Making Remote Work a Success
Training and Resources
Information is available to help effectively manage and collaborate within remote teams using technology available to all University employees.
Suggested learning modules through the Learning Resource Network and Penn State IT.
- Managing Virtual Teams
- Learning Zoom
- Host a Zoom Meeting or Webinar Quick Start Guide
- Microsoft Teams Essential Training
Articles related to making remote work a success.
- Coronavirus Could Force Teams to Work Remotely
- Staying productive while working remotely with Microsoft Teams
- How to Collaborate Effectively If Your Team Is Remote
There are various resources available to help employees through this time including tips for how to manage our own reaction to the psychological effects of the COVID-19 situation and other general tips. Employees will need to create an account to login to these resources.
Five tips to support one another in a remote working environment
- 1. Set Up Your Work Space and Normalize New Work Environments
It’s critical to our productivity that we all take the time to set up a work space that will allow us to engage. This does not need to be a fully equipped home office, but we should each take the time to designate our work area and set-up our surroundings in a way that will help us be productive and comfortable.
We should make efforts to understand everyone’s new surroundings and normalize the natural differences in what we all may be dealing with while working remotely such as background noise from roommates, kids, animals, or whatever we may have in our surroundings. The Harvard Business review article, Coronavirus Could Force Teams to Work Remotely, gives great suggestions for how to execute on this take away.
- 2. Communicate Clearly and Often
Communication is important always and remote teams are no exception. Here are some suggestions for how to communicate effectively in support of remote work.
- Set communication norms and expectations (everything from finding ways to indicate when folks should expect to be online to signals for how quick a turnaround is needed on any particular communication).
- Talk about team schedules and availability and find ways to share that information with others consistently via status messages, calendar sharing, and other tools
- Setting and resetting individual and team goals and expectations
- This seems very important right now as the situation is unprecedented and ever changing.
- Set routine meeting times and stick to them, allowing space for folks to share what they are working on and stumble upon opportunities to collaborate.
- Create documentation of team processes and provide access to work flows and process documents for members of the team to access at any time.
- 3. Promote Inclusivity
This again is work that is important in any setting but can present unique challenges (and opportunities) in remote teams. Some additional tips:
- Be proactive about planning time in meetings for questions and comments (for larger meetings) and design smaller meetings in a way that seeks out input from all participants to ensure that all voices are being heard.
- Keep everyone in mind when assigning tasks and make sure that you are leveraging the full skills of the team not just a few “go to” people.
- Use various communication methods and humanize communication when possible via video conferences and person to person calls rather than communicating strictly via email to allow for all voices to be heard.
- 4. Keep It Fun
- Create the virtual watercooler, whether through time at the start of meetings to ask how people are doing or via GIFs, phone calls and video chats.
- Honor team traditions: Who says that team lunch can’t be done via video chat with everyone supplying their own lunch?
- 5. Unplug
When working remotely, it can be hard to make the distinction between work time and down time. In order for us to be effective (and healthy), we have to get the appropriate rest, exercise, and mental recuperation time we need.
This is particularly the case in this situation, where many of us are at risk of burnout and let’s face it, we are people and we are experiencing stress in many aspects of lives right now.
Training and Available Resources
Many of us are adjusting to working remotely for the first time. Remember that, like all adjustments, this will take time to figure out. University Training is available on a variety of topics including remote work and technology that can assist you in collaboration while remote. You may access training through the University’s Learning Resource Network or LinkedIn Learning. Some suggestions for online training that may be useful across many college positions can be found in the collection created by HHD HR.
If you would like to talk to a member of the HR team, please feel free to reach out and schedule a time.