The Beginner’s Guide to Remote Working

For those taking their first steps into remote working, here’s some useful guidance to get you started. We’ll look at the pre-requisites to get you going, why communication channels are so important, what to do and what to avoid. Read on to find out more, plus extra hints and tips.

Pre-Requisites

What you need to get in place to work efficiently – these are things you can do straight away.

  • Somewhere to work: a dedicated space that’s clean and tidy
  • Laptop / PC: contact your team leader or line manager if you need access to one
  • Set expectations and ways of working with your team leader
  • Communication tools – there are many available like Bluejeans, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, iMessage, Slack and many others - check with your organisation which to use
  • Make sure local files are available when working remotely – copy files to your laptop or put documents into a shared area so they can be accessed and shared as required
  • Be aware of GDPR and your organisation’s policy on documentation and data
  • Look at your diary – do any meetings that could be done remotely have a remote meeting set up? Run a test meeting with a colleague if you’ve never held a remote meeting or hosted one


Communication is key

Let’s run through two examples of having different types of remote meetings on some apps that you may be familiar with.

BlueJeans

  • Download the app for windows / iOS /Android. Make sure you have microphone and webcam switched on
  • If you work in a team, agree a regular scheduled BlueJeans call
    • Start of day team kick off?
    • Regular catch up with your team leader?
  • Be aware of your working environment on BlueJeans – your viewers will see what’s behind you
  • Be aware of your appearance on BlueJeans – no pyjamas!
  • Let other people in the house know when you’re on a call to avoid getting interrupted

WhatsApp

  • Avoid isolation – WhatsApp contact can help you feel that you’re totally involved
  • Set up groups for your team – be very conscious this is a work group not a personal group
  • Chat as you would in the office, keep communicating
  • Rather than replace communication with emails, it may be more efficient to drop a quick WhatsApp message
  • WhatsApp can run on your desktop so you don’t need to open your phone and get distracted; https://web.whatsapp.com/

Working remotely – hints and tips

DO

  • Create a dedicated work space
  • If you have multiple monitors – use them – it will make you more efficient
  • Make sure you have tea and coffee breaks
    • This keeps you hydrated
    • Time to walk away from the laptop and think
  • Get fresh air and exercise – it’s important not to get isolated
    *Please note this is subject to changing government advice
  • Make time away from your work environment
  • Be productive – make a list at the start of the day, tick it off, anything unticked is where you start your following day’s to do list

DON’T

  • Don’t fall into a trap of working when convenient just because you’re at home: maintain regular work hours
  • Don’t have a work station full of distractions;
    • Don’t have social media open while you’re working
  • Get up and dressed as if you were going out of the house – resist the temptation to work from bed, the sofa or anywhere unsuitable for working
  • Don’t forget to keep in touch and communicate
  • Don’t feel guilty
  • It’s OK to have some background sound
  • It’s OK to finish when you normally would for the day

To hear these tips in more detail, click here for a short Access video presented by Adam Freeman.

Important note: always check your organisation's remote working policy first.