You might be like me and suddenly thrust into remote work without any training or idea how to do it. If you are new to working remotely, you will gain insight from the Holloway Guide to Remote Work. The book provides insights and information on making the most of working remotely.
In late March 2020, the technology department started working from home, including me. Five months later, it is a smashing success. It is not without its struggles. Not everyone is faring as well. Early on, we passed around articles with tips and tricks. I wondered if there was something better out there. The Holloway Guide to Remote Work is the best resource I have read on working remote.
Looking back at work in an office, it is a wonder how we communicated well at all? Clear communication and expectations are the foundation of success in this new environment. The book focuses on intentionality, transparency, and clarity as to the path of that success.
Communication is difficult! Start with designing a system for how your team and organization will communicate. Communication tools excel in some areas more than others. Use real-time video meetings and a digital whiteboard for discussing abstract ideas. Use email for precise communication. Use chatting, email, forums, documents, and wikis so that your team frees their time from constant meetings providing updates. Phone calls and video are still great for discussions on complex or abstract ideas.
Let task trackers and digital whiteboards do the work of keeping teams up to date on the minutiae. Write down only what matters in a wiki because there is a cost in managing that content. Write down what matters in the documentation and use the OAC principle to maintain that documentation.
The section on remote people management is eye-catching and an excellent resource of modern management advice. Some types of employees can excel in the virtual working environment. A manager must maintain crystal clear expectations between the manager and the employee. A remote manager’s job is to set goals for the employee, coach, and provide corrective feedback. Grow the relationship between manager and employee sharing information about each other. One-on-one meetings are still essential. If you are a manager, this book is worth it for the management tips alone.
Focus on your self-care in a remote working environment. Set boundaries by maintaining a clear work schedule and separate your working environment. Make sure your family members are aware of when you are available. If your hours vary, be transparent with your team and stay accountable for your work and deadlines. If you need help, reach out to your manager and help others that might be struggling with this new change. It is easy to let your calendar book your time for eight hours of synchronous video meetings but reassess if that schedule is necessary. Establishing good remote meeting practices and hygiene can go a long way towards lessening synchronous communication and making the most out of each medium.
Office work is more engaging than interacting through screens. We can make remote work close to working in an office if we take the time. I join my teams throughout the day in various persistent meeting rooms. We continue to laugh and joke about the work and day-to-day events. Remote work does not have to be isolating or lonely. Meeting with your coworkers outdoors and celebrating wins from time to time is vital to surviving this new transition.