication, and connectedness during this strange time where we're forced to work from home is an evergreen best-practice: get into this good Daily Huddle habit now and continue it when you return to the office.
For more on upcoming programs in this series, vist the Small Business Management page.