5 minutes with … Lena Aisha

To second lockdown, or not to second lockdown. That’s the ultimate question these days. Though we remain uncertain about our our external environment, we’ve all been thinking hard about our overall wellbeing indoors. Beyond at-home workouts, keeping in touch with friends and families, a big part of our everyday lives has become working from home.

As a manager how do you create a workplace wellness when your team is far away? We spoke with Lena Aisha, Founder & Editor in Chief of digital wellness platform FLAURA to get her insight into empowering your team virtually …

Lockdown demanded a quick shift to everyone’s way of managing and working with a team. How did you adapt?
We launched right as lockdown hit, and so all that my team has ever known for FLAURA is a virtual work-environment. However, I found constant communication (be it through email, project management tools or video conferencing platforms) to be something that made them feel more comfortable with the new working conditions.

What lessons have you learned whilst working with your team when working from home?
Managing a team is more than just managing an individual’s work or tasks – it has an essential human component to it that involves taking into account their mood, sensibilities, personality, etc. It’s hard to do this virtually, and I’ve learned to not underestimate the important of connecting beyond a screen.

As we all hold our breath as to a possible second lockdown, how are you and your team preparing for this possibility?
One thing we’ll be ramping up is collaborative video sessions – these moments of interaction and creativity can help stave off the loneliness of isolation and break up any monotony within the work day.

What would you say are the three key factors to creating a balanced worth ethic with your team virtually?
Firstly, I would say time away from your screen, even if it’s a 5-minute walk around the house between meetings, can make a big difference. Secondly, enjoying the work you do will help balance out some of the stress that inevitably comes with your career, and I’m lucky enough to have a team that really love what they do. Lastly, openness in a work setting is extremely important. We’re all human, and at times we may find that we’re finding a task difficult or have a lot on our plate, especially at a time like this. Being able to communicate this openly is vital to emotional health within work, and I try to be as understanding with my team as possible.

Whatsapp vs emails. Do you have a preference as to how you keep in touch with your team?
Slack! I love that it’s a mix between the two as it lets you send quick, text-like messages, but also attach documents/photos and organise meetings/zoom calls whenever necessary.

Many employees have had to deal with a certain level of ‘micro-management’ whilst working from home, do you feel that there is any benefit to this?
I wouldn’t blame managers too much for micro-managing as we all adjust to the changing circumstances. A lot of employees aren’t used to working from home and some may need an extra nudge so tasks don’t fall through the cracks. However, micro-management does have a tendency to erode trust and strife creativity, so I think it’s important that managers find a fair balance.

What advice would you give to any managers who are still adapting to this new way of working?
I would advise them to stay optimistic. Your team feeds off your energy and it’s important that the energy they’re receiving is a positive one. Things may be difficult and we may be working in unprecedented times, but in any area of life there’s nothing more important than hope.

Need some inspiration to ‘help you bloom’ in the season ahead? Head over to FLAURA’s website and Instagram to read Lena and her team’s latest on all things wellness, wellbeing, fitness, beauty and more …

Push Team x

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