#SWAAYthenarrative
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Business

Under any circumstances, managing a remote team requires an over-emphasis on communication, a deep understanding of flexibility, and a variety of ways to maintain touc hpoints with your teammates. Now, with so much uncertainty, fear, and sickness, we need to have even more compassion so that people have time to heal, adjust, and find their anchor within this "new normal."

Remote Work Technology

My favorite software to leverage for a work from home team is Zoom, Loom, Slack, Parabol, and Hangouts. Zoom is the go-to software platform for video meetings and webinars. Loom makes it easy to annotate videos and create tutorials or work product update emails. Slack is great for asynchronous communication and resolving issues that everyone can read. Parabol not only makes it easy to manage tasks and do team check-ins, but it also has creative ways to encourage team problem solving and resolutions. Last hangouts, I use hangouts now more than ever to gossip and check-in with friends throughout the day. Since typing on a computer is much faster than texting on a phone, it's a great way to stay connected and chat with people at a more in-depth level throughout the workday.

Shifting Responsibilities

Almost everyone person on the EnrichHER team has had to alter responsibilities based on the new environment. First, every team member is processing COVID-19 differently. The processing ranges from anxiety and fear to a need for increased meditation to find an internal anchor and joy. As such, the people who are communicating with clients, customers, and advisors cannot be the people who are full of fear and anxiety, so we've had to revamp our entire communications strategies.

The important thing is to not judge, have compassion, and be supportive of everyone who is showing up to reach a collective goal.

Furthermore, some of the team members were unable to continue working, either because they'd rather just be still without mental distraction during this time, they couldn't find the willpower to work, or they're dealing with the care or loss of a loved one. Again, the responsibility has been reallocated and sometimes put on hold based on the resources that we currently have available.

Last, being more flexible in Zoom team meetings is also important. As more families are at home together, many meetings now include babies crying in the background, people walking through the video, and/or it might just be messy in the team member's home. The important thing is to not judge, have compassion, and be supportive of everyone who is showing up to reach a collective goal.

Changing The Concept Of Deadlines

Everyone moves at a different pace during uncertainty. For me, I move faster while being driven by the stories of success told through books like Outliers. For others, they move slower. Many women-led businesses have told me that they didn't have the capacity to apply for grants or loan programs at this time because their inner spirit told them to be still. Both solutions are entirely valid.

Some of us see this time as an opportunity to shift our goals and businesses, and others feel like it's a time to be still and come back to one's self. The important thing is not to judge yourself if you have a certain perspective. The best thing to do is to listen to what you think is best and go with that.

Moving forward during COVID-19 requires a lot of change from all involved stakeholders. If you're lucky enough to have a business that can still service customers during this time, it takes immense flexibility and understanding from both your team and your customers, as everyone is dealing with change.

Some of us see this time as an opportunity to shift our goals and businesses, and others feel like it's a time to be still and come back to one's self.

The best way to survive is to just be compassionate, use tools that facilitate communication and improve the customer experience but acknowledge that everyone in your path is human with real reactions that they have to navigate. Don't treat people like they are robots; in fact, cherish the differences and use those differences to navigate, adapt, and thrive.

This article was originally published April 27, 2020.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.