Recreate your happy place just in this new work-from-home environment so that everybody’s ready and excited to come back to work and back to being together when we get through this.

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– Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week I am coming to you from my kitchen and I thought that this behind me, that sits near my kitchen table and welcomes people into my home, is a great backdrop for the conversation I want to have with you today. And that’s all around how your team is feeling. As for most of the world, we are working in remote situations and working from home. For many of you and your team, the office is a vibrant place that gives you energy, that makes you laugh, where you feel connected with your coworkers, and so a lot of your employees, and maybe even you, are feeling loss as you are separated physically from one another. So, some of the agencies that I work with have done some pretty creative things to reconnect with each other. So, a lot of you are already talking about having virtual happy hours at the end of the day or maybe on Fridays where everybody pours their favorite beverage, whatever that may be, and all gets on a Zoom call or some other tool, and just connects with each other for 15 or 20 minutes, tells funny stories about the week, that’s a great idea. But, during the week I want you also to stay connected with your team and I want you to do that whenever possible by video. So, a lot of you are phoning and checking in with your team which is great, but I want you to have one-on-one conversations with your employees, face-to-face. First of all, it’ll be really good medicine for you to have that almost like being together connection, that face-to-face, being able to see each other, being able to see expressions, being able to see their kids running around in the background, whatever’s happening in their work-from-home environment. But it’s also great medicine for them. It allows them to literally connect, eye-to-eye connections, voice connections. So, through all of their senses other than touch and smell, which maybe that’s not an all bad thing, they are connecting to you. And that is critical for you to keep your team, their spirits up, to keep them functioning well, for you to be able to assess the subtle signs of stress, or fatigue, or worry that maybe you can help them work through, and it’s hard to do that over the phone and it’s really hard to do that over email. So, I want you to look for ways to recreate, as best as you can, the happy place that is your office through video chats, video one-on-ones, everyone of you, as agency owners and leaders, should be checking in and connecting with your team every day. So whether you divide and conquer if you’re a larger agency, who’s going to talk to who, and you rotate that through so they’re not always talking to the same person, or if you’re a smaller shop maybe you, as the owner, are setting up a set time when you have just a quick 10-minute or a 15-minute check in with your people every few days. But make sure they don’t feel isolated and abandoned. Find some ways to recreate the fun that you would normally have in the office. So, some people are playing word games that they’re passing around like Mad Libs and other things like that. I talked about the virtual happy hour. Make sure you’re doing a daily huddle where you’re coming together on video to talk about the work that you need to get done on a regular basis, day in and day out. And also one of the things you need to be doing is communicating, as a leader, what’s happening in the agency. So, your employees are worried. They’re worried that clients are pulling the plug on projects, they’re worried that you’re going to have to lay them off, and so the more transparent you can be about what’s going on in the agency, the better, and that is best delivered as close to face-to-face as possible. So use video well and often to stay connected, and to recreate your happy place just in this new work-from-home environment so that everybody’s ready and excited to come back to work and back to being together when we get through this, okay? I’ll talk to you next week.

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