Tips for Remote Working

We are now living in unprecedented and challenging times and the way we work has shifted beyond recognition for most people. Although flexible working was beginning to become increasingly popular, many workers now find themselves thrown into a situation they hadn’t encountered before – working from home.

Necessity demands that entire workforces must leave the office behind and set up a makeshift station in their living room, bedroom, or if they’re lucky, study.

So how can we best adapt to this and what, if any, rules should you adhere to in order to make the transition easier and the experience productive? We asked some experienced homeworkers from around Blackbaud for their tips and advice on remote working…

Casper Harratt, Director of Marketing, Blackbaud

I have occasionally worked from home when I’ve needed to over the last few years, and so I shared with my team the following tips from what I’ve learned:

  • Get up and dressed and start work at the same time each day
  • Have a designated workspace and keep your work off the sofa/bed where possible
  • Create a team WhatsApp group and use this to reach out to the rest of the team to share ideas and get support. It can also be used for casual conversations to replace the normal ‘desk-side banter’ you will miss this, so it’s important to keep the fun!
  • Take scheduled breaks throughout the day
  • It’s ok if a child, messy house, or pet is in the background during video calls. This is just the reality of being at home in these unusual times – and it’s important for managers to reassure their teams and colleagues that this is fine. Seeing your cute puppy might even brighten someone else’s day!
  • If you are not self-isolating, get plenty of fresh air and exercise every day – within the government set limits

Krystle Wright, Manager of European Sales, Blackbaud

Here’s some of the key things I ask my teams to do in order to maximise productivity and help them to feel engaged and supported as we work from home (WFH):  

  • Use team check-ins throughout the day to keep lines of communication open with your team and enable that crucial face time for your team. Providing the how and the why attendance is expected is crucial as you roll out WFH expectations to drive buy-in from your teams and sets the right expectations. The check-ins that are working for my team are:
  • Coffee & Catch-up at 8:30am (early is best) - this helps your team to start the day feeling supported and also gives them an opportunity to share their intentions for the day - activity goals, focus for the day and any news
  • Lunch & Laughs 12:30pm (not mandatory but strongly encouraged): this is a non-working team lunch where we share our lunch choices, eat our lunch (keeping a schedule is important) and have a chat about whatever; we do a quiz of the day to keep it fun. We'll also show off our kids, our pets, and the fabulous new light fixtures we just purchased
  • Daily Round-Up at 4:30-5pm: – this keeps us all honest as we are meant to be WORKING, but also keeps everyone accountable. It also helps people to sign off at a reasonable time and live life! Work life balance is still super important!
  • Cameras should always be on when you have video conference meetings and/or 121s
  • Use time blocking to structure your day. Block these out in your calendar each day/week
  • Reach out to your peers/manager throughout the day to share ideas or get support

Kaye Stenner, Demand Marketing Executive

  • Say good morning to your whole team! You would in the office, so definitely still do it online
  • If you don’t have any meetings, still try and reach out other colleagues and just check in. If there are no meetings scheduled or they’re not in your direct team you could end up not speaking to them for quite a while
  • Be really conscious of your colleagues’ thoughts and feelings of how they’re processing/dealing with everything that’s going on. This can be really overwhelming, so think twice before sharing negative news stories or breaking news. Always share the good stuff.
  • Don’t forget laughter and humour; they’re needed more than ever
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