19 Golden Tips On Working Virtually

Having worked remotely as team members or as a leader with geographically dispersed teams, there are many lessons learned that we would like to share. 

Over the past 25 years, of being a remote worker and leader, technology has changed significantly in some ways and in others….. not so much. 

When we commenced there was this thing called net meeting, Lync, webcams, now we have Teams and Zoom to name just a couple and Skype, which facilitate face time in a more social environment.

Given there is a significant increase in people working in a decentralised work environment, we want to share 19 tips to more effectively engage with and create a productive remote relationship with either your team members or your leader. 

There is also, so much experience across the globe if you can relate to the tip, in a few words feel free to add to it. 

 

Purpose:

  1. Create a habit of purposeful water cooler chats – schedule checks in’s that would normally occur as people would interact in an office.  It makes people feel included and have a sense of relatedness.

  2. Opportunity to keep business going and connecting with people working from home, throughout Australia or across the globe. 

  3. Can be used to help people “catch up” for a virtual coffee break.

Prepare:

  1. Have a refreshment and dedicated space.

  2. Allow time for people to dial in and test the technology.

  3. Dress for the event – is it an office meeting or catch-up with friends?

  4. What’s behind you creates interest for others.

Conduct:

  1. Agree on etiquette – have people discuss how they want the session to run and what works. 

  2. Incorporate the team culture and desired behaviours into the interactions.  E.g. if a team/organisation value is teamwork, how do you incorporate this into the meeting/ conversation to demonstrate teamwork.  If creativity is a value, encourage how the team can be creative in the current environment.

  3. Encourage people to use the camera – it creates a sense of being in the same room – albeit virtually.

  4. Look at the camera – even remote eye contact makes a connection with people.

  5. The speaker will shift and focus on the loudest noise, so mute when you are not talking and to block out background noise. 

  6. Never put the call on hold – everyone will hear only the music.

  7. Allow time for ‘checking in’ at the beginning of the call – Cover topics in terms of how people are coping with the family at home, what strategies have they employed and can share with the other on the call.  How can you bring respectful humour into the check-in? 

  8. Go around the room at various times during the session to invite people/locations into the conversation – if people know they will be asked questions, it will keep them more engaged as they are not sure when they will be invited in, but they know they will be.  It takes longer, however, minimises distractions, increases engagement and the buy-in is worth it. 

Share information

  1. Explicitly check if people can see your screen when sharing and check for delays in moving pages.

  2. Share the screen as though it was a whiteboard – creating something “live” as people in the meeting discuss or talk creates a sense of inclusion and engagement.

  3. Share the desktop or just specific files.  If you share the desktop, people can see any file that you have open and click on during the meeting, is that your intent?

  4. ………. Readers, what are some other strategies you would like to share?

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