Ten top tips for healthy remote working

This blog post winds up my series about homeworking, based on the tip sheets published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). If you missed any earlier posts on the subject, you can access them from the links at the bottom of this page.

1. Put safety first

Encourage managers to conduct electronic risk assessments with their teams, to ensure the home workplace is suitable. Make sure all workers know about your health and safety policies. If you supply equipment it must pass relevant safety tests.

2. Know when to step away from your desk

Be clear about when your working day begins and ends and take breaks to refresh. When work is over, be sure you switch off to avoid burnout. Cultivate healthy habits such as taking exercise and fresh air every day.

3. Minimise stress

People managers should set clear expectations about the way employees should deliver and receive communications throughout the working day. This will help alleviate pressure and anxiety.

4. Have a daily virtual huddle

This is essential for keeping connected and a means for line managers to check in on their team’s physical and mental well-being, and discuss any additional support they need to fulfil their roles from home.

5. Foster relationships

Make time for non-work chats as you would in the workplace, and use video calling to maintain face-to-face contact.

6. Show the big picture but prepare to flex

People managers should remind teams of the big picture and how their work fits into it. Review short-term goals regularly and adjust as needed. If some members can’t carry out all their usual work, consider other skills they can lend to others to meet team goals.

7. Set expectations and trust your colleagues

Be clear about mutual expectations and trust your colleagues to get on without micromanaging. Focus on results rather than activity. Working relationships can deteriorate quickly and well-being suffer without trust.

8. Be kind

Remote conversations can easily be misinterpreted as it’s harder to read body language, tone of voice and other visual and audio cues. Stay mindful of this when delivering difficult messages or feedback. Challenging times call for greater sensitivity and kindness.

9. Discourage presenteeism

If you’re unwell, take leave and do your best to give an update or handover on urgent work. As a manager or team leader, encourage people to take time off if unwell, and model the behaviour yourself.

10. Offer support on well-being

Organisations should remind staff of their existing health and well-being benefits (such as employee assistance programmes or occupational health) and how to access them when working remotely.

If you have any questions about healthy remote working, email me or call me on 020 7099 2621.

If you missed any of my earlier posts on this topic, you can access them here:

Ten top tips on homeworking: Legal and contractual considerations

Ten top tips for effective online meetings

Ten top tips for managing remote teams