As many people shift abruptly to working from home, resources on remote working are certainly not thin on the ground, but it can be difficult to sort the gems from the dross. Susie Ashworth has compiled a set of the better sources she’s found so far.
We will continue to update this list over time. If you find particularly useful articles or websites, please let us know, and we’ll add them.
NSW Government Flexible teams: resources for managers – The NSW Government has extensive resources on flexible working, including guides on How to make flexibility work as a team; Managing dispersed, flexible teams; and Skillset and Development guides for both employees and managers.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce – The Victorian Government was quick to publish a COVID-19 Employer Guide, which continues to be updated, and covers work health and safety, mental health and wellbeing, employer obligations and working from home.
Remote Work Survival Toolkit – This crowdsourced document sits on a Google Drive, available to all, and compiled by more than 100 volunteers around the world with the mission to help people and organisations with remote working at this time of acute need. Key topics include Culture & Behaviour, Tips for creating a Collaborative Culture, Mental Health, Resilience and Managing Teams Remotely.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency – For those unfamiliar with flexible work policies, the WGEA has a comprehensive suite of resources to help managers create a strategic approach to workplace flexibility and support for caring and family responsibilities. Useful information includes Flexibility good practice for managers, tips on Developing and implementing a flexibility strategy and a briefing note on Developing a flexible working arrangements policy.
How working parents can let go of perfectionism (Alice Boyes, Harvard Business Review) – Former clinical psychologist turned writer Alice Boyes gives some well-timed advice on how to deal with perfectionist tendencies and the inevitable mistakes or slip-ups that come when managing work and parenting. “Working parents can feel many internal and external pressures to be perfect, but realistically it’s impossible, and having such a mindset can rob you of enjoyment both at home and at work. Letting go of perfectionism is part science and part art, requiring knowledge of scientifically supported strategies (like those for disrupting rumination and increasing self-compassion) and personal experimentation to see which strategies work best for you.”
The family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronavirus quarantine (Celina Ribeiro, The Guardian) It’s not easy. Families who are used to going their separate ways to work and play are now being forced to spend more time together than ever before. In this insightful article, psychologists give advice on how to cope with cabin fever, from setting up structures, squeezing in exercise, creating chill-out zones for alone time, and taking note of the lessons we’re all learning through this crisis.
5 tips to balance remote working while your family is at home (Kourtney Whitehead, Forbes) – Even seasoned remote workers will be struggling with the new normal of having kids and partners at home. This article features a handful of tips to help you balance competing priorities, communicate more effectively, and manage the unavoidable stress of this situation.
Navigating the technological challenges
IT advice for working remotely (Peter Johns, ACA) – With most Australian practices shifting employees to working from home arrangements, Peter Johns offers comprehensive advice on all things tech, from VPNs, computers, software, internet and email to useful apps and file storage solutions. He also offers some terrific tips on ergonomics, team morale and using that downtime productively.
13 cybersecurity tips for staff working remotely (Aimee O’Driscoll, Comparitech) – There are clearly many benefits to working from home (short commute, flexible, family-friendly, etc), but one of the downsides is the risks of online threats. Clearly and concisely, this article outlines 13 simple steps to take to protect your privacy and your employer’s online security while working from home.
How to keep your zoom chats private and secure (David Nield, Wired) – Trolls. Prying bosses. Zoom’s a great video chat platform (and one that’s in heavy usage by many of us), but a few simple steps also make it a safe one. Nield offers his top tips on stopping zoombombs, restricting users and keeping things private.
Five tech tools to encourage inclusion in the workplace (Jessica Thiefels, Catalyst) – An oldie but a goodie, this 2018 article identifies the basic tools managers need to provide their remote teams to ensure full participation. As the world goes remote, it continues to remain relevant.
The top apps for architecture (Christele Harrouk, ArchDaily) – Solar compasses, construction calculators, digital rulers, drawing tools and Autodesk apps. There’s never been a better time to explore this list of top apps for architecture from late 2019, which promise to make workflow easier, more productive and efficient using our mobile devices, tablets and laptops.
Five myths about working from home (Employment Hero) – What are the myths that some employers hold onto to justify their unwillingness to offer flexibility for their workforce? The team at HR services company Employment Hero debunks the top five myths, including ‘Employees aren’t as productive when they work from home’, ‘Teams can’t see what everyone else is working on’, ‘They don’t have access to all their files’, ‘Teams and employees won’t be able to communicate as well as in the office’ and ‘Employees will miss the office culture too much’. Bunkum, says Employment Hero.
Protecting your mental wellbeing
3 Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout (Laura M. Giurge and Vanessa K. Bohns, Harvard Business Review) – Employee productivity is a concern in the time of COVID-19, but what employers should really be worried about is WFH burnout, argues Postdoctoral Research Associate Laura M. Giurge and Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour Vanessa K. Bohns. It’s important for remote workers to still maintain boundaries between the ‘home you’ and the ‘work you’; to keep a sense of normality with structure and check-in virtual meetings; and to prioritise important work rather than busy work.
Combating burnout, isolation and anxiety in the remote workplace (GitLab) – GitLab offers advice on how to recognise and avoid burnout and anxiety when working from home. Topics covered include the unhealthy celebration of long hours, creating a non-judgemental culture, and setting realistic expectations. There’s also a handy list of 10 symptoms of burnout to watch out for, and 12 strategies (big and small) to help prevent mental strain.
Also see Parlour’s Resources for Mental Wellbeing, which links to a number of organisations offering general wellbeing advice and resources.
Leading your workforce through challenging times
Managing your remote team inclusively (Catalyst, Workplaces that work for women) – This multimedia presentation offers some excellent advice on how to manage remote teams with inclusivity firmly in mind. Tips include creating a virtual water cooler, handling email tone and communication with care, being clear about expectations and tasks, and trying to consider all team members when thinking about new projects and high visibility roles.
How to lead a remote workforce (Robert Peake, ACA) – Robert Peake, principal of Management for Design, offers his top tips for effective leadership with remote teams, including setting clear expectations and following through, giving trust freely, and managing achievement, not time.
Shaking up the norms
All-Remote Meetings (GitLab) – Gitlab offers some terrific advice on how to be effective and efficient in all-remote meetings, making them less burdensome and impractical. The first important question to consider is whether the meeting is essential at all and does it need to be mandatory for everyone. Key tips include having upfront agendas, strict time keeping and live note-taking during each meeting. Gitlab CEO also advises not to stress about your home life being caught on Zoom. “Enjoy the benefits of your kids barging in on a meeting. That’s the best distraction in the world.” In this COVID-19 world, everyone’s in the same boat, and a bit of colour and movement in the background can provide some welcome relief.
Is all-remote the future of work? (John Hilton, Human Resources Director) – Higher employee retention, office cost savings, and a larger pool of employees to choose from for employers. Increased productivity and efficiency, no commute time, flexibility and family-friendly schedules for employees. According to Hilton, remote work is the future – and there are countless benefits.
Is Coronavirus the beginning of the end of offices (Niall Patrick Harris, ArchDaily) – COVID-19 has spawned a “major global work-from-home experiment” that will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences for society and for architecture. Harris writes: “Architects may be called to design a new, not-yet-realized typology of space that merges digital and physical, local and global, working and living, leaving the concept of dozens or hundreds of employees gathering in a single building for eight hours per day a thing of the past.”
Exploring Remote Work and ‘Radical Flexibility’ in Architecture with Diana Nicklaus (Sean Joyner, Archinect) – Diana Nicklaus from Boston-based Saam Architecture discusses her reasons for adopting a remote work model, the ease of client relationships, the productivity gains of remote work, and the importance of strong communication skills in the remote workforce.
The ACA has developed a series of case studies, which take us through the steps and strategies some practices are taking to manage the impact of COVID-19:
Tight Financial Management and Open Communication (Emma Williamson, TheFulcrum.Agency) – “Embrace remote work. Architecture has been so slow to adapt to new ways of working. If there is a positive out of this, I hope that it demonstrates once and for all that working from home can be efficient and positive. I think we can trust our team to work hard and work well.”
Building on Existing Flex Systems (Brian Clohessy, BVN) – “People are posting updates, replacing the ‘kitchen chatter/ banter’ with online exchanges, uploading photos of their working/living environment, sharing lunchtime catch-ups, offering exercise examples and sharing more personal aspects of their lives, such as their pets and children. We have found this to be a very rewarding experience collectively and in no small way has lifted the company’s spirits.”
Clear Communication and Patience (Justine Ebzery, Fulton Trotter) – “Communicate regularly, utilising every type of format available to you, and be patient and kind to each other.”
Photo: Sven Brandsma, Unsplash