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As we navigate the current environment and the shift towards a remote way of working, we want to help all employees to be:
  1. Safe and healthy
  2. Digitally prepared
  3. Actively engaged

Maintaining a sense of team and managing the team experience is critical. Below are leading practices that help ensure continued security, productivity, and motivation during times of remote work.

Activity type Key actions
Personnel information
  • Use an agreed-upon collaboration site to collect the following information:
    • Customer cell phone numbers and email addresses (if applicable and appropriate)
    • Internal team calendar detailing time off, holidays, and other noteworthy events
  • Update your email signature to include your cell phone number and photo
  • Actively communicate with your manager/teams if any schedule change occurs
Logistics & technology
  • Ensure access and understanding of collaboration tools (including instant messaging and conference bridges)
  • Update meeting invites with the remote collaboration tool information
    Test technology before meetings to ensure functionality
  • Check your at-home internet connection; find an alternative in the case it is defective (i.e., hotspot, approved public space with secure Wi-Fi)
  • As always, respect time-zone differences and business hours
  • Order hardware to support remote work if necessary and make sure it is approved by your leader
  • Start making modifications to any non-virtual training content as all trainings might shift to virtual mode for some time
Email
  • Acknowledge emails when received, indicate a tentative resolution time, and follow up accordingly
  • Be extra proactive, clear, and detailed in your emails
  • Recognize when an email will not be productive (e.g. complex, sensitive topics) and make a phone call when more appropriate
  • In case you don’t have a solution, direct people to relevant team members with their contact details
Phone
  • Discuss with teams and customers whether calling and texting them on their cell phones is acceptable (reminder: text conversations should never discuss sensitive or customer information)
  • Be prompt in replying to customer calls and text messages
  • Update voicemail message, if needed
  • Manage and control background noise (i.e., headphones, mute button)
  • Charge your phone and headphones; carry an extra charger
Instant messaging
  • Sign in and be available on instant messaging
  • Acknowledge messages when received
  • Set status on instant messaging according to your activity
    • Set status to “Do Not Disturb” when presenting
    • Set status to “Away” when not at computer
Customer interactions
  • Be early to meetings
  • Load materials before-hand and close unwanted/sensitive views before sharing your screen. Plan sending pdf document(s) in advance to all participants in case the document doesn’t load or if someone can’t see your screen during the meeting
  • Identify purpose of meeting and speakers in meeting invite; all attendees should know their role and how they contribute to meeting objectives
  • Use techniques such as round-robin to avoid talking over one another
  • Remember to roll-call and identify required participants
  • Assign an attendee to take detailed notes with action items; distribute after the call
  • Keep a buffer of 5-10 minutes between subsequent meetings to avoid participants of next meeting joining before the current call is finished
Internal team interactions
  • Have a team discussion regarding expectations for remote working
  • Maintain a list of daily actionable tasks to ensure joint accountability
  • Review approval process and governance with team to mitigate potential risks
  • Leverage video conferencing facility, if available, so that you can see your colleagues, but first confirm if everyone is agreeable to that format
  • Be empathetic – you may not know what your team members are going through or how they are impacted by the current state of affairs
Effectiveness
  • Try to plan your remote work like an office work day. Choose a comfortable and convenient work space at your home/remote work location
  • If you have video calls, dress appropriately and consider your surroundings
  • Set up daily (or more frequent) checkpoints with teams, set apart some time for non-work related catch up so that your teams and colleagues feel connected
  • Understand colleague working constraints. For example, if you are expecting some distraction during a call, let people know it in advance (dog, baby, etc.)
  • Always send documents in pdf format before calls so that people can read them on the phone

 

When working remotely, employees risk losing their sense of connectivity and team, not to mention opportunities for humor and lighter conversations. Following these practices can help ensure that what makes working at your company the most rewarding is retained.