Set the etiquette rules, from turning on video during meetings (this shows you’re engaged) to managing expectations when it comes to response times.
Over-communicate. This could be in the form of daily meetings or a weekly update for the whole team on the business strategy.
Include everyone. If some members of your team are on furlough leave, put measures in place to involve them (without breaking the terms of the scheme). You could make sure they’re invited to online team socials or assign them a buddy who they can talk to (who’s not a manager) to make sure they’re coping.
Set expectations and priorities so everyone knows what they should be prioritising and achieving on a daily, weekly and monthly basis… and leave room for manoeuvre as things change.
But set boundaries too. People shouldn’t feel pressured to be on call all of the time. Set an example by not sending colleagues instant messages outside of office hours. If you must send that 11pm email, schedule it so it arrives in people’s inboxes the next morning.
Does everyone have their home office sorted? Make sure the team has what they need to work from home, from devices, software and internet connectivity to an ergonomic desk setup.
Remote working: essentials for everyone
Create a routine and find your new normal. This could be having a lunchtime walk, getting regular calls in the diary and making sure you take a lunch hour.
Don’t work from bed. Not only is it ergonomically unwise, but you’ll probably find it harder to distinguish between working and relaxing time.
Set rules for your new colleagues. You never thought your partner, flatmates or family would be your colleagues, but here we are. We know some people have even set up a meeting room rota system so that everyone can take calls in private.
Stick to working hours. The temptation is there to dip into work early or late, but you could end up suffering from burnout.Collaboration tools
Zoom is the popular video conferencing platform of the moment, but Jamm bills itself as a more spontaneous video tool.
Slack: move conversations away from email towards this messaging platform.
Collaborate within a set time period using Cuckoo. Create a virtual room, set the timer and invite participants.Keep everyone informed and create wikis on Notion.
Use MarkUp to gather feedback on a website page… without the email chains.Solutions like MURAL and miro can help you brainstorm ideas and share ideas collaboratively.
Use Fellow to manage your team and set agendas for 1:1 meetings.
Icebreaker can help the team get to know each other better. There are over 300 questions designed to build trust and connectedness.
Mental and physical health
Enjoy a free trial and 50% off Fiit. We’re excited to reveal that Plexal’s teamed up with our member Fiit to bring all current Plexal members a 50% discount on virtual workout classes (they’re also offering a 14-day free trial). Click on this link to activate your code if you’re a current member. Fiit works hard to make its classes inclusive and varied, so you can choose from over 500 options, from HIIT sessions to pilates and yoga. If you want to join our members’ leaderboard, email us on email@example.com
Get your friends together on Houseparty to play a game.
Plexal’s delivering the LORCA programme, which supports the brightest cybersecurity innovators with cutting-edge tools. If you have a cyber challenge, we can point you in the direction of a member who could help. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Support a Plexal member by trying out the Fonetti app, which helps children learn to read in an interactive way.
Video conferencing and instant messaging etiquette
All of a sudden, the office as we know it has changed. Freelancers are already pros at working from home, but for many of us this is a brave new world that we’re suddenly having to adjust to.
And one of the biggest shifts has been in the way we communicate. Video conferencing and instant messaging is the new norm, but how do we avoid the pitfalls and gaffes waiting to happen?
We’ve crowdsourced some do’s and don’ts to help you come out of the other side with your reputation – and working relationships – intact.
Turn on your video
Or people will assume the worst – that you’re not engaged, haven’t bothered to get dressed or are doing something else other than attentively listening. The imagination can be a powerful thing…
Seeing people’s reactions and facial expressions is crucial for maintaining relationships and making the conversation flow naturally too. Take the plunge (and remember to look into the camera).
Consider your backdrop
The background in your video call says a lot about you.
Tastefully curated gallery walls or world map = cultured, well-travelled with a healthy work-life balance.
Healthy-looking plants = this person is reliable and has their life together.
The headboard of your bed = questionable sense of boundaries.
If you’d rather not let your colleagues peer into your personal life that’s fair enough, but a word of caution about one particular video function that’s being used in some circles. Blurring or changing your background might be tempting if you’re feeling shy about your laundry pile, but people will just wonder what you’re hiding.
Friday drinks can live on
Video calls aren’t just for serious meetings: why not get everyone on a group video call to have a drink together at the same time? Keeping morale high right now is important, and it can be great fun – albeit chaotic.
If that doesn’t appeal, having an instant messaging channel dedicated to something fun can work just as well and give meme addicts an outlet for expression.
Try to keep your home life separate… but don’t sweat it when that’s not possible
Let your family or housemates know when you’re jumping on a video call so you don’t get any gatecrashers.
But at the same time, everyone’s in the same boat and juggling home and work life just as you are. Maybe it’s time we relaxed a bit more and started thinking differently about what “being professional” means, and allowed ourselves to be a bit more human at work? We are all Robert Kelly.
Pay attention to instant messaging etiquette Avoid sending people instant messages outside of office hours and keep messages short. Anything that doesn’t require an immediate response or is just an FYI is an email.
And never start an instant message with “hey” and wait for a response. Get your point across from the start so they know what they’re getting into.