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Working from home is more than an experience; it’s a skill to be mastered. Without direction, teams drift apart, employees feel forgotten, and logistics can create serious business obstacles. 

Recently, we released our distributed work playbook to help employees and managers adapt quickly. You can get the full playbook on the here, and below you’ll find a bit-by-bit preview of quick tips to help employees and managers to excel in remote work:  

Tips for Employees

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 1: Focus On Rapport Building. Small talk via teleconference may seem more impersonal to some, but it’s important for staying connected. Try starting the meetings with open-ended questions, like “How is everybody’s Friday going?” to get everyone engaged.

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 2: Start a Group Chat Just for Banter. Chitchat helps you bond with colleagues and share information informally. Since small talk is often harder in virtual environments, start a private chat room for casual conversation–you don’t even need to include the boss this time. 

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 3: Unmute Your Presence. Leaving a mic unmuted during a virtual meeting is often seen as a rookie mistake. However, radio silence during prolonged periods of quiet distance working may not be great for your visibility. Try unmuting and chiming in spontaneously, even if it’s just with simple affirmative “uh-huhs” from time to time.

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 4: Gear Up. In addition to video conferencing tech essentials, such as a camera, mic, and reliable internet connection, you might also want to splurge on a few gadgets. Some good investments include a headset, video lighting, and an all-in-one phone & conferencing solution.

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 5: Connect Like You Mean It: Remote work success is all about bonding with others. In general, there are three different types of connections you’ll need to maintain remotely: GETTING connected, BEING connected, and FEELING connected. Learn how to master each.

Tips For Leaders

#LifeGoesOnlineTip 1: Pair Remote Workers With In-House Buddies. We could all use a friend, especially external workers, who can often feel isolated. Distant employees perform better when they are assigned a partner who can relay information, check-in regularly, and smooth over logistical issues such as time zones and cultural barriers.

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 2: Set Crystal-Clear Expectations. Over time, managers often discover that remote workers have different ideas about what’s acceptable when it comes to work issues like travel, virtual meeting attendance, and communication. As a leader, it’s up to you to establish norms. Try capturing expectations on documents and be as specific as you can.

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 3: Communicate Proactively. Despite your busy management schedule, you may want to make an extra effort to reach out to your staff so that they don’t feel left out. Try sending each individual an informal chat request or email from time to time just to catch up.

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 4: Overcome Timezone Obstacles. Hours of time differential can make scheduling meetings a feat. Try rotating your meeting times to accommodate staff in different time zones, and try to avoid meetings in the very early morning or late in the evening.

#LifeGoesOnline Tip 5: Appreciate Diversity. Each worker will have a remote working style that is reflective of their own culture. If someone is out of flow with the group, give them the benefit of the doubt and try a one-on-one coaching session to find the middle ground and establish co-working harmony.

Practice Makes Perfect

Effective remote working doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes, the distance can make it hard to forge connections needed to form a coherent team.

Have a clear direction for your remote-work and team and get a little better every day. That way, you can ensure you’re growing together every day and not drifting apart.

Get the full Distributed Work Playbook from the Venyu blog at www.venyu.com!