How to Stay Connected as a Distributed Team: 7 Tried-and-True Tips for Remote Working
One month into the fight against Covid-19, and we’re just beginning to discover what it’s really like to be at home while staying productive and connected to our colleagues and customers.
While it will take months to fully understand the impact of Covid-19, one thing is certain: this global crisis is creating a new, more intensive digital reality for most of us, and the world of work is undergoing radical change. The efficiency and speed of a digitally connected world is expanding what is possible for everyone. By 2025, more than 70 percent of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
Amid this uncertainty, our team has been compelled to share important advice on how to make the most of remote working. Because to keep things up and running during tough times, innovation becomes a necessity, not a luxury.
While working from home is a welcomed change for a lot of people, there’s more to it than waking up and turning on your laptop. Our seasoned team of remote employees around the world share their top tips on how to navigate this new normal.
1. The key to success is still relationship building
These are difficult times, not just for Delphix but for our customers and partners all around the world. It’s not surprising to know that almost every company’s focus has shifted towards business continuity efforts. What I've found helpful is reminding myself that there’s more opportunity than ever to build and maintain relationships even if I’m not meeting a customer in-person or working side-by-side with colleagues. Since being in quarantine, I've organized and attended virtual “Lunch and Learns” with partners and customers to find smart and meaningful ways to connect on- and offline because at the end of the day, every interaction counts.
Henry Wong, Channel Partners, San Diego
2. When times are tough, innovate like never before
Necessity is the mother of invention! It is adversity that forces us to think outside the box to solve problems. At Delphix, making innovation part of our standard approach has empowered each and every one of us, especially in customer success, to thrive, especially during this resource-constrained environment. In partnership with the Education & Experience team, we’ve been opening up virtual user group spaces through micro communities to create a direct, collaborative line of communication between the customer and all of us at Delphix. Not only have we curated libraries of videos, documents, and tools that can be referenced at any time by our customers, but we’re also running meetings and workshops directly in the community to keep the energy and conversations going. It becomes extremely challenging for projects to prosper when budgets are shrinking, but the best time to innovate is always.
Will Rahim, Customer Success, Redwood City
3. Keep a daily log
Before the start of each day, I prioritize up to five to six items I wanted to achieve, and this allows me to know exactly where to begin and end my day. In the beginning, it’s likely that you’ll be overly ambitious, and that is okay. After a week or two, you might just find yourself appending more items to the list towards the end of your workday, or even end a little bit early to reward yourself. At the end of each work day, I’ll mark off all the things I’ve completed in green and the tasks that have yet to be completed in yellow. This serves two purposes for me, it gives me a sense of completion each time I achieve something, but it also makes it easy to see that you’re trending towards a healthy number of goals over time.
Robin Rye, Engineering, Sweden
4. Embrace the webcam
The ability to work and connect with one another across miles of space is a modern day miracle, but in this digital age it becomes easy to trade human interaction for convenience. Slack, text, and email are all useful ways to communicate with teammates, colleagues, and customers but much can be lost in translation. Leverage video conferencing (with the camera on) as much as possible. There’s nothing like an in-person interaction since you can pick up on physical nuances and respond genuinely, but video is a close second.
Jenny Lee, Field Marketing, Castro Valley, Calif.
5. “Everywhere” can’t be your workspace
Working from home can make the separation of professional and personal life blurry. While it can be tempting to work from the couch or bed, this sends a very clear “I’m not working” signal to your family. That’s why it’s important to create a dedicated working area with a physical barrier between the rest of your household. After working from home for nearly four years, my wife and I have also established a new way to communicate during working hours, where she will send me a text rather than barging in with the kids. If you have very young children, try getting a door knob cover, and more importantly, noise cancelling headphones are a must.
Abdullah Mourad, Engineering, Sacramento
6. Take micro-breaks
As a mom of three, there's no magic bullet for this one. I've found the best strategy is to focus on one thing at a time before you get drowned in multiple tasks. I use the Pomodoro Technique, a time management system that breaks your workday into multiple working segments followed by quick breaks. The idea behind it is to instill a sense of urgency and prevent you from getting distracted during your precious work hours. Block time on your calendar for individual tasks, whether it’s a meeting, working session, going for a brisk walk, or catching up virtually with colleagues. If your kids are younger, communicate with your partner about parenting responsibilities throughout the week.
Teneil Taylor, HR Business Partner, Italy
7. Don’t forget the social contract
Accessibility is often seen as availability. But it’s important to let your colleagues and family members know your office hours and to stick to them. I am not saying you should not interact with people in your home, but children, spouses, and even our furry friends may need to be reminded that during normal work hours you need to be able to focus on your work and the company. That means focusing the work day on your job and company just as you would before remote work.
Michael Torok, Customer Education & Experience, Nebraska