Our Blog



Working remotely: the human view

I consider myself incredibly lucky that I can work remotely and I guess I have taken it a little for granted. In these incredibly challenging times we need to look after each other and make sure that we remain connected; not just technically but emotionally. I've captured a few considerations for those of you leading teams and a few of my tips as someone who has worked from home for many years.

Working remotely: the human view

Be flexible with working times

Some of your team will have children, dependents who are going to need their attention. They may need to start earlier, take a long break during the day etc. It is important that we get the work completed, but there is an opportunity to be flexible and pragmatic.

Video over voice

This literally came up in a call this morning, where one of my team expressed a need to 'see' the people on the call. Looking someone in the eyes is still an important psychological need and we should encourage the use of video over voice wherever possible.

Redesign the watercooler moments

I have given my team a 'meme of the week' challenge to encourage some fun and social interaction via one of our Teams channels. The physical interaction that comes from those chats over the watercooler, the coffee machine etc, are important to our emotional sense of connection to our colleagues. So whether it’s a scheduled check-in, a Yammer group to share photos of your new workspace, or a Teams channel dedicated to social chats – we need to support our team with ways to connect emotionally.

The un-Friday Friday

For many of us, Friday afternoons are our social get together and wind-down moments, but when we are all working remotely how do you do this? Well, you can all dial in to a virtual Friday catchup – the 'un-Friday' Friday where you can still check in and talk – it will be a little more stilted, especially if you have a large group but I'm sure that we can make it work. Try having a bit of structure like a quiz to keep the fun going and encourage some light relief.

Communicate well and often

If you are relying on things like email or intranet posts, you need to make sure that any of your communications are clear and unambiguous. Through the written word, we can’t assess tone or see you to read your non-verbal communications, so extra care is needed.

As an alternative, start the day with a short video update (especially during times of high need) so that your team can be reassured about what's happening and can see you.

Provide the necessary tools

There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to access the information you need to do your job, or starting a document and then getting 'kicked off' your system. As team leaders, it is really important that we have the tools and technologies in place to support our teams. Many people have technology at home already (keyboards, extra monitors, etc), but don't assume that everyone has this or even has a reliable connection.

Take the opportunity to check and be prepared to respond to the most critical needs.

What are your tips?

We are all going through an unprecedented event at the moment, but I am incredibly proud of my team for their care of each other, the positive 'can-do' attitude that they have displayed and some of the innovative ideas that the team have come up with.

There's a really good article here on how to be productive when you're working from home in normal circumstances that is well worth a read also - but I'd be really keen to hear your experiences and tips for everyone else.

Stay strong, everyone. Look after yourselves and each other. Kia Kaha.


This blog is part of the #ReimagineWork series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download our datasheets, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download our datasheets, click the banner #datareimagine

Posted by: Paula Smith, Practice Manager, Modern Workplace  | 14 April 2020

Tags: Contingency Plan, Continuity Plan, COVID-19, Emergency Response, Remote work, Windows Virtual Desktop, #ReimagineWork

Top Rated Posts

Blog archive

Stay up to date with all insights from the Empired blog