This guidance is aimed at individuals in teams working remotely. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but it highlights some good practice and things to think about to make remote working successful.
Remote working is not practical or possible for all individuals in all roles. You should discuss the pros and cons of remote working and agree an arrangement with your line manager.
We understand that the recommendations and technology we are asking people to adopt will be unfamiliar to many. We encourage everyone to try new approaches, don't worry about getting things wrong, be understanding when things don’t go as well as we hoped and support everyone to learn and improve. You can do this by sending remote working feedback to IT Services. You can also access resources on wellbeing while working remotely.
If you need help you can contact IT Support at email@example.com or on +44 (0)1904 323838.
Teams work best when they are communicating effectively and can collaborate easily. The following mechanisms should provide support in achieving this remotely.
Teams have many different communication channels available to use. Remote working as a team can result in the volume of written communication increasing significantly, or it can feel like there is an expectation to respond immediately.
In order to promote uninterrupted periods of work, agree with your teams the method of communication so it’s clear which channels are used for urgent requests. This allows teams to prioritise the increased communication effectively.
Please be patient with colleagues who are new to or not practised with different technologies and help colleagues connect with you so that work can be carried out effectively.
Also consider the different types of discussions you may have and which tools may be more suitable. For example, long and complex conversations will be easier to conduct via an online meeting, using Zoom or Google Meet, rather than via online messaging.
For example, you may want to agree with your team how you will use:
We all need to be considerate of each other’s working patterns, but it can be harder to keep track of these patterns when working remotely. Some things you can do to help keep your colleagues aware of your working patterns are:
Within your team, think about how you will structure your day. This could include:
Use a headset or headphones to limit echo and mute yourself when not speaking as your microphone can pick up background noise and disrupt the conversation.
Camera on - using video in virtual meetings can make a big difference to communication and allow participants to feel a greater sense of presence. It will be more important in some meetings (eg one to ones) than others. Think about turning on your webcam by default but be prepared to switch to voice only if you are having connectivity issues.
Screen sharing - the ability to share your screen and interact as a team can create a feeling of shared goals and increase collaboration. Seeing as well as hearing can prevent misinterpretation of actions or direction. Slack, Zoom and Google Meet all support screen sharing.
Daily catch-up - Regular contact will help keep the team focused and keep the team communication flowing. You may also find it useful to have a Friday morning ‘wrap-up’ style meeting. This would be a good chance to share successes from the week and talk about plans for the next week.
You can still do ‘whiteboard’ exercises using virtual solutions like Google Jamboard, which enables a group to generate ideas or contributions in real-time.
When working remotely it is important that we think about good practice when collaborating with colleagues. It’s possible to do almost everything in the Google Suite now. The University still has shared filestores but consider:
For these reasons we would advise that you opt for Google Drive over the University filestore.
Keep in mind that in order to access confidential or restricted data you must use:
Confidential or restricted data must not be accessed directly from a personal device.
We've also condensed our IT security guidance into a handy one page guide:
Successful teams rely on strong, positive relationships and it can be more difficult to build or maintain these when working remotely.
Below are some ideas to create opportunities for conversations that you would typically have in the staff room or when passing in the corridor, such as: