Establishing Your Connection: Working From Home series with PwC
PwC’s top tips to help you adjust to working remotely
There is a global shift happening within our workforce as the concept of working from home (WFH) is being tested at a huge scale. We caught up with Leyla Yildirim, Chief Strategy Officer from PwC Channel Islands, to hear her thoughts on the subject. Leyla has extensive experience developing ‘future of work’ scenarios for clients and for PwC, including innovative ways of working and driving productivity.
In this Working From Home series, we aim to address some of the most crucial points for you to get right. We want to help you to establish a winning routine from the beginning. Here we're discuss the subject of connectivity and how you can avoid feeling isolated whilst working remotely.
We are fortunate in PwC to have a digitally enabled workforce. Our flexible working culture means our staff are already used to working remotely from home or client sites.
Leyla Yildirim, Chief Strategy Officer, Guernsey, PwC Channel Islands
It’s not just about digital connection (although we'll be the first to admit that if you can’t get online then you have a big problem!), maintaining your personal connections are vital for a positive remote working experience. Regularly communicating with your colleagues is important to avoid feelings of isolation. This can also be said of your productivity levels - if you go for days working on a big project without connecting to others you may find that the brief has changed and your precious time has been wasted. Touching base, however formally or informally, can help you stay on track and progress stage by stage, helping to give you a sense of achievement.
Leyla’s top tips:
Checking in with the team – a daily team 'huddle' is a good way to share activities and keep track of progress. It's also a good way to agree individual actions and team goals.
All-inclusive – on a broader scale another way to keep in touch with everyone is to hold a virtual Town Hall event, here at PwC we are using Google Livestream to host cross-island virtual Town Hall as an inclusive way of checking in with all of our staff and sending united messages.
Try scheduling in a daily virtual team meeting, using tools such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, or Cisco Webex to name a few, to help you maintain a strong connection with your team. This will help everyone avoid feelings of isolation and distancing. At the Digital Greenhouse, our team holds virtual Daily Stand-ups every morning, where each person covers off:
- Completed tasks from the day before
- Planned work for the day
- Any blockers or problems that the rest of the team might be able to help us with.
Other ways of supporting projects and sustaining teamwork include digital organisational tools, such as Trello task manager app or Google Drive with interactive docs. These include functions where you can tag colleagues, make live changes and show progress without lengthy explanations.
To encourage social interaction, you could try using chat facilities to replicate social interactions. People will be missing small conversations in the kitchen, morning catch-ups or chats about what's happening this weekend. There might not be much news to share but these short exchanges can build your team’s morale and make for better working relationships. Popular apps include Slack and Whats App.
Leyla’s top tip:
Use all the tech – always switch your camera on which creates a more 'human' interaction. If the camera is sapping your bandwidth, try adjusting your settings to reduce the definition to a standard setting. Use headphones to improve sound quality.
From a more formal perspective, if you're having virtual meetings with clients or management, there are few more points to consider to help the meeting go well.
- Are you ready? Setting an alert 10 minutes before to ensure that you have everything you need and that you can access the link to the meeting can help you join on a positive note, without feeling flustered or unprepared.
- What’s behind you? Check what is in view of your camera before turning your camera on. Whilst we don’t suggest you sit against a white wall, try to avoid having a background that is too distracting or have inappropriate items visible. You could also try using a virtual background to disguise your surroundings.
- What’s that noise? Where possible plan meetings for times when you won’t be interrupted… Do you know that your dog always barks when the postman turns up at 10am? Can you avoid putting the washing machine on so that the spin cycle doesn’t whine away in the background?
It's the little things like these that will help you have more effective meetings. And it leads nicely on to our next article in this Working From Home with PwC series, all about logistics of your work space and schedules. Follow the link below to keep reading:
Read another article in this Working From Home with PwC series: