Working Remotely: Tips and Resources
Many of the tips and resources in this section draw from Facebook and their Working Remotely: How We Make It Work, and Remote Work Tips guidance. They are intended to help you do your best work, wherever you’re working.
Work from Home Set-up:
- Make sure your remote working space is properly set-up to be productive and collaborate effectively. Create a long-term comfortable and effective place to work. Ideally a desk or a tabletop surface with a comfortable chair or standing desk with mat.
- Architectural Digest’s tips on creating a WFH set-up here
- Prioritize high-speed and dependable internet
- If you are having issues with your setup, your company’s IT team can likely be used as a resource. Employers should provide a small subsidy for employees in their paycheck.
- Office Operations or Human Resources teams can serve as a resource for employees to attain the equipment they need for easy communication and collaboration
- Suggested equipment: External monitor, keyboard, mouse
- Optional equipment: Webcam, laptop stand
Respect everyone’s work boundaries
- To ensure that your work boundaries are respected, specify your preferred working hours with your manager/team and other teammates you work closely with. Set up your calendar to reflect your preferred work hours.
- Shifting your working hours to help you manage work and life is fine, as long as your team knows your plan.
- When communicating with team members, choose the appropriate time to follow up:
- If you are messaging someone outside of their work hours, consider saving your message as a draft and sending it at another time. You may not expect an instantaneous follow up, but some people may feel pressured to respond.
- Communicating: Establish boundaries so people don’t feel as if they have to be available 24/7. To control this, try setting up “no call or email” hours during which employees have to take a break from communications.
- Create focus time for yourself and set up calendar blocks to work uninterrupted.
- Slack best practices:
- Utilize the status function. For example, when you are eating lunch, set your Slack status to lunch so your team knows you won’t reply immediately.
- Muting notifications when you log off at the end of the day to help maintain balance.
- Other tools to help manage time:
- Both Google Calendar and Slack allow you to set work hours.****
Communicate effectively and often
- There is no such thing as over communicating when working remotely!
- Without face-to-face interaction, communication has to be very intentional. Consistently communicate your progress and outcomes to those you work closely with.
- One suggestion is to track projects more granularly in Asana so every step is accounted for.
- Additionally, Slack can be used for status updates, casual check-ins, and general conversation.
- Choose the right communication channel
- For quick questions or updates, consider a group or 1:1 online chat
- For teams with different schedules, shared documents help the team work asynchronously
- For quick conversations, Zoom video chat or Slack call are the easiest options
- Note: Have hard conversations over video chat with the camera on
- Collaboration: Whiteboarding/Brainstorming Tools
- Zoom/whiteboard (free with Zoom): The whiteboard feature will allow you to share a whiteboard that you and other participants (if allowed) can annotate on.
- Vscode’s live share (download available here): Live Share enables your team to quickly collaborate on the same codebase without the need to synchronize code or to configure the same development tools, settings, or environment.
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Manage your meetings: Structured meetings with clear outcomes help people stay productive and connected.
- Structure meetings with clear outcomes to help people stay productive and connected
- Be mindful of schedules and timezones
- Try to schedule meetings when attendees’ preferred working hours overlap
- Try not to schedule meetings over people’s lunch hour (12pm-1pm)
- Ask in advance if you need to schedule over lunches, blocks, etc.
- Avoid last-minute changes or cancellations
- Ensure that meetings have a clear goal and agenda, that can’t be discussed or solved asynchronously
- Review the Bolt meeting practices playbook for more tips and guidelines.
Prioritize inclusion: Be aware of the subtle ways people may feel left out
- Be aware of the subtle ways people may feel left out
- Help bring people up-to-speed, especially those who are new to the team or conversation
- Allow everyone to be heard
- To make sure everyone has a chance to speak, get comfortable with longer pauses in conversation.
- Ask specific people to provide input to facilitate productive conversations
- Make time to have casual 1:1s (15-30 mins) to get to know others on your team and across the company. Reach out to your manager if you want suggestions of who to meet.
Take care of yourself: Working remotely can blur the lines between work and personal life. Don’t forget to prioritize your mental and physical well-being.
- Prioritize your mental and physical well-being
- Build a daily work routine and stick to it
- Take breaks
- Create reminders to get up from your seat, eat, and get outside.
- To allow time to transition between back to back meetings shorten them by 5 minutes
- Build community with your teammates
- Show support for those who might need it, make time and space for fun and informal connections and make it a practice to check in with each other.
- Schedule a virtual hangout, take an online fitness class together,
- Create a channel to share work from home (WFH) tips or stories
- Take your weekends and your vacations. Working remotely can blur the lines between work and personal life.
Connect with coworkers on an individual level.
- Engage with your colleagues and consider that everyone is dealing with a lot these days; be sure to ask, listen, and empathize.
- Try using Slack in ways that help mitigate our loss of kitchen or “watercooler” conversations, and don’t forget to have periodic personal discussions with your colleagues live, too.
- Slack channels such as #non-work and #remote-work are great for casual conversations!
- Donuts! This is a capability within Slack that pairs employees with someone random for a quick coffee chat once a month. Encourage your employees to participate in this feature.
- Set up a 1:1 with new hires to introduce yourself and tell them about what you do.
- Attend virtual team-building events (like Trivia, Q+A sessions, Virtual Happy Hours, Affinity group activities, etc)
- Whenever possible, connect with other teams. Leverage your company’s Human Resources, People Operations, Employee Experience teams for help. Develop remote work skills.
- Attend skills-based training that may be offered by your Learning and Development team.
- Skills that may be especially useful in a WFH environment include:
- Communication: While working remotely, update your team more consistently on your progress.
- Being Proactive: In a WFH environment, many topics won’t come up organically. Be proactive about flagging issues, proposing solutions, gathering information, etc.
- Balance: If you feel like you are spending all your time working, balance your life and develop strategies to turn work off.
- Time Management: Planning your days and using your time effectively can also help support work-life balance.
Working Remotely: Tips and Resources for Managers
Keep your team connected and engaged
- Encourage your team to coordinate virtual hangouts/events.
- While working remotely, teams must be intentional about facilitating informal communication. In the office, this happens organically but online, it does not.
- Suggest 1:1s for your team to meet with other Bolters, especially new team members.
- Kickstart weekly fun challenges (ie pushup challenge, scavenger hunt)
- If you have a larger team, make yourself available via office hours
- More WFH ideas here.
Demonstrate that you care: Reach out often to check in and offer support
- Check in, reach out, and offer support – often.
- Use 1:1 time to make sure people have everything they need to do their best work and take care of themselves and their loved ones.
- Devote time to fostering relationships with your team
- Help your team avoid burnout by encouraging them to take time off as needed, to get regular exercise, and establish boundaries between home and work.
- Model good balance. By doing it yourself, you are reinforcing and sharing what’s working for you and what’s not.
- Avoid last-minute updates to meetings. Caregivers may not be able to accommodate sudden changes in schedule.