Movement to a work-from-home model means that it is now more important than ever to keep in touch with colleagues and to work together closely within our individual teams and as part of the wider university team. Managers have an important role to play in supporting colleagues during this transition.
Keeping In Touch With Colleagues
Discuss with your colleagues and manager the frequency and type of contact required while working from home – over and above the normal meetings. Try not to rely too much on email (you can say a quick “hello” or “are you free” nudge through Office 365 Teams). This is the remote equivalent of dropping by a colleague’s desk or office to say ‘do you have five minutes?’ Sometimes a question can be asked and answered in the exchange of a few quick messages, while at other times it seems to lead quickly and naturally to an agreement to ‘have a quick chat’ using video or audio.
While you can connect with colleagues with your camera turned off, it is much more social to turn it on and to be able to see the person you are talking to from time to time. If working from home for any length of time, seeing a friendly smile from a colleague can make a big difference to your day.
Homeworking trial and error
Take a few minutes at the end of your working day to consider what worked well, what didn’t and what you might do differently tomorrow. Apply the changes to your next working day
Supporting your team
Managers and employees are likely to have to try harder to foster these connections than they would if they were based in the same workplace. When working from home, you may need to make extra effort to keep colleagues up to date on how work is progressing and to offer help to others, building a spirit of co-operation. It is also advisable for a manager to check in with homeworkers to make sure they do not over-work. Some staff who work from home can feel the need to work too hard as justification for working from home. Regular face-to-face meetings via Office 365 Teams can help employees overcome any feelings of isolation and keep in touch with the rest of the University. Establish a system where colleagues on the team are aware of their day-to-day availability status.