Successful Tips for Suddenly Working Remotely

Across the US and the world, many companies are allowing employees to work from home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This change has presented challenges as well as opportunities and we’re here to lend a helping hand with some successful tips for suddenly working remotely.

First, let’s step back for some perspective. The pandemic means this current change to remote work may be temporary, lasting for weeks or a few months. Navigating it successfully means your company is prepared for whatever the next reason for remote work may be. And, coming out of the current situation, some organizations may decide to shift some or all of their work to the remote model. With the right setup and expectations, doing so can offer benefits such as cost savings and flexibility.

Whether or not your company will go fully remote in the future, here are some tips to be successful during the coming few weeks. They come from best practices and company leaders in working remotely, including from our friends at GitLab. GitLab offers a complete software DevOps platform for development, security and operations teams—and, with more than 1,200 team members in 65 countries working 100% remotely, they have created a model that works.

Working remotely

Remote working tips for companies

Ensure coverage

What hours will you be open and how will you serve customers? This of course is highly dependent on what you do and where you normally do it. Consider how to stagger your workforce to ensure customer service availability, fulfillment and any other considerations specific to what you do. 

Ensure access and security

What technology resources and access do your team members need to do their jobs successfully? With your workforce suddenly distributed, consider the security ramifications of an array of connected devices. Are your team members using company devices or has your company already implemented BYOD (bring your own device)?

Ensure connection

Maintaining connection, collaboration and your company culture can suddenly be much more difficult when working remotely. However, video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts, Skype and Zoom can help people feel like they are in the same space to do their best work. Be clear with company communication to help your talent understand what is going on across your organization.

Remote working tips for individuals

Create a routine

Now is the time to design a schedule to suit your productivity and focus. Be sure to discuss options with your manager, including the option of preserving a workday schedule or shifting to working during your waves of peak focus.

Find balance

Take breaks during the workday to maintain your ability to focus. You may be juggling your own work with the need to help children with e-learning. And if you and your spouse are both suddenly working remotely, consider shifts to help you meet your shared professional and family obligations.

parents suddenly working remotely

Communicate clearly

Teams working remotely need regular updates. Reach out to your team members via tools like Zoom, Slack, text, email and more to share updates and continue status meetings.

Remote working tips for managers

Establish expectations that work

Lay out your expectations for your team’s approach to communications and updates. Therefor, be flexible and understanding as your team members juggle new schedules. And do not “check” if employees are working; if there is a problem, discuss it over the phone with your team member, if possible.

Say thanks

Express your thanks and recognize teamwork and contributions. Do continue to stoke morale!

Support balance

Unless absolutely necessary for a specific deliverable, don’t encourage long work hours. Help employees preserve the weekend and other “off” times to stave off burnout.


Want to learn more? Join us for an important webinar, Remote Without Warning presented by #DallasHR on Thursday, March 26 at 3:00 PM CST or sign up for the replay. We will talk about GitLab’s approach as well as how another company, Jack Morton, has just shifted its 6,300 employees to remote work. We will also answer your questions. Please note this is an informational webinar only and not for recertification credit. 

working remotely webinar

DallasHR is the third largest SHRM affiliate chapter in the nation. With more than 2,300 engaged HR professionals, the Chapter has been Advancing the Value of HR since 1939 through cutting-edge education, fun networking events and opportunities to share best practices with others in the field of HR. The Chapter powers The HRSouthwest Conference, one of the largest regional HR events in the U.S. hosting more than 2,400 attendees in Fort Worth annually. DallasHR events are held in both Dallas and Collin Counties. Visit us at to join or to register and follow us at #DALLASHR, #HRSWC.