In light of current events, this article roundup will primarily focus on positive, useful, 100% free tips and tools to support people leaders, HR practitioners, L&D professionals, facilitators, consultants, coaches, and anyone going a little stir crazy while working from home.
For those we know in the talent development industry making the transition from in-person training to virtual delivery, there’s plenty of amazing guidance and clarifying pointers. More broadly, working from home has been a fixture of recent workplace discussion and is trending among the most-searched terms online in Australia (along with office equipment, food delivery, supermarkets, and overseas travel), so hopefully there's at least 1 among this lot of 24 articles that may be of benefit to you or someone you know. Stay safe, look after yourself, look after others, and more importantly than ever, look for kindness in the storm.
If you or your team would find it helpful to know your working from home style, we are pleased to offer you a free Working From Home assessment! We have partnered with TTI Success Insights to offer you the opportunity to complete this 15-minute assessment that provides insight into communication and working styles with some personalised tips on working from home.
All you need to do to get is go to our assessments centre and follow the onscreen prompts.
The Working From Home Report is automatically emailed to you upon completion. The report uses a simplified version of the full DISC report, and as such, it does not require a coaching debrief. With this report, it’s very much a DIY (do it yourself) approach to learning and development that leaders can tailor to teams’ needs and engagement agendas.
Now, onto the 24-article roundup...
Coronavirus: How to Work From Home, the Right way
13 March 2020 | BBC Worklife | Bryan Lufkin
- Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually, for example, or your company might not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers, like the chat app Slack or video conferencing app Zoom, Larson says.
- But even for those accustomed to it, working from home can feel unstructured and isolating. Last year, a study of 2,500 remote workers by online brand development agency Buffer found that loneliness was the second-most reported challenge, one experienced by 19% of respondents.
- With a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate, it becomes easier to unlock the benefits of remote work. In a survey of 7,000 workers last year by FlexJobs, 65% said they’re more productive working from home, citing benefits like fewer interruptions from colleagues, minimal office politics and reduced stress from commuting.
10 Best Practice Tips For Leading Virtual Teams
26 March 2020 | UNSW Media | Will Felps
- UNSW’s Associate Professor Will Felps and former MBA student Virginia Kane conducted research on best practices in leading virtual teams. They found that the rules that apply to face-to-face teams do not necessarily apply to virtual teams and suggest managers must be more disciplined in their approach to managing virtual teams.
- Drawing on best-practice insights from an in-depth review of the academic literature and interviews with nine experts, whose experience in leading virtual teams spanned telecommunications, technology, education, consumer packaged goods, banking and insurance, mining, transportation and professional service industries, these participants had faced challenges with virtual teaming and had great (and oft-surprising) solutions for leading effective teams.
What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting (12 Tips)
5 March 2020 | Harvard Business Review | Bob Frisch and Cary Greene
- Virtual meetings — even impromptu ones sparked by fears of a contagion — can be run more effectively, using basic meeting best practices and easy-to-use, inexpensive technology. Here are 12 steps you can take to make that happen.
- Use video.
- Always provide an audio dial-in option.
- Test the technology ahead of time.
- Make sure faces are visible.
- Stick to meeting basics.
- Minimise presentation length.
- Use an icebreaker.
- Assign a facilitator.
- Call on people.
- Capture real-time feedback.
- Don’t be afraid to tackle tough issues.
- Practice once or twice while you’re still together.
The Incredibly Simple Reason Working From Home Could Be Here to Stay
23 March 2020 | Fast Company | Jared Newman
- Companies are finally investing in the technology they’ve always needed to make remote work possible. Investments that might’ve seemed superfluous before have now become necessary to keep their businesses running.
- Rob Smith, an analyst with Gartner, says he’s been inundated with calls from companies that are now trying to put remote work solutions in place. He estimates that roughly one-third of all companies were ill-equipped to send all their employees home, while another third had no remote work plan in place at all.
Working From Home Can Make People More Productive. Just Not During A Pandemic.
20 March 2020 | Vox | Rani Molla
- I recently spoke — on Zoom, of course — with Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, who has written extensively about working from home and who has been pretty bullish about its benefits... But now, with the coronavirus pandemic turning many more people into de facto remote workers, Bloom is less optimistic about the new inundation of working from home.
- [of the 500 workers out of 1000 who volunteered for the study in China] Working from home actually worked well for the employees in China who chose to work from home: They were 13 percent more productive, and the quit rates halved.
- The key advice is to recreate social contact using video conferencing, two ways... For example, the whole group can meet for a 30-minute video chat at 11:00 every day to catch-up on their personal situation, chat about the news or life in general — no work talk.
The Bright Side Of Covid-19: Seven Opportunities Of The Current Pandemic
23 March 2020 | Forbes | Jeroen Kraaijenbrink
- The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of dark sides. No matter how serious and sad all of this is, there are upsides as well. The current crisis offers at least seven of them:
- More time.
- Reflect and reconsider.
- Speed and innovation.
- Better meetings.
- Reconnect and help.
- Cleaner environment.
- Modesty and acceptance.
Adjusting to Remote Work During the Coronavirus Crisis
24 March 2020 | Harvard Business Review
- "The vast majority of organisations are not well prepared to suddenly move their entire workforce wholesale into remote work, even though they’ve had portions of their organisations participate in dispersed work or even global collaboration. So no, this is an unprecedented type of scenario that we’re seeing today."
- Remote work is an actual learned skill. People don’t just do it well organically. So it’s important to help people, to coach people, to provide resources on how to do it well.
- Ordinarily, productivity does not get affected with remote work. And in fact, evidence we have is that productivity actually goes up with remote work. Having said that, what I think will happen during this particular unprecedented era is that it is possible that we might see a dip in productivity because there’s this radical change, kind of this tsunami level shift that we’re seeing in our societies right now.
Going Virtual: The Impact of Coronavirus on L&D and How to Navigate Through Change
20 March 2020 | TrainingZone | Nigel Paine
- The most important lesson that came out of the webinar was that no one faced unique challenges. It’s clear that very few people have it all worked out, and there were many individuals willing to help in an official or unofficial capacity.
- Another equally heartening acknowledgment is that there are many resources that can help, and more are being created every day. (I’m listing some of them at the end of this article). No one is trying to make money out of this, and individuals and companies are giving away their resources in a bid to help.
- Learning leaders seem to be divided into three distinct camps at the moment: 1) Batten down the hatches. 2) Shifting online. 3) Ramp up the speed.
How to Make Sure Your Virtual L&D Training is Effective
20 March 2020 | Training Journal | Tanya Boyd
- Here are some top tips to help you and your teams deliver effective training in a virtual space:
- Be clear on what can be delivered virtually.
- Make sure you have the right technology in place.
- Make sure you have the right people in place.
- Make sure you set the scene and signpost to the future.
- Invest in the tools you need to keep clients engaged and constantly learning.
- Empower your people with everything they need to be successful.
- Challenge perceptions about virtual training.
- Consider individual preferences.
COVID-19: Top Priorities For HR Leaders Revealed
20 March 2020 | Human Capital Magazine | John Hilton
- The vast majority (88%) of organisations have encouraged or required employees to work from home, regardless of whether or not they showed coronavirus-related symptoms, according to a Gartner survey of 800 global HR professionals.
- The Gartner survey shows that organisations, trying to balance employee needs with financial realities, are employing a variety of approaches to time-off policies in response to COVID-19. Nearly half (48%) of employers require employees to use sick leave first, then vacation leave and finally potential PTO for coronavirus absences.
5 Ways the COVID-19 Crisis will Transform HR's Role
24 March 2020 | HR Morning | Tim McElgunn
- Human Resources is at the front lines of employers’ response to the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis is forcing almost every business to immediately develop, adapt or improve remote work policies and procedures. As HR pros struggle to keep employees safe and informed, it helps to think about what changes will be more permanent and how you’ll guide employees and organisational leadership through those changes. Here are 5 effects that you’ll likely be dealing with long after things return to “normal”:
- Remote work will be a permanent feature for more organisations.
- Nurturing culture gets more challenging in dispersed workplaces.
- Talent acquisition and retention remains critical.
- Engaging a remote workforce.
- Accommodation and compliance.
How to Create a Productive Working From Home Culture
20 March 2020 | HRD Magazine | John Hilton
- Until the COVID-19 pandemic, many managers viewed remote working as a privilege and continued to judge workers by their visibility rather than their productivity, according to speaker, author and mentor Donna McGeorge.
- “I’m an advocate of outcome watching not clock watching at the best of times, and when working from home, this is something we need to be particularly diligent about,” said McGeorge. There are three key things that managers and workers need to stay on top of when it comes to having a productive working from home culture.
Psychology Experts Share Their Tips For Safeguarding Your Mental Health During Quarantine
20 March 2020 | CNBC | Karen Gilchrist
- A recent study from medical journal The Lancet notes that the psychological impact of quarantine can be great, resulting in a range of mental health concerns from anxiety and anger to sleep disturbances, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Indeed, separate studies of quarantined patients of SARS, a previous coronavirus outbreak in 2003, found between 10% and 29% suffered PTSD.
- The Lancet’s report found mental health concerns could be inflamed by stressors associated with quarantine, such as infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, lack of information, financial loss and stigma associated with contracting the disease.
Engagedly to Provide Remote Work Toolkit For Free
24 March 2020 | HRD Magazine
- Engagedly has announced it is offering a suite of products part of its Remote Work Toolkit free to any organisation, until Sept 30th, 2020.
Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus
18 March 2020 | Greater Good
- Practices, resources and articles for individuals, parents, educators and health care professionals facing COVID-19.
8 Zoom Hacks To Try During Your Next Work Meeting Or Virtual Happy Hour
24 March 2020 | Bustle | Yeda Khaula Saad
- Thankfully, whether you're stuck at home or somewhere else for the time being, video chat apps make it possible to stay connected with the people who matter most. If you just downloaded Zoom, here are some of the most useful hacks to remember next time you join a work meeting or chat with family.
4 Pro Video-Conferencing Tools You Can Get for Free Right Now
21 March 2020 | PC Magazine
- In the wake of the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, video conferencing and business messaging software and solutions have become vital tools used to keep people connected... Let's look at what's available, how to get it, and what you need to know for each of these available tools.
28+ Free Online Courses Being Offered During the Coronavirus Pandemic
24 March 2020 | Parade | Jessica Sager
- We’ve rounded up a ton of available free online courses, from free Ivy League courses online to free classes being offered from General Assembly. Whether you want to learn how to code, how Romans built arenas, the history of women at work or just about any other conceivable subject, here are the best online classes and courses being offered.
Online Therapy and Wellbeing Resources You Can Access For Free During the Coronavirus Outbreak
24 March 2020 | Stylist | Lauren Geall
- Although our access to traditional face-to-face therapy and mental health support may be minimised at this time, there are a great number of free and easily accessible mental health resources available online – with many more being created specifically to support those affected by the current situation... From free online therapy sessions to meditation courses designed to help you deal with uncertainty, these resources will provide you with tools to help you manage your mental health during this difficult time.
50 Ways to Stay SANE During the Coronavirus Pandemic
24 March 2020 | Yes! Magazine | Guy Dauncey
- The idea is that you look through the list each morning and score each item that appeals to you from 0-10. If you have a partner, he or she does the same. Then plan your day, focusing on your top scoring items.
40 Meaningful Things to Do When Stuck At Home in a Pandemic.
19 March 2020 | Clearer Thinking | Spencer Greenberg
- Here's our list of 40 meaningful activities you can do (that are free or only of modest cost) when you’re self-isolating at home or stuck in quarantine. This could be your chance to revisit old friendships online, focus on important things you don't usually think about, or finish a project that you’ve been putting off for too long!
Time For Some Well-Meming Fun
19 March 2020 | The Daily Telegraph
- Take a break from the news feeds... check out some coronavirus memes for a laugh.
Into the Storm: A Poetic Response to Crisis: Cocoons, Chrysalises and the Sublimation of Anxiety.
19 March 2020 | The Museletter | Jason Fox
- I worry that many people’s mythical reference points for these times are apocalyptic. Terrible scenarios where individualism and tribalism run rife; where any sense of community collapses. Let’s not have that. This is a time of renewal. A means of remaking who we are and how we work. You might have been a warlock this past decade or so, devoting your life energy to the corporate-patron egregore-god of whatever brand you serve; selling your soul just a little more each day, in exchange for bit of wealth and power. Maybe it’s time to reconsider this dark pact?
30 Books and Series to Read While Social Distancing
20 March 2020 | TIME | TIME Staff
- Everyone has different ways of coping with the events of the outbreak; these books will allow you to get however close or far from what’s going on outside as you want. From stories of pandemics and post-apocalyptic societies and triumphant narratives about spending time alone to pure page-turning escapism, here are 30 books and series to read while staying home.