“Remote work” and “work from home” have become bigger buzzwords since the COVID-19 pandemic. But remote work isn’t a new concept.  Before the Industrial Revolution, everyone worked from the comforts of their houses.  Skilled potters, blacksmiths, carpenters, and leather workers would set up shop right by their doorstep.

When the Industrial Revolution arrived, machines and large-scale productions required workers to perform tasks on-site.  Eventually, people began commuting to workspaces. Fast forward to post WW2, advancement in computers and digital technology paved the way for remote workers as we know it.  Personal computers shrank in size and price.  When the internet and WiFi found its way into homes, it redefined remote work even more.

Working away from the office space is no longer confined to sitting eight hours in front of your laptop at home.  It also means being able to access work whilst traveling the world (as with digital nomads), or via smartphone on a secluded beach. Virtual workers can work all hours of the day, anywhere in the world thanks to the internet.

3 Tips for Team Leaders and Team Members Now Faced With Remote Work

Working remotely is second nature… IF your work requires you to do so all the time.  Having to transition to remote work in a snap can feel unnerving even for the tech-savvy!  The change is unsettling, to say the least.  If you find yourself having to switch gears while waiting out a lockdown, here are a few tips from remote team veterans for both leaders and team members.

 Remote Work Tip #1:  Don’t expect the arrangement to feel “normal”.

Your environment has shifted.  Be comforted knowing that no one has anticipated this sudden shift to working from home.  This means that managers can’t expect the same type of engagement.  Team members, on the other hand, can’t expect their team leaders to know how to manage remotely either.

It isn’t as easy as we all think. Sure. Productivity apps. No big deal, right?  Wrong.  It takes a while to get used to a remote working arrangement because the level of communication takes on a different nature.  For starters, team leaders may need to have regular checkpoints (as you would in an office setup) more frequently.  Managers would have to give very detailed instructions to give employees the support they need.  Further, the working hours may not be the same.  Your 9 to 5 may morph into an 11 to 9 with no breaks in between.

Remote Work Tip #2:  Get creative with brainstorming.

How do you do whiteboard sessions without a whiteboard?  Will it feel the same via video conferencing?

While online whiteboards such as Miro, Sketchboard, Conceptboard, and Explain Everything get the job done, nothing beats face-to-face brainstorming sessions. To make up for the change, brainstorm alone or in smaller groups. Then go for the bigger session later.

Invite everyone in the team to participate. Tackle one issue at a time. To keep everyone on track, keep an image, chart or graphic for easier reference and focus.

Remote Work Tip #3:  Simulate your office culture as much as you can.

The biggest concern “newly locked down and working from home” employees have is how to keep the vibe.  How do you keep building morale and engagement? How do you keep feelings of isolation at bay?

The office can be a fun place.  You spent a large chunk of your waking hours in this community. Thus, the physical act of going to work gives you a sense of purpose.

A good solution is setting aside time and space for socialization – the social equivalent of quick conversations by the coffeemaker.  Set aside a chat room and a time for lighthearted chitchat.  Some teams schedule a movie day where everyone gets to stream the same move and chat about it. The key is to find remote ways and means to recreate the office vibe.

Now that you are faced with remote work, our plan is to provide a series of tips and strategies.  In our next blog we discuss, how to keep work sacred when working from home.

Care for some additional Remote Work Tips and Strategies?

The following resources are available to add to this conversation:

How to Implement Social Distancing Strategies While Running Your Small Business

Group Norm Facilitation for Remote Teams – New Virtual Workshop for leaders and team members. Contact TIGERS Success Series for more information. 

TIGERS Micro-Training Platform for teams and leaders

Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

Project Team CultureAbout TIGERS Success Series, Inc.

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