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COVID-19: Working Remotely – Tips for Team Members

This job aid provides tips to help public servants work effectively in a virtual team during an emergency situation.

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During a crisis such as COVID-19, work teams often find themselves working quickly and outside of their normal routine. It is essential that managers and team members alike keep the lines of communication open for optimal engagement, productivity and morale.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

  • Find the right communication tools to make up for the loss of face-to-face time.
  • Communicate frequently using a variety of channels, like phone and email.
  • Respond quickly to email requests if you can, if only to specify a time you will be able to respond more fully.
  • Find a way to interact informally through virtual water cooler or coffee chats.
  • Check in and inquire about other members of the team on a regular basis.

Stay motivated and organized

  • The nature of remote work requires self-management. Self-motivation and self-discipline are essential for team members.
  • Stay organized. Have a plan for the day, but be prepared to pivot!
  • Manage your time efficiently and keep your team up to date on important deadlines.
  • Define your working hours, and respect your start and finish times.

Honesty and trust

  • Honesty is possibly the most important way to promote trust. Trusting other team members makes the team more effective.
  • You are not alone! Don't be afraid to ask for help from your team leader or team members.

Support your team

  • Help each other be right.
  • Share your ideas and expertise.
  • Work together with a sense of energy and team spirit.
  • Prioritize getting along with your team members. Foster a climate of respect in which members feel safe to explore new ideas.
  • Recognize a job well done.

Care for yourself and others

  • Try not to work longer than your regular working hours—others you care for also depend on you.
  • Get some rest, eat a balanced diet and use your communication devices to continue to stay in touch with others.
  • Lead with kindness.
  • Be proactive.
  • Seek solutions.
  • Offer to help.

We thank the Public Health Agency of Canada for sharing much of this advice.

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