Department heads and managers exchanged tips for running their offices and utilizing technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (PCOM) faculty and staff transitioned to a remote work model. On Wednesday, June 24, PCOM presented “Work Matters: Managing Remote Teams,” a webinar focused on the transition to working remotely, the challenges team leaders might experience and some ways they can better serve their team during these uncertain times. The event was sponsored by the Offices of Human Resources and Diversity and Community Relations and was open to department heads and managers.
The presenters for the webinar included Patience Mason, chief student affairs officer, Wendy Romano, chief marketing and communications officer and Richard Smith, chief information officer. Christina Mazzella, chief human resources officer, served as moderator for the event. The presenters were asked a variety of questions on the shift to working remotely. They were then able to share how they handled the challenges and offered advice for team leaders who are facing similar challenges.
One question asked, “What was the most challenging thing your team experienced when we first transitioned to working remotely?” Rick Smith, speaking as head of the information technology services (ITS) department, shared, “The transition to working remotely pushed up a lot of future plans for the ITS department. We saw we had to expedite our digital transformation.”
In response to the question, “What helps you feel connected to your team and counteract loneliness?” Wendy Romano shared, “Using tools available in the Google Suite, such as Google Docs and Google Sheets, has allowed us to be very collaborative when working remotely. Additionally, with tools like Google Meet and Blue Jeans, team members are able to connect face-to-face at a moment’s notice.”
Patience Mason elaborated on the use of technology as a form of collaboration and added, “We see each other now more than ever before. It’s easy to jump on a video call to discuss a topic. We also get to see a more personal side of our teammates – a family member or pet might pop in during a video call to say ‘hello’.” She added “We’re getting to know each other better as a team.”
The presenters also discussed encouraging their team members to disconnect at the end of the workday or workweek. “Working from home, it can be difficult to step away and separate work time from family time,” shared Wendy Romano. “I encourage my team to take breaks and practice self-care. The pandemic has brought on a lot of additional stress and taking time to decompress is essential for maintaining positive mental health.”
In addition to a selection of pre-selected questions, audience members were asked to submit questions for the presenters to answer. Topics covered in these questions included sustaining team morale during the pandemic, highlighting the successes of team members and how to best manage different personalities when working remotely.
Learn more about PCOM's response to COVID-19.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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