As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, many organizations have already implemented unprecedented shifts in how they work. This is a historic time that requires all of us to be adaptable, resilient, and supportive of one another in the face of uncertainty.
At Humu, we’ve made it a priority to do our part to help curb the spread of infection. We’ve given all employees the option to work from home, are closely following guidance from the WHO and other health organizations, and have taken the following precautionary steps:
- We’ve defaulted to virtual meetings when possible, avoiding travel
- We’ve offered all job candidates the option to interview virtually
- We require anyone who is sick or has visited a highly impacted country to work from home for at least 14 days
- We recommend those living or interacting regularly with someone more at risk (immunocompromised individual, elderly parent, infant, pregnant, etc) to work-from-home
- We encourage commuters to shift their hours to avoid peak times, carpool with colleagues, or work from home
In addition, as part of our mission to make work better for everyone, everywhere, we’re providing our partners with customized, timely, effective nudges to support their teams in working from home and navigating uncertainty. Our goal is to make it easier for them to prioritize well-being and get in front of the COVID-19 risks, while also helping employees be productive and effective at their work.
Our top tips for working from home, or supporting those who are
Keeping distributed teams cohesive and productive is hard. Listed below are the most beneficial science-backed behaviors that will keep you and your teams connected, productive, and happy while working from home:
Stick to a schedule. Unstructured time makes it easy for the day to get away from you. Instead, block off time on your calendar to complete different tasks. For example, set aside an hour in the morning to check in with colleagues, or two hours in the afternoon for heads-down project work. Commit to these blocks like you would any other meeting – no flaking on yourself!. And remember to share your schedule with others.
Schedule sensitively. Make it a point to avoid putting time outside of someone’s normal work day on their calendar. If your team is spread across several time zones, set core hours when everyone should plan to be available.
Document discussions. It’s not always possible to have everyone in every meeting, especially if you’re juggling stakeholders around the world. Among virtual teams, careful documentation is especially important in boosting performance and trust. Communicate the purpose of the meeting in advance, and then document and share notes from the discussion so people aren’t knocked out of the loop.
Use the richest form of communication. Use the platform that will give you as much information—facial expressions, body language, tone, and pitch of voice—from the other person as you can. Always default to video conferencing—it’s much easier to connect with others when you can see each other. Then, if you find yourself running into technical difficulties (buffering, freezing, etc), quickly “downgrade” to a phone conversation.
Show care for those not able to work from home. Many people don’t have the option to work remotely. From cashiers to baristas to first-responders, some people will still need to be physically on the job. For their sake, make sure you follow government advice on social distancing and carefully washing your hands when you do venture out. And be sure to thank them.
Working remotely takes work. Make it a point to develop productive, inclusive habits. Remember, even if you’re not in the same office, you’re still on the same team.
For more tactical tips from our team, check out People Scientist Rachel Callan’s write-up on how to make remote work work, and Localization Expert Jake Goldwasser’s piece on building community within a global team.