This is not a new development though. In recent years, most firms have been shifting their stance on remote working. Now, during the pandemic, when business travel and the daily commute are severely curtailed, remote working takes on a new dimension: the difference being that many of us are now facing the prospect of working from home, potentially for an extended period.
At Wolters Kluwer, we are facing the same situation; we are committed to be our customers’ partner and persevere together in the days and time ahead. Some of our team members, would like to share their thoughts on how to make a success of remote working, as an individual or as a team leader.
1. “I try to break up the day going outside and getting some fresh air. It can do wonders for your productivity and perspective. I also try to move about more. It’s easy to find yourself sitting at my desk for hours on end. That’s not good long term. I try to stand up to make and take phone calls or take a walk in the garden when I can take a 10-minute break.” – Matt Crook, Managing Director, Tax & Accounting, UK
2. “I like to schedule meetings and calls at the beginning and end of the day leaving a large amount of time in the middle to enable for me to focus on getting tasks done. Calls and meetings tend to fill the time allotted to them so change I change my default duration for meetings in Outlook to 15 or 20 minutes. This will to increase focus and productivity and give you time to prepare for the next call.” – Evan Jones, Lead Technology Product Manager
3. “In order to leverage and reinforce a positive company culture with a remote team, you need to constantly monitor that culture and adjust as necessary. Clearly publish company values, discuss them with your people, actively seek feedback, look for great examples of those who represent the company culture on a daily basis. Make sure to overcommunicate these values rather than leave colleagues guessing. Then call these individuals or teams out so that the wider business can not only join their colleagues in celebrating success, but can also be inspired by their approaches.” – Elise Sallis, Head of Communications & Culture.
4. “Managing a dispersed team brings unique opportunities and challenges. Be sure your team know when you’ll be available for them; otherwise they can feel ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I’d advise blocking out a out time for team calls as well as time for individual catch-up conversations – where perhaps work may be the secondary focus. The main thing is to stay connected.” – Gareth Cram, Product, Strategy & Transformation Director
5. “In the early days, overcommunicating is better than undercommunicating while everyone adjusts to new working arrangements, but as time goes on, endless meetings and agenda-free videoconferences will become difficult to manage. Ensure your meetings have purpose.” – Elaine Roche, Product, Strategy & Transformation Director
6. “I’m not normally a ‘routine person’, but when working away from the office, it’s good to have a structure. I like to close down on work by sketching out what the following day will look like, as well as compiling a to-do list. That way I start out every morning with a shape to my day.” – Sarah Folley, Senior Marketing Executive
7. “Have a set start time and try to switch off, literally and figuratively, at the end of the day. The plus side of working remotely is that you may have more control over the pattern of your day than in the office, so you can schedule tasks requiring higher levels of concentration to capitalise on your most productive periods, like when young children are napping.” – Scott Taplin, Senior Specialist Financial Accountant
More helpful and important tips
- Per your company guidelines, remember to stay GDPR compliant when interacting with customers digitally. Email has inherent risks. Consider alternatives such as collaborating through secure cloud tools.
- In the office, people get used to having seamless communications and collaboration, both internally and with the wider business network. So, equip your homeworking team with the right tools. Fortunately, from shared workspaces to videoconferencing, there’s now every support to make remote working and virtual teaming easier.
- Make a habit of answering emails and scheduling calls at set times, if possible. Otherwise your day will be as interrupted as when you’re in the office.
As you navigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we will continue to deliver tools to help you stay up to date on tax and compliance changes in these uncertain times. We will also support your agility and ability to work securely and remotely.
Visit our COVID-19 hub for more information.