Working together, apart.

Mar. 17, 2020

Dara Z. Klarfeld

[This article was originally published by Dara Z. Klarfeld  in LinkedIn on 03/17/2020]

Week 1: What Our Team Has Learned So Far About Working Remotely

Like most companies that have been able to make the switch, our team has started working fully remotely. And while we were technologically prepared to make this change, the bigger concern was how to stay connected – so we can continue serving clients and maintaining a strong, effective team. While it’s still early on in this process, we’ve already encountered a few lessons worth sharing.

Listen to each other: We started our week by meeting with the entire team via Zoom, to listen to everyone’s concerns and share ideas about how best to navigate this situation together. This was especially helpful for me as CEO, as it helped me recognize that while I am someone who has always worked efficiently from home, that experience is not necessarily shared by everyone. Our team is diverse in age, gender, race, geography, and level of comfort with remote technology — so sharing our collective views and concerns helps ensure we’re supporting each other.

Adjust to a new norm: Each day we huddle virtually at 9am for 15 minutes to talk about what’s coming up for the day, share a cup of virtual coffee, chat about things going on in our homes, share silly videos we made of our cats or our kids the night before, or talk about what we’re making for dinner and how we are feeling. Doing this every morning gives us a sense of routine and helps us to build community and feel a little less isolated during this time. We also use this time to check in on everyone and help adjust workloads if people are feeling overwhelmed by the moment or want to brainstorm a new idea.

Don’t be afraid to share your life: In our work, we try to remember that every person we encounter has a network of family, friends and communities who have helped to shape them. As colleagues, we often bring only a small piece of our entire world into the workplace. Now that we are working from home, we have a deeper view into who people are and how they live. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn about a different dimension of the people with whom you work and will help to build stronger collaborative relationships for the future.

Establish clear expectations: As a team, we quickly recognized the need to set basic ground rules with each other to help keep business running smoothly.

  • Maintain clear and frequent communication: make sure colleagues always know how to connect with on another and that we have regular visibility into shared tasks.
  • Stay on track: Though our normal routines may be disrupted, we must stick to our commitments in the form of regular deadlines and to-do’s.
  • Reassure clients: We must go out of our way to remind clients we’re here for them and will do all we can serve them as effectively as ever.

Get the support you need: Working remotely can feel isolating, so don’t be shy about reaching out to colleagues if you need a boost or could use some help refocusing.

  • Use video chat, even when it’s not completely necessary: Set up regular check-ins with the same work buddies you’d normally talk to throughout the day. Even just a few minutes first thing in the morning, comparing notes or sharing your work plans for the day, can make a big difference.
  • Remember to laugh: Whenever I get stressed or anxious about something, I find it helpful to take a break and watch (or make!) a funny video or two. You might encourage your team to share video clips at designated times each day (around lunch time, perhaps) just to boost morale and remind us we’re all in this together.
  • Don’t forget to breathe: Take a minute every now and again to take a deep breath and pause. I am not a yogi or a lifelong meditation guru, but I can say that remembering to stop and breathe over the last week has been enormously important.

For those also balancing parenthood…it’s also important to remember our current situation, while unpredictable and sometimes confusing, is temporary and will eventually come to an end.

  • Stay flexible: Aside from calls and meetings, some things may be more easily done when kids are in bed and not swarming around you like mosquitoes. Allow yourself extra flexibility as you work to get important tasks accomplished.
  • Give people a heads up: If you have kids who are also at home, inform people of those circumstances when you need to. This can be a good way to keep the broader situation in context–and can also serve as fair warning in case a kid comes streaking through your home office in their birthday suit. (Who hasn’t had that happen at least once?)


Most Important: Forgive yourself. It’s not going to be perfect. It never was, and it never will be. All of us are in this together—so just try to remember that and do the best that you can.



As this situation continues to unfold, we’ll be sharing more ideas and viewpoints on how to stay effective, and sane.

Have a perspective to share? Please consider sharing in the comments below. 


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[This article was originally published by Dara Z. Klarfeld  in LinkedIn on 03/17/2020]