Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions. And COVID-19 has forced the entire mortgage industry to do the extraordinary –becoming a remote workforce overnight. While remote work is nothing new (maybe it was something that your mortgage team was already familiar with), working remotely during a pandemic and sheltering at home is another beast entirely.
Your mortgage team is now required to work under the stress of being separated from friends and family, possibly loss of income, helping their kids with distance learning –all with the bombardment of negative news and concern for health.
Additionally, you’re now having to manage a remote team, keep your business afloat, keep operations running smoothly as well as all of the above.
It’s an incredible challenge. We get it, and we want to help.
Here are ways that you can manage, motivate, and engage your mortgage team through times of crisis.
Host Team Wellness Virtual Meet-Ups
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely under crisis is isolation. Isolation may make your employees feel less involved in the organization, less essential to the team, and reduce overall productivity.
Depression and anxiety is another possible and devastating effect of isolation. Keep in mind that everyone has varying tolerance levels of loneliness and sensitivity to mental health disruption.
So even if one of your team members is at home with family, disconnected from their regular work-life can still cause feelings of loneliness and stress.
To help keep these negative feelings at bay, host a weekly team wellness check-up through a video call. Consider this a virtual “meeting by the water cooler” to chit chat about things other than work. You can have a specific topic to discuss, like sharing a recently discovered TV series or playlist, sharing home fitness routines, or any misadventures in cooking three meals a day.
This could also be a good time for you, as a leader, to share reputable news stories. There are plenty of faulty and misleading news stories going around (even from major news outlets) that add to the stress. Fact check as best you can against official government statements to help your team stay informed and feel supported.
Remember also to share details of the mental health services offered through insurance and encourage your team to use them.
Develop Time Management
Even those employees that don’t typically have issues with time management may find it difficult to keep on task during a crisis. Uncertainty about the future, family members, or even just not having a manager physically present to check-in can throw people’s internal schedules out of whack.
The easiest way to help your team get back on track is to give hard deadlines to tasks. Many find it easier to prioritize the tasks by using a table such as this one:
This helps both your employees and yourself know the order in which they should complete the tasks. Requiring an email summary at the end of the week can also be helpful.
You can also use our Loanzify loan center to manage tasks better and check up on task completion in a less obtrusive way. Contact an Account Executive for a live demo on how to use Loanzify for remote team management.
Encourage Professional Growth
If your mortgage team has more downtime, encourage them to refine or develop professional skills through free webinars offered by professional organizations, such as LinkedIn or Fannie Mae. Software and application companies (like Zoom and Asana) also have advanced training available. This could also be a time that employees can
“cross-train” each other –something that not only develops skills but also builds a team mentality and boosts morale internally.
Be Responsive and Available
Communication with your mortgage team is more critical than ever during this time of crisis and working remotely. While you don’t need to respond immediately to every email or answer every call that comes in after hours, you still want them to know that you’re available and open to talking about both work and nonwork-related topics.
Team morale plays such a big part in work performance, and during hard times, it’s even more important for mental health. An email, a quick call, or even an instant message to check-in with each individual is something that will be remembered and appreciated by your team. Remember that your actions and attitude during times of crisis will last long after this shelter-at-home is lifted.
Looking for more help? At LenderHomePage, we’re ready to help you and answer your questions about successfully transitioning your mortgage team to a remote workforce.