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Five tips for remote working

Also, check out the three tips below for working efficiently in virtual teams.
Matkapuhelin värikkäällä taustalla, kuvituskuva

Five tips for remote working:

1. Clear goals. When working remotely, the clarity of objectives and schedules becomes very important. It is a good idea to agree on goals and responsibilities with your team and your supervisor. To increase transparency about the progress of work and any questions it may be worth communicating with the team at regular intervals – daily on urgent tasks.

2. Trust. Adhering to agreed tasks and schedules creates trust. You should communicate proactively if you find that a task is taking longer than expected. Micromanaging others is not helpful.

3. Tools. Make sure everyone has the tools and technology they need for their work and have access to essential work information. A quiet workstation helps you stay focused. To improve your concentration it is a good idea to avoid both "multitasking", i.e. doing many different things at the same time, and simultaneously monitoring many different communication tools.

4. Interaction. In a remote working community, you must ensure that communication between team members is active and that everyone is able to use the agreed communication tools (Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc.). 

5. Well-being at work. Taking care of your well-being is also important when working remotely. Being able to influence your own time use, work community confidence and the smooth intertwining of work and home affairs throughout the working day supports well-being at work. 

Three tips for working efficiently in virtual teams:

1. Availability. It's a good idea to agree on how fast messages are expected to be answered within your team. Responding within the agreed time is important even if you do not have an answer yet. You can then tell the team that you need more time to investigate or resolve the matter. Not responding to messages creates uncertainty and frustration, which, if repeated, can lead to a lack of trust.

2. Virtual meetings. Virtual team meetings should be organised to enhance collaboration. At the beginning of the meeting, it is a good idea to spend a moment exchanging news to build a good team spirit. A video connection helps to keep focus on the meeting and helps to ensure that everyone participates in the discussion. It is also worthwhile to ensure that decisions are jointly agreed on.

3. Team relationships. Geographical distance to team members can also create mental distance. That is why it is important to build relationships and trust by sharing more than just work-related news. Video chat in virtual meetings allows you to meet your team mates in their personal environment. Close relationships with colleagues increase commitment, job satisfaction and well-being at work. Some teams organise virtual coffee breaks, and even parties with conference tools.

Työelämäprof. Niina Nurmi. Kuva: Jaakko Kahilaniemi / Aalto-yliopisto
Professor of Practice Niina Nurmi. Photo: Jaakko Kahilaniemi / Aalto University

Tips for remote work and working efficiently in virtual teams were given by Niina Nurmi, Professor of Practice at the School of Business. Nurmi leads Aalto's International Design Business Management (IDBM) programme and has focused her research on the impact of digitalisation on employee performance from the perspective of well-being, creativity and innovation.

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