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Tips and Tricks for Teleworking and Remote/Virtual Teams

Working from home this week has been "business as usual" for me as I have been working remotely for the past five years. Working from home was not originally by choice as I am an extrovert and I get my energy from being around people. At the time I had accepted a new job but didn't realize they did not have a physical office in Prince Edward Island (PEI), so the default was work from home. As I had never worked from home before I had to think fast and get into high gear quickly to ensure I was set up and ready to hit the ground running. The first few weeks were challenging, however in time I ended up finding out what worked well for me so that I could get things done efficiently and effectively, while keeping my energy levels up as an extrovert. 

Since many of you are working remotely these days due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, I wanted to share with you my tips and tricks for teleworking and remote/virtual teams. I delivered a presentation back in 2018, and these are some highlights.

NOTE: Not all of these tips may be possible for you to implement if you are going to be teleworking for a short duration, but I am hoping you can adapt and modify to meet your needs, and to get some ideas. You can back-pocket the other tips if you plan to work remotely in "normal circumstances" in the future.

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And a few more miscellaneous tidbits:

Favourite tips to avoid procrastination: Focusmate, Pomodoro Technique

What I listen to: majority of time pure silence, however if I want some background I listen to Radio Player app (French radio), The Tim Ferris Show, Goop podcast, and classical study music (google play) when I need to be laser focused.

My Routines: Getting at least 250 steps every hour (fitbit reminder at 10 minutes to the hour), drinking lots of water, getting outside for fresh air, exercising daily, virtual and/or in-person coffee dates.

Here's my minimalist workspace (showcasing Bridget's International Womxn's Day desktop backgrounds) and of course Max! 

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                                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Teleworking isn't everyone's cup of tea, now is your chance to try it out and see if you can determine what works best for you. We are all different so what works for me, may not work for you. Try different things until it feels right.

I would love to hear some of your telework tips and tricks, and how you are finding the experience so far. Stay safe and be well ♡

 

20 comments

Mirek Community Leader Mar 19, 2020

Whatever I work remotely I try to not sit at home (if possible). Usually I get outside sitting in the garden or at least balcony. At least it is better to breath with fresh air listen to nature and get positive energy than sit at home all the time. It is only hard on winter time or too hot, so upcoming time (spring) is the best to take full benefit of it.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Mar 19, 2020

Amazing presentation @Jodi LeBlanc!  I also love your desk companions!

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Wow, that a lot.
But I have the next 2 weeks ore more to test it during homeoffice.

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Jack Community Leader Mar 19, 2020 • edited

Here are some best practices and thoughts we can use to formulate our communication to remote workers. Before we get started with best practices lets list a few items you likely will need to work remotely.

  • Computer (desktop or laptop) - If you don’t have one that you can take home open a IT ticket for IT to assist.
  • Phone - You can take home your desk phone if you like but will need an Ethernet connection for this. If you have one plugged into your PC you can easily remove, plug into the phone and then out of your phone back into your PC. You can also use the soft-client if you have a speaker and microphone on your PC. Of course a mobile phone is an option. If you go this path be sure to forward your work phone to your mobile while remote. Note that the client is a great tool as you can use 4-digit dialing and easily find the person’s number in the directory.
  • VPN - Be sure to work with IT to ensure you have VPN client setup on your PC and understand how to use it.
  • TEAMS - Be sure that you have Teams setup an know how to use it. This is an invaluable tool for remote workers and Fortress is embracing it more and more every day.
  • Windows Virtual Desktop (optional but recommended in many cases) - This solution allows you to log into a cloud instance of your desktop environment and in many cases is a much improved experience over VPN and especially Remote Desktop. Again, speak w/ IT to learn more or open a ticket to have them set you up.
  • Printer (rare) - You really should not require a printer and we recommend avoiding printing if at all possible. If it is an occasional need then you can use your home printer. If you must have a printer for your job please discuss with IT.

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this is awesome! Thanks for sharing Jodi :)

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Thanks everyone! Also thanks Mirek and Jack for sharing your tips and tricks - greatly appreciated! :)

This is very strange, I am logged in as my main Atlassian account that I use every day, but when I comment it is using my dormant account to respond (see above).  

Something I started doing for meetings.  With the video on, people are seeing you.  But since people are used to seeing "nodding heads" as a sign that you're on board, they may not see that as well since the camera angles can make decerning those micro movements.

So, make index cards with small phrases like "YES!!!", "Great job!", "Maybe...", "No".

Make them fun with colors and designs, making sure that the video can capture their detail.

Like Jodi LeBlanc likes this

After 3 days at home I still miss my big table in the office.

The good thing is that I could also take my equipment like my 2 big monitors at home.
I also have software for phone an desktop sharing and the internet ist fast enough to handle it all.

But I am really happy to have a separate work space at home.
Can't imagine how you can handle it without a separate space but with childen / family.

Like Jodi LeBlanc likes this

Thank you so much @Jodi LeBlanc for this great article! We just crashed into Home Office/Remote Work because of Corona and I looked for inspiration - awesome.

We are working on some kind of a fast Home Office How to for workers because for some older people it's totally new and I really forgot our team leaders.... 

Like Jodi LeBlanc likes this

Thanks so much @Fabienne Gerhard - I hope your team is getting along well with working remotely, would love to read your Home Office How To once you have it ready :)

Like Fabienne Gerhard likes this

Would love to share it @Jodi LeBlanc - we hope for a breakthrough this week for a first draft we can show to our leaders or even to board member. Things are moving fast!

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and inspiring everyone.

Like Jodi LeBlanc likes this

Thanks @Fabienne Gerhard for your kind words! Congrats to you in taking a leadership role in equipping your team with the tools to work remotely during these difficult times.

Yes I agree @Alexander Pappert - how are you getting along working remotely this week? Sounds like you have the tools you need for an ergo setup, and having that separate space really enables you to turn work off, instead of being on 24/7.

Like Alexander Pappert likes this

Great idea @Michael Soh _AUG_ -would love to see a screen shot of you using the index cards, as a visual - if you have one that is. It may inspire others to do the same and create their own cards.

Glad that you are getting outside while working Mirek, fresh air does a world of good. I look forward to to days when I will be able to do that, the snow is almost gone and the temperatures are rising. Won't be long :)

Like Mirek likes this
Mirek Community Leader Apr 03, 2020

Yes, @Jodi LeBlanc that is true. I am just hoping that situation would calm down and we would not need to stay home at summer..

Like Jodi LeBlanc likes this

@Mirek yes I sure hope things return to normal soon.

FUN MAN ANDY Community Leader May 29, 2020

Boy oh BOY! I do sure love a cleared and uncluttered desk. That just looks BEAUTIFUL ! ! 💙💻🏆

For people who wants to give pomodoro technique a try, we've published a free Jira Cloud plugin:

https://marketplace.atlassian.com/apps/1222375/domat-pomodoro-for-jira

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