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Understanding the Landscape of Working from Home

Topics: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By Amy Hall, SVP, Human Resources North America


The world is facing a once-in-a-lifetime public-health crisis. As the threat of the Coronavirus spreads, companies are taking measures to avoid disruptions in service. Businesses have quickly implemented new work from home policies that allow their workforce to work remotely in the safety of their homes.

As we settle into our new norm, we decided to share some tips to help you adapt to the virtual workday as well as suggestions for managers to handle newly remote teams.


Personal Tips to Keep on Track

  • Wake up and get ready for the day like you're going into the office. Take a shower, change your clothes, prepare breakfast and brew some coffee. Doing this also helps get you to jump-start your day and mentally prepare yourself to begin work.
  • Do not work from your bed! Set up a dedicated workspace where you can focus on your daily tasks and train your brain to be more productive in the work environment you have created in your home. Plus, your bed or couch do not provide a very ergonomic friendly workspace.
  • Make lists to stay on schedule. At the beginning of your morning, you should know what tasks you must do for the day. Whether you write it down with pen and paper, use One Note or an organization app like Trello, it's essential to set realistic goals and stick to them.
  • Have face-to-face virtual meetings. Often, remote work gets lonely. Don't forget to reach out to your coworkers to keep your team connected. You can bring a bit of fun into your team's day by setting up a coffee meeting, yoga session or virtual happy hour.
  • Keep your mental health in mind. Be sure to take breaks throughout the day - go on a walk, meditate, or physically leave your workspace to decompress. Don't forget the importance of a support system. Since most of our social interactions have been stripped away, reach out to friends and family. FaceTime and video conferencing is a great way to provide a face-to-face connection.


How to Manage a Remote Team

Working from home is a balancing act. While we all get used to being remote, it's okay to take time to learn how to juggle personal life and how to be a good employee. With many schools and daycares closed, many employees now have children at home that need assistance with virtual learning and no child-care available. Employees may also have other duties at home, including caring for elderly family members and pets. To help yourself and employees navigate these added responsibilities:
  • Set realistic expectations on accountability and productivity, including clear deadlines and achievable goals.
  • Communicate. Because you're not face-to-face, wires could get crossed. Use multiple channels to communicate. This can help cut down on miscommunication and help workers feel more included in day-to-day work.
  • Have weekly check-in meetings to create dialogue during this adjustment period. Employees will be grateful to express how they're feeling, share tips they've found useful and make personal connections with coworkers. Use platforms like Teams, Skype or Zoom for video calls.
  • Be flexible and make yourself available. Be sure your team knows how and when to reach you.


This is a new era for companies. One thing is for certain, we're all in this together. It will take a lot of creativity and trial and error, but we will pull through and find success.
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