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LAEDA Women's Business Center (WBC) Presents: Creating and Managing a Virtual Team

Posted on 9/28/2020 by EDTP Coordinator in LAEDA News
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Camden, NJ- On Thursday September 24, 2020, the LAEDA WBC hosted another one of its workshops focused on assisting entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop, led by Fonda Wynn, Owner/Lead Consultant of Wynn Development Consultants, covered best practices and resources for creating and managing a virtual team. These included creating a team that works remotely, finding the right people for your team, and making sure your team is productive, engaged and well taken care of.

To start off the night, all participants introduced themselves and spoke about their experiences of not only working remotely but also managing a remote team during COVID-19. Ms. Wynn offered some words of encouragement for individuals dealing with working from home. “Blurring of personal and professional life happens because we don’t know when to stop working.  It has become difficult for employees who no longer have the socialization that going to work offers and must remain in isolation, especially for those people who are alone at home,” she explained, “that is why we need to make sure we are on top of employee wellness because people are dealing with the pandemic differently which will affect their remote work.”

Ms. Wynn continued by explaining Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which consists of the following needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Fonda discloses that, until the safety needs are met, we cannot reach self-actualization; therefore, employers need to help employees address these needs now more than ever. Fonda stressed the importance of not only engaging but appreciating your team since there has been a 20% decrease in enjoyment, 23% increase in worry and 17% increase in stress amongst employees in the workplace since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These statistics show that promoting an open, trusting environment is vital and crucial to the mental health of employees who are working remotely.

Next, the discussion turned toward common words or phrases we have heard over the past months to describe the current work environment. Some of the words/ phrases from participants included: flexibility, uncertainty, too many changes, stressful, and insecurity. “Due to COVID-19, many people are experiencing so many changes in all areas of their lives. Since our personal and professional lives have been blurred, we need to allow our employees to be flexible and we also must put our company values to action and really live up to it's mission... This way we will have employee buy-in” Fonda stated. A successful company will be transparent and open with their employees and clients since it is understood that everyone is going through difficult times right now. Business owners must be creative and innovative while also offering that genuine human touch.

Then, Fonda illustrated that business owners needs to make sure that they are ready for a remote team. They should determine if they have enough capital, work, and energy to keep that team operating efficiently. When choosing a remote team, organizational and time management skills are essential. In addition, those employees must be able to work alone, provide clear and concise communication, be tech-savvy, proactive and unafraid ask for help. We need to set clear goals and performance benchmarks, be optimistic, honest, flexible (but strict), check in often, create smaller teams (workgroups) and show appreciation to increase engagement for remote workers.

The seminar wrapped up with some valuable resources like where to find a virtual assistant, which is a self-employed professional who provides administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients working remotely. Fiverr, UpWork and LinkedIn are great places to find a virtual assistant. “You may be wearing all the hats in the beginning but try to find some really creative ways to distribute some parts of your business to other people, ” Jamila states. Sophie Werner, Assistant Program Manager at LAEDA’s Women’s Business Center, adds “Since people are logging in more hours by working from home it is essential to use resources and get the help that is offered out there." Also, Ms. Wynn recommended the book, “Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal With Change In Your Work And In Your Life,” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. as a valuable book to read for professional or personal life.

If you are seeking resources, check out the LAEDA Women's Business Center (see below for contact information).

  • To register for Business counseling: https://laedawbc.com/business-counseling/
  • To register for upcoming events: http://www.laeda.com/Events.aspx for more events and or seminars.

You can also get in touch with Fonda Wynn by emailing at fonda@wynnconsultants.com or calling (410) 600-3454.

LAEDA WBC offers seminars and short-term courses in various counties of South Jersey throughout the year. A long-term course is also offered three times per year where entrepreneurs receive 72+ hours of training from industry professionals, business planning, and business counseling. The program is free, but you must qualify.

LAEDA WBC welcomes you to join our community of successful entrepreneurs. Visit our website at www.laedawbc.com or call (856) 338-1177 to learn more.