Over the last few weeks many professionals have had to shift to Work From Home (WFH) arrangements, and other remote working approaches. This article focuses on seven areas which will help teams to thrive while they are distributed.

  • Focus on the end result.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Make things explicit and clarify expectations.
  • Set yourself up for remote work success.
  • Find a routine that works for you and those around you.
  • Consider the routine which is going to work best for the team
  • Stay connected.

Focus on the end result. As Stephen Covey encouraged us decades ago, “start with the end in mind”. What will success look like? When our team is working in different locations and we don’t see each other unless planned, it’s critical to be specific with the end result and what’s expected as output. What does everyone understand as key goals for the month? This quarter? Are we building in regular checkpoints and check ins to see how it’s going?

Being clear and concise is critical for teams in remote conversations. We all hear things in different ways. Consider a key message you need to deliver. Re-read it and think of it from the perspective of those who it’s going out to. Is there a call to action? Is the communication clear? Are parameters specified? How will others on your team read your message?

Make Things Explicit and Clear. In the remote space it’s important to specify, clarify and not assume things. This ranges from clarifying your communication, to clarifying expectations. As a remote work team it can be critical to discuss questions such as:

  • What are the expectations about “being on”?
  • When and how is work completed?
  • What are the expectations around workflow and communication?

Be explicit around the quality of work, hours of work, work responsibilities, and connections that exist across the team.

Practically and tactically, create time to set yourself up for remote work success. Find a dedicated workspace which is secure and as private as possible. Consider the minimums to ensure lighting, power, and privacy. Check out connectivity. Clarify security. What support and feedback do others need on the team?

Find the routine that works for you and those around you. You may not be alone in working from home. What’s important to those around you?  What are your colleagues working arrangements? How does your work interface into others? What items might other team members be waiting on from you? The temptation of getting “something done quickly around the house” can be great. Like in the office, set a formal start and end time, and be sure to take breaks on a regular basis.

Just as in the face-to-face context, it’s important to stay connected. Given that you can’t drop by someone’s desk or see each other at the water cooler, it is important to be proactive with communication with your boss and your colleagues. Get into the practice of setting an established meeting time and create routines. It’s easy to say, “We won’t meet because we aren’t all here”. Teams that excel focus on both RESULTS and RELATIONSHIPS. Meetings are important for both of these tasks. Staying connected may also involve informal meetings such as co-working sessions or virtual “lunch and learns” to cultivate the sharing of other tasks and projects you are working on.

Adopt the mantra that “out of sight does not mean out of mind”. Think about how communication and meetings can be proactive, intentional, and keep to time!

What is going to help you be most productive and efficient as a team as you work in the remote workspace?