Now that we are dealing with COVID-19, a lot of companies are getting their employees to work remotely. For some this will be great and for other who crave social interaction not so great. For me the key thing is making sure that my team feels like a team still.

Keeping the routine going is pretty important. For yourself and your team. There are lots of great posts about this so I will just list the key points.

  • Get up and get ready for work. Do not sit around in your pajamas.
  • Have a work space separate to your daily living. If you have a spare bedroom put a table in there. I even heard of a person using a large walk in closet as a impromptu office.
  • Eat well. If you have lots of snack foods in the kitchen it is easy to graze all day. If it is Girl Scout cookie season lock then somewhere and throw the key away.
  • Stop working at lunch and walk or sit with the family to eat. If there is no one in the house get out for some fresh air or watch a short show or video. Like the list of Ted talks you have been putting off watching for a year because you do not have time.
  • Set working hours and stop for the day. Walking out of your temporary office and close the door or put the laptop away or put a sheet over your monitors.

When it comes to your team there are a few things you can do.

Firstly make sure you keep the same rhythm where possible, if you have a normal morning meeting make it a online meeting. I use Microsoft teams and it is great as it integrates well with the rest of office and makes meeting management and scheduling easy. Microsoft has made teams free during the outbreak to help businesses and educational institutions. Even individuals can get it if they want.

State working hours for the team, if people have to work from home and schools are closed they may have to deal with child care or taking children to different locations during the day. I usually start with core hours of 10am until 4pm, during this time the team should be availble to talk, take a cll or be able to make a meeting. No meetings should be scheduled outside of this window.

If you need to talk about a topic do not book a meeting! Make a chat in teams with the right people and renamed the chat to be the subject of the dicussion. This allows:

  • Ability to add people later with them being able to see the full chat history if needed.
  • People to respond when they are at their computer so they can fit the work around the day.
  • Ability to use a shared whiteboard.

Get them to put a meeting in the calendar for lunch so they have a dedicated block to step away from the computer.

Set up a weekly or even better daily 15-30 minute meeting with a teams channel for social interaction. You can even theme it so one day can be what is the best meme, another is photos of their working environment. On Fridays it can be cocktails hour and make the event at the end of the day.

Any other suggestions if you are managing a team remotely?