Running your business

Working from home

Advice for effective remote working

With more businesses and employees working away from the office environment, ensure you’re getting the most out of your home working arrangements. Here we provide some tips on getting the right set-up, managing employees remotely and useful tools to facilitate collaboration.

Get the basics right for your team

  • Get everyone to complete a new DSE (Display Screen Equipment) desk assessment. For further information on DSE assessments please see the latest government guidance.
  • Ensure the team can make video calls. Video creates a sense of connection and makes it easier to fully participate.
  • Provide your team with access to collaboration tools, apps and a shared drive to help efficient remote working.
  • Keep agendas, notes and documents in a place where everyone can see and add to them.
  • Establish and commit to a regular schedule where possible.
  • Schedule team meetings for a time that works for all time zones represented in the meeting. If this isn’t possible, consider trading off time zones. If you have to move a meeting, ask if it works for others, particularly if the meeting falls outside of someone’s working hours.
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Check your set up with these simple questions

  • Is the top of your monitor or laptop screen at the same level as your eyes?
  • Is your screen 40 to 75cm away from your eyes?
  • When sitting down at your desk, are your thighs parallel to the floor?
  • Can the height and angle of your monitor, keyboard and chair be adjusted?
  • Are your shoulders relaxed, with upper arms parallel with your torso?
  • Can your wrists remain flat when you’re typing?
  • Are the items you use the most all available within easy reach?
  • Do you need any additional items such as a footrest, wrist rest or a monitor stand so you can achieve a comfortable posture?
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Build a routine to manage your time

  • Take regular breaks throughout the day.
  • Set a reminder to get outside.
  • Break up intense activities with something fun to clear your mind.
  • Have downtime away from your screen (leisure activities, not including watching TV, using your phone etc).
  • Check in with each other, show support for those who might need it, and make space for fun and informal connection. Schedule a virtual happy hour, take an online fitness class together or create a group to share tips or funny stories.
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Tips for remote meetings

  1. 01

    Designate a timekeeper and note taker

    • Rotate this responsibility so this role is shared equally.
  2. 02

    Use video conferencing tools where possible

    • Video conferencing replaces our face-to-face meetings, so encourage everyone to switch on their cameras.
    • Avoid background noise; remind people to mute themselves when they're not speaking and to use headphones to improve audio.
    • If Wifi is spotty, call into the meeting or turn off video.
  3. 03

    Make sure everyone is heard

    • Create pauses to give people an opportunity to speak up and share their thoughts.
    • Pay attention to non-verbal cues and follow up with people after the meeting who might be more comfortable sharing their thoughts one-on-one.
  4. 04

    Avoid side conversations

    • Even on mute, these can be distracting and negatively impact collaboration.
    • Actively work to keep the team focused and engaged.
  5. 05

    Capture actions and owners

    • Reserve a few minutes at the end of every meeting for a wrap up.
    • Increased accountability and clarity are particularly important for remote teams.
  6. 06

    After the meeting, put the notes on a shared drive or the team's collaboration site

    • Notes saved by date of meeting allow for a running record of conversations and help keep everyone on the same page.
  7. 07

    Prioritise inclusion

    • Be aware of the subtle ways people may feel left out.
    • Help bring people up to speed, pay special attention to people who are new to the team or conversation.
    • Bring the right people into conversations. Before you get started, pause to see if anyone is missing and invite them to participate.
  8. 08

    Be mindful of schedules and time zones

    • Try to schedule meetings when people's preferred working hours overlap.
    • This can be hard with global teams - try to distribute inconvenience fairly.
  9. 09

    Avoid last-minute changes or cancellations

    • Keep in mind that people often schedule breaks, work time and appointments around meeting time.
    • When your team is dispersed, they may rely on meetings for face-to-face interaction with each other.
  10. 10

    Make sure meetings have a clear goal and agenda

Effective remote and hybrid working

Learn about the the key challenges from the shift to remote/hybrid working with this NatWest article. Find out how businesses can address these challenges and how to have a happy and productive team.

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