Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summertime Work Woes

Communication" is always a hot button topic at PW&WCBA - what communication challenges are you facing? Have you found any tools to aid communication for your team?

Summer time is always a fun and festive time of year; pool parties, beach barbeques, family vacations… However these activities can often create a strain on effective communication in the workplace.  In order to overcome these challenges during the peak summer months, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, where the work dress code is not the only thing a little more relaxed, I follow a few simple guidelines to ensure successful communication continues.
First and foremost, knowing/communicating both yours and your team’s summer schedule is vital.  Knowing who is going to be where/when is essential to ensure key deliverables are being met and in the time frame expected.  Having a transparent view allows for effective timing in scheduling projects and simply knowing if the staffing present is going to available to approve and/or deliver key components of a project.

Working in an absentee environment, whether it is seasonal or habitual, Collaborative Communication is essential!  With that, I recommend utilizing a simple reporting process called “Key Communicator Calls.”  These calls, offer a quick and seamless process where project leads can call into a cross divisional collaborative conference call, report and/or receive status updates on projects, keep on track and ensure all expectations are set.  An overly simplified process perhaps, nonetheless, a tool that has been useful to keep multiple teams, across multiple regions on track and in synch.

Getting Ahead:
Planning a strategic roll out with limited resources can be challenging this time of year.  Moreover, facing the unknown challenges that lie ahead can make “navigating through uncharted waters,” even more challenging; especially if working with external, third party vendors.  Not necessarily knowing the responsiveness or “summer environment” of an outside provider can add to summer challenges.  With that, build time into your project plan, something seemingly small as Summer Fridays, can completely set a project off course.  Additionally, allotting budget for unexpected Rush Fees and other unexpected challenges is highly recommended.

Communicating these simple steps, can truly aid and assist a team in delivering and hitting targets.  Again, these tasks might appear to be overly simplified; but, however simple and easy, they are useful tools for supporting communication in a challenging environment.

Peter Sloane is currently a cross divisional Project Manager at IIR USA and has manged projects within Change Management, Communications Campaigns and Employee Development.

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