Remote Work Tips and Best Practices
As we all adjust to a remote work culture, we hope that the below tips, best practices and sentiments will help ease the way for you. We will continue to update our resources, so please feel free to check back frequently!
Can you relate to any of the common challenges of remote work below?
- Social isolation and lack of face-to-face supervision
- Distractions at home
- Balancing work life and personal life
- Aspects of your job have changed or been placed on hold; all meetings are online
- Staying active
Tips & Best Practices for Yourself
- Set up a daily schedule with a start and end time; consider certain daily rituals.
- If you are working at home with kids, block off time on your calendar to offer some flexibility.
- Set boundaries for yourself - when do you turn work on and off? How do you signify the end of your workday? Consider putting your laptop in a drawer at the end of the day or turning email off on your phone.
- Communicate these boundaries to your team and your manager.
- Socialization is important! Continue regular team meetings, consider taking coffee and lunch breaks with your colleagues virtually; consider virtual happy hours!
- Set up a “designated office space” in your home so that you can separate work from your personal life.
- Remember that you can bring home some of your office equipment .
- How do you avoid distractions? Close doors, use noise canceling headphones, let others know when you need to be left undisturbed.
Health & Wellness
- Don’t forget to move around! Go for a walk or do an online exercise or yoga video.
- Natural light helps keep you energized! Open curtains and windows when possible.
- To help avoid visual exhaustion, try this tip: Every 20 minutes look away for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away.
Managing a Remote Team
Managing a team remotely can feel like a completely different experience. Below are some tips and best practices for managers with a remote team. Also, continue to reference the HR Workplace Guidelines page for the most recent updates to policies and procedures related to COVID-19 and remote work.
Engage Your Team
- Hourly workers should continue to have a regular work schedule; develop a system to check-in at the start and end of the day
- Establish structured daily check-ins with your team members.
- Check in with each team member to understand their needs in a remote environment; consider their position and main responsibilities - have they shifted? Do their work deliverables look different now?
- Establish “rules of engagement” for your team. Share new expectations around participation and responsiveness.
- Be mindful of inclusion and balanced “airtime” in meetings, so that everyone feels seen and heard.
- Offer encouragement and emotional support.
- Remember to offer sick time when needed, and track sick and vacation time off as usual.
Communicate with Your Team
- Consider the complexity and scope of the your communication need and use the best medium or tool.
- Communicate often - your team will want to feel like they know what’s going on and will want to be informed of what everyone is working on - what tools can you leverage?
- What tools do you want to use for certain tasks?
- Zoom, Teamwork Desk & Projects, Google Suite, Slack, CCA Portal
- Set up a team channel using Google Chat to help everyone on your team stay connected and informed.
- Provide several different communication options, such as instant messaging/chat, video, phone calls.
Coaching and Feedback
- Do goals need to be adjusted for certain team members?
- For front-line staff, set clear daily metrics and expectations so that you can track performance.
- Try to make coaching more frequent and consistent - coach both formally and informally.
- Ask for feedback on how you are doing as a remote leader.
- Be consistent in asking for feedback - build it into your 1:1 meetings so that it’s regular and ongoing.
Best Practices for Effective Virtual Meetings
We are all on Zoom even more than before. Have you experienced any of these run-ins yet?
- Open the meeting a few minutes early or spend the first few minutes checking in to see how others are doing.
- Set clear expectations and ground rules for your team during remote meetings:
- Turn off your phones, don’t check emails or multitask, team members should participate
- If it’s a smaller team, suggest not muting
Managing the Meeting
- Set a clear agenda and be sure to pause for interaction every few slides.
- To increase participation, share up front that you would like discussion and input.
- If it’s a larger meeting, you can use the “hand raising” or chat features
- Consider a stretching session during the meeting to break things up and allow for some activity!
- Check out this article on more tips about getting people to actually participate in virtual meetings!
- Redundant communication can be helpful to ensure that people have heard you and are clear with the outcome. Establish multiple checkpoints throughout the meeting.
- Consider following up an important meeting with an email recap.
- As a manager, be mindful of how many meetings you are setting during the day - you don't want to overload your team.
Childcare and Remote Work
With so many childcare facilities and schools closed, many employees are also experiencing working remotely with children at home. Take a look at these tips to help you get through the day!
- Talk to your manager about your needs. Managers should be prepared to be more flexible including flexible hours and schedules.
- As a manager, be mindful of exempt versus non-exempt employees.
- As a manager, communicate expectations around deadlines and if certain meetings need to be uninterrupted. Find out the best times during the day to schedule meetings with the least amount of distraction.
- Try to create structure for your child/children, especially to create spaces of time during the day where you can dedicate your attention solely to them. It can help to create more willingness to give you some space to do work later on.
- Remember that sick time/kin care or vacation time can be used as needed.
- Check out these online tools to keep your children busy during the day or some tips for homeschooling.
- Check out this article for a realistic perspective on life these days with kids at home.
Google Chat Room: Parenting Tips - Remote Work and Childcare
We have created a Google Chat Room to support parents at CCA who are managing remote work and childcare. Our mission is to provide a tool for CCA employees to share, discuss and review helpful tips and best practices in support of remote work and childcare.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating and we’ll invite you to collaborate! In the Room, we can have multiple threads, share files, launch a video meeting in Meet, and search and browse the chat history. For chat group guidelines, please click here.