12 tips for staying connected when working apart

16.04.20

by Alice Shearring

Just because a team is apart doesn’t mean it’s not a team. Our Senior HR Director, Alice Shearring, shares her tips for anyone looking to remain united while they work remotely

16.04.20

by Alice Shearring

Just because a team is apart doesn’t mean it’s not a team. Our Senior HR Director, Alice Shearring, shares her tips for anyone looking to remain united while they work remotely

Working remotely doesn’t mean you are on your own. Whether you work for yourself or you’re part of an organization of any size, there will always be opportunities to connect with others. As we traverse the coming weeks with more people working from home, I wanted to share some tips that may help you to adapt to this ‘new normal’.

#1 Take and create opportunities to connect

Just because you’re not sharing your usual desk with colleagues doesn’t mean you’re not a valued part of the team. When working in an office, it can be easy to take spontaneous moments of communication for granted – whether coffee trips, chats about weekend plans, or simple ‘happy birthdays’ from colleagues.

It may feel strange for these moments to be cut, but we’re in a world where tools make it so much easier to connect. Think online chat systems, social media, or even good old-fashioned email – whatever you have at your disposal, now’s the time to use it.

Changes you can make today:

  • Set up a weekly virtual coffee morning. You can talk about the week ahead without having to queue for your favorite blend
  • Don’t be afraid to shout about successes and share a daily or weekly roundup with your team to highlight the good news!
  • Establish or get involved in any non-work related all-company group chats via your online communication tools to ensure you remain connected
  • Where possible, set up video calls rather than sending emails. This can not only help you to up your quota of human interaction, it can also ensure any messages or requests aren’t lost in translation

#2 Establish a new routine

Daily routines can add structure to our lives and keep us grounded. Although much of your habits will have changed (i.e. no daily commute), it’s important to try to use this time to establish a new routine that fits with your adjusted way of living.

Changes you can make today:

  • Stick to or set working hours for the week ahead so you have a clear goal and something to aim for. Try to avoid ‘dipping into’ work at other times
  • Find a place to work, ideally somewhere that you can keep separate from your ‘downtime’. This can help you get in the zone in the morning and unwind at the end of the day
  • Set regular lunch breaks, again to help you build structure into your days

#3 Talk openly

Changing your working location can in itself be difficult, but many also are juggling work with other challenges like caring for young children, or fighting feelings of worry, isolation, and loneliness. We all have up days and down days and it’s important to not suffer in silence, but reach out for help or advice.

Changes you can make today:

  • Pinpoint team members in similar situations to you and set up calls to share your current challenges (and solutions)
  • Reach out to HR or your line manager if you are struggling and be open about your feelings and concerns

#4 Uncover new opportunities

With new challenges can also come new opportunities. It can be a time to take stock and evaluate current working processes, ideas, or ways of working. Is there a different approach? Are there other people you can connect with? Are there any elements of your work that you’re doing simply because you always have? If so, is there a different path you can take? Remember, this is temporary – are you fully prepared for when the world begins to return to a more familiar place?

Changes you can make today:

  • Set up a video call with someone in your team or wider network who you have lost touch with
  • Set up an online ideas session to see if there’s any way you can adapt your current processes. You can read about our Design Hustles for inspiration
  • Are you passionate about a given topic? This time could be the opportunity to set up live web sessions or online webinars to spark debate throughout your team

Do you have any tips for working in remote teams that you find helpful? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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