Best Practices for Working Virtually

April 3, 2020

By Marla Weingarten

The self-isolation requirement of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the relocation of office space from large corporate buildings to smaller home offices for many. The Pangaea Group, with our team of 16 leading consultants in the Canadian health care space, has been completely virtual for over five years. Actually, since the inception of the company almost 25 years ago, most Directors have mostly worked virtually. As the home office environment is new to many in this industry, we thought we would share some best practices for working virtually.

Here is our top 10 list:

  1. Weekly group calls (video or phone) to share pertinent information and ensure everyone is on the same page
  2. It can be isolating, managers and team leaders should be checking in with folks to ensure they are visible and accessible
  3. All phone/ virtual meetings should still have an agenda – even if only a few items and must have a leader/ facilitator to ensure the goal for the meeting is reached and all voices are heard (or another meeting scheduled, if more time required)
  4. Notes from meetings to be sent to participants to ensure information was not missed and “decisions/ action items / timing / responsibility” are identified
  5. If you are looking for a decision, only have one “ask” per email or phone communication
  6. If there are more than two emails in a string on the same subject… pick up the phone - it will save time and unnecessary work
  7. Ensure the “Subject” line is clear and relevant for all emails. For instance, do not start a new topic using the string of a previous email even if all the recipients are the same. It will cause confusion if the subject title doesn’t match the content of the e-mail
  8. Celebrate your “wins, take time at the end of the day to acknowledge what you accomplished rather than focusing on what was not accomplished
  9. If possible, set up a separate area in the home for your work space and invest in higher speed internet; set clear boundaries for work, otherwise you start to feel like you are always working and lose your place to come home to
  10. Don’t forget to get up from the computer, give yourself permission to take as many breaks as needed during the day. Fresh air and exercise can do wonders…. As long as you maintain your social distancing!