Do you feel like your first name has become Siri, Alexa, Echo, or Hey Google? A solution that results in a win-win is implementing video office hours.
Our coaching clients and workshop attendees all raise their hands when we ask them if they sometimes feel like they need to be on call all the time.
Be Accessible, When it Makes Sense, Not All the Time.
Yes, managers need to be accessible, but supporting your team doesn't mean being available at all hours to answer every one of their questions immediately. If you react to every request, you are not allowing them to think through it themselves. You are creating a culture that lacks research and resource….self-directed resources. It also means that you are giving yourself the dedicated time for strategy, creativity, and planning, that requires uninterrupted sacred time.
Video Office Hours
Think about your professor in college who had open office hours. Those were the times you could stop by their office. They were specified, and you saved up your questions until they were available. I'm not saying only be open 2-3 times a week, but what if you had 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon where you signed on to Zoom, Teams, or Meet? Anyone that had a question could pop in and ask you then instead of being disruptive during your planning time by sending you a chat or message. You could even keep people in the waiting room until it's their turn. While they're waiting, they could be working. Then, when you're ready, you let them in and answer their question. You can choose to have people sign up or not. It could just be a standing link at a specific time, and people know how to get to you.
Video Office Hour Win-Wins
- You aren't interrupted throughout the day.
- They know they can reach you and may research it themselves in the meantime.
- You both get to the point because the time is limited, and people may be in line in the waiting room.
- There isn't a back and forth email. It's a ‘get to the facts' direct call.
You could enlist this type of meeting in multiple ways. I use this for an Ask the Expert session 30-45 days after giving a workshop. I hang out on Zoom for 25 minutes. Anyone attending the workshop can join and ask me questions about what they learned, a new habit, or share a challenge they need help solving. I don't keep people in a waiting room because others may have the same question.
Other Options for Video Office Hours
Regular video hours could be used for customer support or training calls. It could be daily, weekly, or monthly depending on your volume.
If you're often asked for brain-picking sessions, direct people to sign up and make it a group session so everyone can learn.
Enlist your video office hours this week and experiment for 30 days. Incorporate a solution to get your time and focus back and your clients' or teams' questions answered by being accessible and not reactive.