How to REMAIN Present Without BEING Present

Over the last few years, I’ve had moments where I’ve needed to communicate with my team without physically being present in the office. I serve as the Director of Affiliations and Business Development for a growing DSA (Dental Support Alliance) in New England. In my current role I’m responsible for business operations as well as the affiliations with new teams. We have twelve practices in all, and maintaining clear communication is imperative to our success as a team. During the long term office closures because of COVID-19, it’s important for all teams to communicate so as to maintain team culture and boost morale.

Here are some ideas to keep your team engaged during office closures and into the future:

Weekly Team Emails

Sending weekly written correspondence to your team is important to keep them informed about recent and future events. By sending a written email, your team can read it at a time that is convenient for them and then they can reference the information at a later date if necessary. Think of making emails short and concise, possibly in bullet points if you are trying to communicate a lot of information. Make sure that you proofread before hitting “send”!

Virtual Coffee Break

We all know that our team spends more time with each other than they do with their family! When you’re having a long-term office closure, the team misses you as much as you miss them! Think about having a virtual coffee break via one of the many companies that offer free virtual meeting software. Tell your team to make themselves a cup of coffee or tea and jump on the video call. Only there’s one rule, no work talk allowed!

Spirit Week

Having a theme or spirit week can be a fun way to get your team engaged and excited about your next meeting or coffee break. Have fun with it, searching online for spirit week theme ideas. Some ideas might include pajama day, character day, beach day, and twin day. One of my favorites is “Co-Worker Day,” your team members can have their family or pets involved on the call when they are at home!

One on One Check-in Calls

While having group meetings are important for morale, so is talking one on one. You should speak to all of your team members individually to check in, see how they are, and to find out if they have any questions for you. Some team members will not speak up in a group setting so it is important to give them an opportunity to speak to you directly to address any concerns they have.

Only you know what your team needs, so tailor your communication to what best suits the situation at hand. The most important thing is to make sure your team knows that you are there for them and are available to talk at any time. Once your office reopens for normal business, maintain the communication skills you had during your office closure; your team will thank you for it!


Lifetime AADOM Member, Jennifer Steadman, BSDH, RDH, FAADOM, is the Director of Affiliations and Business Development for a growing DSA, Dental Support Alliance, New England Dental Partners. She specialized in business operations, team development, and communication. Her career has evolved from dental assisting to a dental hygienist, then practice manager and into director of operations! Her goal is to empower dental professionals so as to hone into their strengths and be a positive light in the dental community.

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