In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, organizations across the country and around the world have had to shift the work of their staff to a remote setting. For some this change has been easier than others, with Global Workforce Analytics stating that 43% of the workforce work from home at least some of the time. However, until recently, remote work in education has been a rare topic.
If you are like many school administrators we have spoken with, you may have spent the last couple of months seeking out the best practices in leading your school staff remotely. Hearing your questions and feeling your frustrations, we have put together a guide covering some of the best practices for remote management within your school district.
Working from home is a new experience for much of your faculty and staff, so it can be easy for many to become unclear about the projects they are working on and how these projects contribute to the overall strategy of your school district. Daily check-ins allow you to communicate with your staff each day, preferably in the morning before they begin work, to field any questions or concerns they may be having about the tasks at hand and recommend resources that will allow them to complete their work in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Instant messaging and phone calls can be useful tools for responding to individual inquiries throughout the day, but if possible, try to hold these daily check-ins on a video platform such as Zoom or Google Hangouts , as your staff will likely enjoy the feeling of normalcy seeing you and their fellow coworkers face to face at the start of each day.
Ensure Access to Information
From teachers and staff to upper administration, many of your employees need access to the proper information in order to complete their job effectively. However, if you are like many districts we have consulted with, much of this information may be printed and stored in a filing cabinet somewhere on your school’s campus making it inaccessible when working remote. Free tools such as Google Drive allow these documents to be shared with the appropriate people but may not offer the level of security that some of your more sensitive information deserves. Tools like Script’s document management and workflow software will allow for instantaneous access to all of your district’s documents and forms while protecting your information with the same level of security used by most financial, medical and government organizations around the world.
Communication is Key
School districts are about as collaborative of a work environment as there is, and with most of your staff working from home it is easy for much of this communication to become lost. It is important that as an administrator you provide your teachers and faculty with the proper tools that allow them to collaborate on projects and quickly and effectively direct questions to the appropriate parties across your district.
Tools like Slack for example allow you to create “channels,” or message threads and add in members of your district, allowing them to collaborate with each other instantly. For example, you may want to create a “Math Teachers” channel with the purpose of sharing lesson plans and classroom activities. For a more complete list of tools, check out our 6 Tools to Improve Communication in Schools.
Set up Virtual Team Building Activities
Organizational culture is perhaps the most difficult thing to maintain when working remotely. However, in times like these it is more important than ever to foster a culture of togetherness and hope. Setting up team building activities such as virtual yoga, Pictionary, or even a virtual happy hour can help bring a sense of normalcy back into the lives of your school staff and ensure that when they do return to campus, organizational culture has never been stronger.
Provide Emotional Support
It is important to keep in mind that every member of your team has been affected by the recent events in a number of ways, some more personally than others. When holding your daily check-ins and individual meetings, assure your staff that you are there for them if they are having difficulty adjusting to the current situation, or just need someone to talk to. Your teachers and faculty will undoubtedly appreciate and respect your efforts to provide them with support, and you just may be surprised on how many of them reach out.
Over the past couple of months, we have had to make a number of changes to our daily lives at here at Script. However, one thing that has not changed is our commitment to our school districts in providing the best tools for success. Check out the resources listed below for more tips on continuing to provide the best experience to your district’s teachers, administrators, students, and parents.
Additional Resources You May Like…
- Remote Learning Guidebook: Recommendations for enabling successful remote learning in your school
- 20+ Online and Remote Tools for Teachers, Administrators, and Parents
- Keeping Students Engaged During Remote Learning
- Parent’s Guide for Remote Learning
- Fun Learning Activities for Children During COVID-19