Staying Connected During the Coronavirus: Use a Work Buddy Approach
By Jim Lundy
While so many people are talking about remote meetings, few are talking about how to cope during this period of extended remote work. There is often a feeling of being disconnected from everything. This blog discusses the idea of the work buddy program, one way managers can help alleviate that feeling.
What Is a Work Buddy Program?
The work buddy program is an initiative I implemented when I ran a global team of remote workers at Gartner. The idea is that each team member needs to have a work buddy who they chat with each day. This helps people feel more connected. The program was very successful and led to better engagement, higher productivity, and better overall morale. The thing that was ironic about this program is that I just took a best practice that I saw top analysts doing informally and made it into a formal program
How to Implement a Work Buddy Program
This is a program that team managers should consider to be a best practice. The manager introduces the concept on a team call and then encourages everyone to have a buddy that they chat with 1-2 times a day at a minimum. Phone calls are fine but the tool that works the best is team collaboration and/or text messages.
Using Team Collaboration for the Work Buddy Program
While text messaging is fine, adding a team collaboration product to your arsenal of remote work tools should be considered a best practice. There are many providers that offer team collaboration software, including some that you may already work with. Aragon has made its Team Collaboration Globe a free download during COVID-19, and we encourage you to look at it here.
Not Everyone Wants a Work Buddy
Team managers may face some pushback from some knowledge workers on having a work buddy. I faced this problem when I rolled out the work buddy program in the past. However, a gentle nudge often gets most to try it out; and often, employees end up thanking you, since it really does make remote work better.
Remote work is not easy, particularly when it is a new way of working for people. Until complete coronavirus treatment is made available, we may have to plan to work remotely for a while. The work buddy approach helps keep people connected and helps to eliminate that feeling of being isolated.
Editor’s note: Check out the Aragon Research coronavirus resources for more helpful information.