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Sunday Magazine
Below are some best practices for fostering collaboration when your teams find themselves working remotely.

With many businesses considering how best to keep teams connected when not everyone can be in the same location, (tech companies like) Google have prepared resources and best practices for maintaining productivity and keeping workstreams running smoothly while working remotely.

Below are some best practices for fostering collaboration when your teams find themselves working remotely.

Set up your team for remote work

Make sure your team has the right tools and processes set up before you transition from working at the office to working from home. Once they’re set up, here are a few extra steps you can take in advance:

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Create a team alias to easily stay in touch. An email list that includes all your team members lets you quickly share information, and a chat room can be used for faster-moving discussions.

Check sharing permissions on important documents so collaborators can edit and comment as needed. You might even consider creating a shared drive where your team can store, search, and access files from any device.

Schedule meetings now so you can stay in contact later. Set up calendar invites, create an agenda ahead of time, and attach relevant docs to the invite. It’s also a good idea to make sure everyone is familiar with video conferencing.

Keep your team connected and organised each day

Now that your team is set up and everyone’s ready to work from home, it’s important to keep everyone on the same page. Here are some ways to keep everyone on the same page.

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Hold daily meetings to stay connected with your co-workers. Working at home can be isolating for some, and video conferencing is a great way to keep people engaged.

Try to be visible on camera when appropriate, present relevant content, and ask questions to spark conversations. When time zones prevent everyone from joining a meeting, record it — after making sure that participants feel comfortable being recorded!

Share goals and updates regularly. Whether it’s through a chat group or in a shared document that everyone updates, a record of what’s being accomplished is a great way to feel connected, keep everyone up to date, and follow-up on action items.

You can also set up an internal site to consolidate important information and resources into a central hub for your team, or to share information with your organisation more broadly.

Continue to practice good workplace etiquette. Just because your team isn’t at the office doesn’t mean they’re not busy. Check calendars before scheduling meetings, and when you reach out via chat, start by asking if it’s a good time to talk.

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You can also proactively inform your co-workers of your own availability by setting up working hours in Calendar. That way, if a team member tries to schedule a meeting with you outside of your working hours, they’ll receive a warning notification.

Getting your work done at home

Sharing space — and an internet connection — at home means you might need to be mindful of the needs of others in your household. Here are a few tips.

Don’t spend all day on video. There are many tools at your disposal for staying in touch with your team, whether it’s a chat room, a shared document, a short survey, or a quick conference call. Pick what works best — especially if you’re sharing an internet connection.

Find the right set-up for you. You might need to try a few different configurations before you discover how to stay focused and not distract others.

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The writer is Google head of communications and public affairs, SSA


Working Remotely Working from home