Staying informed—
be a remote rock star

How to keep up when you've been kept at home
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Considering social changes afoot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked our team of virtual-office veterans what advice they would give to someone new to remote working on six hot topics. Choose a topic below:

Staying informed

Sharing the same physical space is no guarantee that you’ll know what’s up all the time—but it sure is easier to be in-the-know when a raised voice is all it takes to inform the whole office of a new idea or policy or leftover donuts in the kitchen.

So how do you keep abreast of all of the most important stuff related to your work when you’re working remotely? Our team of experts has some solid advice for you, but you’ll have to get your own donuts.

Prepare—have your home working environment set up well. Check connectivity. Decide how to avoid interruptions. Who do you share the space with and when? Set boundaries and parameters on interruptions and processes for interacting in the space. I worked with family members to ensure there is DND signified by a closed-door on the room I am using when I am on calls (most of the time). When I am off I open the door and then they know I can have a drop-in conversation.Culture—have your camera on to be present. This is a must.

Parker Lee | Managing Partner
Working from home requires an unusual amount of transparency from everyone in your organization, especially if it’s a new thing. If you’re a leader, communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s almost impossible to over-communicate. Set regular meetings to touch base with your team. Send short emails with important information. Keep talking. But try to do it on the regular—don’t murder your people with constant comms . . . just make sure they have a regular rhythm of the information they need to feel in the loop and to accomplish their work. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Ask for singular platforms, ask for consistency, and ask for whatever information you need to perform at your best.
Jeremy Varo-Haub | Lead Strategist, Senior Designer
Be proactive in ways that you have not considered before. Many of us expect that we will get the information we need when we need it. During times of stress and change in business environments, human beings forget to send emails, lose documents, and simply make more mistakes than usual.Reach out for information rather than waiting for the information to come to you. Remote work might be new to your entire business; work together and take responsibility for building a successful information environment.

Jeremy Lucas | Strategist
Create social networks like Slack where a variety of groups can communicate and update. Make sure to have periodic department meetings to connect, vent, and collaborate. One-on-ones are definitely helpful to maintain or expand while remote. Don’t be shy about reaching out as others will respond as available and, in human nature, want to help.
Rich Shawen | CFO
Communicate and be transparent. Be obvious to others about what you’re doing, your progress, schedule, priorities, etc. That doesn’t mean tons of emails, but share work in progress and ideas in little messages frequently.
Ben Carmel | Learning Designer, Facilitator
Now that you are not present in the office with others every day it may seem like a challenge to know what’s going on. Here are three ways to stay in the know:

  1. Implement a 15 min daily stand up. Everyone has 1 min to update everyone else on what they are working on.
  2. Implement one-one-ones with your team weekly to stay aware of what’s going on and what they may need from you.
  3. Spin up a Slack channel for your projects. It’s a great way to keep the entire team on the same page every day.
Natalie Born | VP of Innovation
Staying informed working remotely may take some extra effort.If you don’t have channels established (think, Slack) make sure you’re checking your email and any other messaging or project management platforms.

Attend meetings and establish regular check-ins. If you have the time, attend even the meetings you’re not required to attend. You’ll learn about what’s going on. Status meetings are good, too. Brief and to the point can alert you to “need to know” issues.

If you feel disconnected or uncertain, be proactive. You can always call a colleague to discuss. This can be faster and allows for a greater range of social cues. Picking up the phone is always an option.

Matt Morasky | Head of Client Services
Online meetings, desktop sharing, and video conferencing tools, such as Slack, Skype, and WebEx, enable teams to collaborate and communicate in real-time. A secure, cloud-based platform, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, consolidates file storage and tracks file sharing and comments.
Annie Pomeranz | Director of Operations & Project Management
Communication is a two-way street, right? It isn’t just about receiving information—it’s truly about creating value for everyone involved.Be consistent: don’t send announcements—schedule team conversations to provide a sense of stability and give everyone a voice.

Create a team comms agreement: if you’ve already figured out healthy and productive ways to communicate, document it!

Set personal boundaries: figure out what works for you then tell your team, including your availability windows.

Matt Adams | Head of Creative Services
Make sure to set up a regular communication schedule with your team so that everyone can stay in-the-loop and up-to-date on what’s going on with different projects and tasks. These meetings are important for helping to keep everyone on the same page so that things can flow smoothly. It is important to supplement these regular meetings with communication tools like Slack which can help teams relay information simply and quickly at all times of the day, without the need to speak directly.
Joey Kenney | Director of Business Development

Squid | Home Office Destruction Expert

Squid, a rescued street cat living the high life in the Varo-Haub household, loves long naps, walks on the counter, and chasing a toy BB8 down the hallway. She'd be a heck of a strategist if she could talk. She's delighted Jeremy works from home so she can climb up his back, walk on his keyboard, and throw things off of his desk.

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