Combat Coronavirus: How to Use Video to Manage a Remote Team

At this point in time, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that the COVID-19 coronavirus is having on workplaces. As the info keeps pouring in, more and more organizations are taking preventative actions to slow the spread of the virus. 

One solution that is leading the preventative effort for many companies is remote work, where employees are either encouraged or mandated to work from home in order to minimize contact with peers. In the context of a pandemic, remote work makes it possible for employees to keep up with work tasks while self-quarantining or otherwise restricting their contact with others. 

One of the challenges of remote work is that in-person communication, which so much of business has typically relied on, is taken out of the equation. Thankfully, as the global workforce mobilizes and increasingly favors freelancing or constant remote work, there are tools at your disposal to maximize communication skills when geographic barriers are introduced. 

How to Use Video for Remote Work

Video is one of those tools. In the midst of this global health crisis, video is the perfect way to maintain face-to-face communication without jeopardizing anyone’s wellness. When it’s impossible to meet in person to discuss ideas or execute other work tasks, video can fill in the gaps. 

One-On-One Video Chats

There are two main options for introducing video into your remote work strategy—and they can be used separately or in combination with each other. The first option is to use video for one-on-one live communication, which is the offering that Zoom and other video communication platforms (Skype, GoToMeeting, etc.) provide. 

These platforms effectively replace the idea of an in-person meeting or discussion with a virtual one. You use a webcam and microphone, which are embedded in almost all of today’s laptops, to have a digital meeting where you can see and hear the other participants—just like you would in a traditional conference room. 

There are several benefits to this approach. For one, it’s the closest you can get to a physical meeting without actually being in the same room. You can get feedback for your ideas, answers to your questions, and any other information you might need—and you can get it immediately since others on the video call can chime in anytime. 

Today’s tools like Zoom make the process simple, too. You don’t need to be a video expert—or even a digital expert—to make this work since the platform you choose will do most of the heavy lifting for you. With a few clicks, you’ll be able to share your virtual chatroom “address” via web link, and others can click that link to join your unique video call.

Video Updates

If a live video call doesn’t fulfill your needs entirely, video can also serve another purpose. For content where a live discussion isn’t necessary or you don’t need immediate responses, you can film a quick video of yourself giving information and then send it out to any relevant recipients. 

In the context of Coronavirus especially, this is a great way for managers and executives to give updates about protocol and processes that have been affected by the outbreak. Direct reports can also use this type of video to give end-of-day updates to higher-ups or to report any concerns or questions that aren’t as time-sensitive.

As you can see, these two strategies supplement each other, so most companies would be wise to use both. Video conferencing options fill the role of in-person meetings and other team conversations, while video updates fill the role of debriefs or team memos. 

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, today’s organizations are all facing the same challenge with balancing productivity and a sense of normalcy while protecting employee health. If you’ve never used video to keep your organization running, now is a great time to test it out and see how it works for your company. You never know—maybe you’ll find that video is the perfect tool to have at your disposal, pandemic or not!

Alexa Nizam

Alexa Nizam