We’ve always had a strong work-from-home culture here at CyberSmart. We’ve got team members based all over the globe and encourage staff in London to work from wherever they work best. We are, in many respects, ‘remote by design.’

But this week, for the first time, we took the step along with businesses across the world to send our staff home and go fully remote in light of the spread of the coronavirus. 

As we make our way through this first week, hunkered down in our kitchens and living rooms, we’ve implemented a few new office rituals to help keep up team morale. Here are a few of the practices we’ve been using to stay sane:

One of the perks of home working – new coworkers

Stand-up and stand-down meetings

Working from home can be disorienting. You’ve got dogs begging for walks and dishes demanding to be washed while a never ending stream of work alerts is pinging from your computer screen. The line between life and work can be very difficult to see. 

To combat this ambiguity, we have implemented two standing meetings at the start and end of every day. These offer a clear marker for the beginning and end of the workday and provide an opportunity to share priorities and struggles, and to make sure we all know where we’re heading together.

Using a variety of communication channels

We haven’t changed our communication channels since transitioning to a remote setup, but we’ve quickly realised how valuable they are. Obviously, instant messaging is important in the absence of face-to-face contact, but having different messaging channels for distinct purposes is also key. 

We use Slack for real-time work messages and WhatsApp for generally aligning the team. Project management software like Monday.com or Asana provide a space for organising and scheduling tasks.

Obviously, instant messaging is important in the absence of face-to-face contact, but having different messaging channels for distinct purposes is also key.

Shared lunches

Did you know the word ‘companion’ comes from the Latin roots of ‘com-’ meaning ‘together’, and ‘panis’ meaning ‘bread’? Sharing a meal- breaking bread together- is an age-old bonding experience for us humans and our regular office team lunches were something we knew we would miss when we went our separate ways. We use Google Meet or Slack so we can dial in once a week to see each other’s faces as we devour our respective fridge leftovers.

Tavern

Every Thursday afternoon we do something called Smart Culture and Smart Work in the office. We grab a beer from the fridge or make a cuppa and talk about our company culture, our values, and the way we work. It’s a place where we as employees can help shape the development of the business.

Since we have gone remote this time has become precious. It may be the only opportunity we have in a week to reflect together on the way that we work (something that’s changing shape everyday). We have strong core values but are we living them? Who did a fantastic job this week? What’s blocking our communication between teams? What can we change to support one another better? 

Social (distance) bonding

As with team lunches, our monthly team socials have also been forced into the virtual world. Maintaining a sense of camaraderie while apart is critical right now, so we are experimenting with ways to continue to bond across the void. Online games and virtual farming are on the cards, but we’ll have to see what the next few weeks bring. 

Has your team gone remote to combat the spread of coronavirus? What are you doing to keep up spirits and ensure business continuity? As an information security company, we urge you to be aware of the vulnerability to security breaches that can come with remote working. To help address this issue, we have set up a special page for small businesses focused on resiliency during COVID-19. There you can find more information on best practices and free, downloadable checklists and policy packs for your own use.