Joe Aston

Management Consultant

  • Capability Development
  • Change Management
  • Communications
  • People Management

24 Mar, 2020

Top 10 Tips For Effective Remote Working

With Covid-19 disrupting our ways of living and working, both employees and business’ have no alternative but to adapt to alternative ways of working and collaborating. For many, this now means adapting to remote working.

In these changing times, there are many ways to ensure smooth transition to a digital workforce without hindering efficiency, productivity and morale.

  1. Set up your home work space.
    1. Having a dedicated area allows you mentally engage your working brain and step away from the fact that you are indeed at home.
    2. Try to make this space as distraction free as possible i.e. no TVs, not on the sofa, try to make it feel like work.
    3. For those of you with children setting up a workplace environment without distraction, will be much harder. Communicate this with your team, establish working hours that work for your team and your family. 9-5 need no longer apply, if you can agree this with your colleagues and management without hindering efficiency and output.
  2. Set up your Virtual Workplace
    1. Microsoft Teams for example is a virtual workplace that enables: 
      1. collaboration through teams, sharing documents and in team conversations relating specifically to that team’s topic.
      2. Video calls: seeing other places allows for a human connection.
      3. Chat: beyond the team groups, chat allows for further connection with your colleagues, a space to talk beyond the scope of team topics include ‘fun’ Pictures, GIFs etc.
  3. Map and agree your working hours as a team
    1. With a dispersed team, childcare responsibilities and possible global workforce across multiple time zones it is important to agree the working hours that work for the team.
    2. There will be ‘Golden Hours’ when all the team are within acceptable and productive working hours - maximise these times for collaboration calls, update meetings etc.
    3. Schedule time without distraction, where you can be the most productive.
  4. Introduce good meeting hygiene:
    1. Have clearly defined roles, most importantly who is leading the call.
    2. In the meeting invite, share any pre-read materials and define roles and outcomes.
    3. On the call, the host should again define the purpose, roles and outcomes for the call and steer its direction throughout.
    4. Who is on the call and why? Keep it concise, only include people who will help you achieve the outcomes required from the meeting.
    5. The host should control the flow of the conversation, driving back to the pre-defined outcomes.
    6. Always finish with reviewing outcomes and defining next steps.
  5. Allow more time to achieve what you would in person, prioritise tasks and define goals.
  6. Dedicating regular virtual ‘space’ for celebrating team achievements and recognising personal milestones. Bonding over personal achievements outside of work is vital for creating a sense of belonging.
  7. Video makes a huge difference to virtual engagement – in today’s day and age it’s easy to rely solely on chat applications but by insisting on calls and video conferencing, you open more opportunities for communication and engagement and making relationship’s more real and connected.
  8. As a team leader, even in a virtual environment, it is important to design effective virtual interactions and ensure full involvement from everyone throughout. Make time for each team member and check-in from time to time. In a remote-working environment, it’s all too easy for people to heel isolated and mental-health to be affected. Now more than ever it is vital for everyone to feel part of a team/ community/ family.
  9. It’s worth rotating the role of facilitation around the group, with a different person “leading” each agenda item, or each edition of a daily/weekly meeting. This will help with empowering employees and boosting morale and engagement.
  10. Go Paperless! The technology exists, so use it. Not only will it speed up time but it also has benefits for the environment.

Joe Aston

Management Consultant

As change leadership consultant and coach, I enable leaders and teams to positively 'disrupt', lead change and navigate uncertainty – while thriving and performing at their best.

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