3 Tips for Transitioning to Remote Work

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3 Tips for Transitioning to Remote Work

 

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Amidst the global COVID-19 outbreak, more companies are asking their employees to work from home to maintain social isolation regulations. While working remotely is not a new concept, many businesses are now rapidly transitioning their traditional, in-office teams to remote teams.

Therefore, a transition that would typically be conducted over weeks or months is now happening in a matter of days. We fully understand the concerns over decreased productivity, stifled creativity, and lack of human connection. But we’ve learned—through our 80 combined years of both leading remote teams and working remotely ourselves—that teams can maintain these benefits while also growing and thriving in a remote work environment.

We’ve pulled together three pieces of advice for successful remote work, as well as some work-from-home etiquette.


 

1. Communication

While communication is important in all settings, it’s the foundation for remote teams.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does everyone know what is expected of them? Has leadership clearly communicated their own expectations?

  • Are employees expected to be online at a certain time each day or do they have the flexibility to work when it’s best for them?

  • What meeting rhythms would be helpful for you and your team to align on goals and expectations for the day or week ahead?

  • Have you communicated to your family when you are working and when you are “home?”

Suggestions for success:

  • Use your webcam as much as possible. Naturally, it can be more challenging to read social cues on a conference call, but video interaction helps!

  • If you’re not sure about anything, ask for clarity! Communication on conference calls can be a significant change from face-to-face meetings, and aligning expectations helps everyone.

  • Build your own communication skills and become an even better teammate. With fewer visual cues, lean into this period as an opportunity to become a better listener and practice asking clarifying questions.

  • Use an online tool—such as Trello, Monday.com, Jira, or Asana—to track your team’s progress.

  • Schedule weekly 1:1’s with each of your direct reports and your supervisor. This will give an opportunity to check on progress, provide support and encouragement, and align on goals and tasks for the week.


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2. Stay connected

Transitioning from an in-office setting to a remote environment can feel isolating. We all need human connection—now more than ever.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What can you do to replicate the natural human interaction that your team experiences in the office?  For example, we use a messaging tool called Slack. In addition to business, we also have a channel called #random where we hold conversations about music we are listening to or something fun we did over the weekend. Think of it as a virtual watercooler!

  • How much human interaction do you need to be at your best? This varies significantly from person to person, so it’s important to check in with yourself to prevent burnout.

Suggestions for success:

  • Recognize and honor the needs of your team. Extroverts might struggle more with this transition, so schedule 10-15 minute virtual coffee breaks or lunch meetings with coworkers. Introverts may appreciate fewer interruptions and a quieter working environment. Regardless of personality, we all need human connection to spark creativity, encouragement, and collaboration.

  • This is likely new for both you and your team, so check in often. Ask how others are doing and then really listen.


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3. Embrace “work from home” disciplines (and the perks!)

Questions to ask:

  • What time will you start each day?

  • What part of your day is best for focused, uninterrupted work?

  • What time do you take breaks to eat lunch, workout, and check in with your family?

  • What time will you log off?

Suggestions for Success:

  • Uninterrupted time is critical for productivity. Save phone calls or conference calls for urgent needs or planned meetings. If it’s not urgent, lean into the discipline of writing down your thoughts. Our model looks like this: phone for an immediate need, Slack for a response within one hour, and email if the topic can wait 24 hours.

  • We all love sweatpants, but getting dressed and making the bed are valuable habits to establish consistency and a fresh mind.

  • Enjoy the flexibility and freedom that comes with remote work! Get some fresh air, go for a walk, or close your eyes for 30 min.


As you and your team lean into this unique method of work, remember that it comes with its own set of etiquette rules. Here are a few I like to keep in mind:

  • Use headphones for video calls. Webcam and laptop microphones can cause echoes.

  • Test your audio and/or video before a call.

  • When on conference calls with more than a couple of people, mute when you’re not speaking.

  • Avoid loud and busy locations during a conference call.

  • Be respectful of time. If a call is planned for one hour, do not go over without giving people an opportunity to jump off the call respectfully.

  • Be on time for meetings.

We believe that you and your team can thrive during this transition to remote work, and we’d love to hear from you about how you’re navigating this experience.


At Augusto, many of our employees work remotely on a daily basis, which means we understand both the joys and challenges of your transition. We’d love to chat via phone or email with you to answer any questions you may have about organizing a remote workforce. In this time of isolation, let’s stay connected!

 

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