1. I have ready access to my organization's remote work policies / guidance (e.g. when allowed, working hours, being accessible, expenses etc.)
While having accessible remote working policies are important, organizations should also strive to increase employee awareness about them. Some steps organizations can take to increase the awareness of such policies include: posting about them on the company intranet, including this topic as a part of onboarding, or having managers talk through the policies in-person. Taking the time to walk through these policies with your employees will support their general understanding of them, ensure they are aware of where to access them, and most importantly, that you are there to answer any of their questions and follow the guidelines as well.
2. Remote technology tools (e.g. remote access, video conferencing , document management, collaboration etc) are readily available to me to do my job.
In today’s tech-savvy world, where virtual collaboration and communication is becoming the norm, choosing the right technology can be overwhelming. To help make the decision-making process easier, organizations should consider how the remote tools they choose can be used when the office is exclusively remote, or when only part of the workforce is remote. Investment in tools and technology for both in-office and remote that are easy to set-up and learn, increases the chances of them being used. A better user experience will enable your employees to do their job better no matter where they are.
3. I can readily access my organization's IT policies and standards including Data security and privacy, company hardware use out of the office etc.
With many employees moving to the remote space during the crisis, security risk and vulnerability of information increases. As people are now required to be personally responsible for their infrastructure at home, sharing networks or computers with others, it’s important to address how these behavioural changes can affect Information security. Often, corporate security training and best practices don’t cover all these common issues found within the remote working environment. Organizations should map out the most relevant and potential risks, and provide their employees with adequate training on how to minimize them. Taking the time to provide this information to your employees will also reinforce the importance of Information security and privacy, and their role within it.
4. I believe my team has a good common understanding of how to work remotely, and does so consistently, and effectively.
When we think about remote working, our first thought tends to be about whether or not we know how to use virtual tools like Zoom, Teams, or WebEx. But, there’s more to effective remote working than knowing how to use these software applications. Organizations must also consider how to get the best quality of work output from their employees, especially if they’re part of a team. In the virtual space, the ability to quickly bounce something off your office neighbour or cubicle mate is lost. Sharing ideas or challenges over a coffee becomes more of a planned or deliberate action, rather than a spontaneous act, as it would be in the office. We believe that this is a skill that takes practice. Being conscious of when activities can or should happen, is something that employees can work on individually and as a group.
One example of how you can start working towards a more effective remote working environment with your team is building a Team Charter. Creating a document like this that is developed via a facilitated team discussion, roughly outlines the virtual office boundaries or best practices. This can help a team establish how they will hold themselves and others accountable, as well as, build a cohesive understanding of how your team will work together online. This can also be a great opportunity for your team to discuss the cadence to which you have virtual “get-togethers” or “socials” to maintain those team relationships.
5. I am able to access Training, support information, or help from a support team on how to best use my remote working tools
Using the basic functions of remote working tools are usually pretty straightforward or intuitive. However, there are still some functions many remote working applications have that could enhance the user experience even more. Even if there’s no designated support team for the applications your organization uses, many of these widely adopted tools have easy-to-follow guides or video tutorials accessible online. Compiling these resources into one place for your employees to access, or making them aware of where they can find them, can make the user experience that much more effective. Additionally, if there are specific functions you think are particularly beneficial for the rest of your team to know, you can learn how to use them first and then explain it to your colleagues after.
6. With my team members working both remotely and onsite, I feel we readily adapt and are as considerate and effective regardless of where everyone is located.
We’ve seen lots of discussion on this, particularly concerning the “equity” of individuals who are not able to come into the office. At a surprisingly rapid pace, teams and whole organizations have come together forming new ways of working with each other, creating new norms, culture, and team dynamics. However, some areas such as fostering relationships when shared experiences are not organic or cohort training events that encourage team building could now be suffering. Also, the onboarding of new team members could be a challenge especially when it comes to bonding with an already established team. Managing people in traditional ways will need to shift so that people managers are measuring output, instead of attendance.
7. I work with external parties (customers, vendors, partners, etc.) as part of my job, and I feel I have the virtual/remote tools and practices to "do business" with them effectively and efficiently.
When working with external parties such as your clients, partners, or vendors, it’s important to have the right tools in place to ensure a seamless experience. This is particularly important because it has the most direct impact on the organization’s bottom line, your brand and your organization’s brand. To help you find the right remote working tools for your role, it’s useful to know what is accessible and acceptable for your external parties. Is there an industry standard? Do some tools have more relevant functionalities than others? Or do you need more training on the current tools you have access to?