Remote Work Best Practices In The Face Of COVID-19

As more government agencies follow state directives to implement remote work for their teams in the combat against COVID-19, we wanted to provide some helpful tips for teams transitioning to remote work, based on our experiences...

As more government agencies follow state directives to implement remote work for their teams in the combat against COVID-19, we wanted to provide some helpful tips for teams transitioning to remote work, based on our experiences…

  • Overcommunicate – Always. Get comfortable with being more forward. Don’t make assumptions, always ask. And be specific with regards to the desired outcome, when you need it / time-box, etc.
  • Responsiveness – Even if you’re on a call or busy, if someone’s looking for you or you’re running late to their meeting, let them know with a quick message back about your status. Messaging apps like Slack allow users to configure pre-set statuses like “grabbing a meal”. 
  • Have charitable assumptions – Start by believing in positive intent as both giver and receiver of information.
  • Quick flexibility in mode switching – If you have difficulty resolving an issue after multiple email or chat messages back-and-forth, pick up the phone. It works!

Phone and Video Conference tips:

  • Free tools – Almost all conferencing tools (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangout, Citrix) have free tiers to support smaller teams (same for Slack messaging).
  • Consider having video on for conferencing – Even if you hate it. Video can be critical to giving and receiving non-verbal conversational cues in a remote environment.
  • Lighting – Light the front of your head, not the back! If your lighting is behind you, people will only see a black room with a dark silhouette.
  • Background noise – Highly-sensitive laptop microphones pick up background noise and keystrokes on video conference calls. Do everyone a favor and use a headset when in shared places and mute your audio before typing.

For adults juggling both working remotely and childcare at home – below are free educational resources available online:

Other tips for remaining productive and healthy while working remotely:

  • Wake up at a normal time and establish a morning routine – Before you start working, normalize your day by doing tasks as you would before work in an office. Eat breakfast, have coffee, relax, or meditate.
  • Get dressed for WFH – It can promote a psychological effect where you’re in the mood to be productive.
  • Set your workstation next to a window or somewhere with good natural light – It can help with maintaining a positive mood as you’ll spend most of the day in this spot.
  • Schedule breaks and find ways to infuse necessary breaks in the day (or the same social time you normally would have in the office) – When you’re focused and in the flow of working, it’s very easy to let hours pass by with back-to-back meetings before ever turning away from your computer. Perhaps try to:
    • Set alarms for 15-minute breaks to move, stretch, do a set of pushups, get fresh air and most importantly, to disconnect from tech devices and screens.
    • Call someone on the team instead of emailing or instant messaging (if they are available of course).
    • If possible, move to a different room or area to just sit down, relax, and change the scenery a bit.
  • Stock up on healthy groceries – Feed yourself power food, and make sure you have it on hand so that you never feel stranded or resort to eating junk food simply because there is nothing else.
  • Find little ways to help yourself feel like you’re not living in a box – light a candle, turn on some light music in the background, open a window. It can help!
  • The last rule of co-working with your roommate or spouse – don’t yell out for toilet paper!

Be well and stay safe,

The EcoInteractive Team

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