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Tamara Littleton's top tips for effective remote working

Friday, 20 March 2020 14:12 PM | People power Strategy and process Personal development

Image of Tamara Littleton's top tips for effective remote working

Tamara is the Founder of The Social Element, a fully-remote agency with 175+ people. Here are the top tips she has to share from her wealth of experience managing an award-winning remote team.

Get a good suite of tools in place

Most people will already have the main software in place but to focus on some of the more collaborative tools, we're using Monday.com for task management with built-in commenting. For communication we're using Google Hangouts for either video meetings or quick chats and fast-paced project work and collaboration.

We're also using Zoom for group video - for example, we have a daily company briefing and people join on video which its incredibly interactive. For more 'town hall' type presentations we use GoToMeeting so that we can have a couple of the Exec team presenting and interacting and this is hosted by our Chief People Officer who also coordinates taking questions from the team via chat. This format is more formal but still interactive and we're using this approach for external webinars with panel speakers. 

Get creative with maximising your culture

As we run a flexible and remote model anyway, we're used to running town halls and drop-in chats but we're finding we're upping our creativity to really keep morale high. As so many of our staff and freelancers are in lockdown, now more than ever it is crucial people feel connected.

We're trialling work drinks online, quiz nights, online exercise sessions and even online karaoke! We have some internal communities and we're encouraging everyone to share tips to help with mental wellness but also resources for children as so many of our team have their kids at home constantly and are trying to juggle home schooling too.

Adopt a more personal style of leadership

Let's face it, nearly everyone is working from home, so that means your teams but also your clients and suppliers too. We're all getting used to this being the 'new normal' and business has suddenly become a lot more personal.

We're seeing our clients at home on their sofas, we're seeing partners, kids, roommates and pets in the background of video calls and everyone is sharing how they are feeling. It's a new era of vulnerability and leaders are adapting. There is something quite special about seeing people in their home environment, and whilst I used to be a real stickler for controlling my background and being careful not to let people wander around or toddlers march into the room when on a video call (like the now infamous BBC interview!), I must admit we're now encouraging people to relax about their kids running around and not worry about it.

Everyone has relaxed because working from home and juggling childcare is now the new normal and there's been a shift towards greater acceptance of that. I'll always be a stickler for dressing appropriately for work though, and I refuse to bend on that! I do however encourage leaders to be mindful of how they stage video calls. It's great to share that personal side of you and allow others to see your home but just be mindful of what message you're giving off with your surroundings.

As we all move towards business as usual albeit working from home, a plain background or even a green screen that allows you to project a different background may end up becoming de rigeur. 

Tamara is hosting a webinar with us on Thursday 2nd April at 10:00am, where she'll share top tips on making remote working work for you. Book in here