We've Worked Virtually For Years: Here's How

March 16, 2020

Equality Federation operates remotely year round so now that COVID-19 has forced many other jobs to close offices and implement work from home policies we wanted to share a few tips that have helped us operate at a high-level:

  • Use video! Phone calls are not the same. Use google hangouts for multiple folks. Or, you can get a free zoom account for one on one calls.
  • Personal check-ins. Around the office these happen organically. In remote work, set aside time in staff meetings or check-ins to talk about what movies you are watching, what recipes you’ve tried, etc.
  • Try to keep work hours. Use your calendar to block off work times and to schedule home things too, like “cook dinner” or “take a walk.” This will help you not let your work bleed into your entire day.
  • Use coworking blocks. Sometimes coworkers on our team will hop on a video call and then just work on something together, even if we are in separate sections of the document. It feels less lonely.
  • Slack! If you haven’t already, set up a Slack for your team and include channels for teams or projects, as well as a #watercooler channel for random chat.

If you haven’t managed employees remotely, it can seem scary but it turns out that good remote management is basically the same as good management in general:

  • Schedule weekly supervision meetings and make them a priority. It’s ok to reschedule occasionally but don’t skip weeks unless one of you is on vacation. Use video not just phone. Keep a running agenda you can both add to throughout the week, and save non-urgent topics for the meeting rather than a barrage of emails or slacks.
  • Delegate clearly. Take a look at the Management Center’s delegation worksheet next time you’re assigning a project.
  • Ask probing questions to get beneath the surface.
  • Manage up. You don’t have to be a supervisor to manage. Help your boss out by asking for what you need from them.

We’ve compiled a list of resources that will help you navigate your new digital workplace. As experienced remote employees we found some new helpful tips and tricks to take our meetings to the next level.

  • Our friends at PowerLabs are convening a call about organizing in this current environment. It is open to all progressive groups. Sign up for the call.
  • As folks start to move their in-person meetings/trainings/organizing to virtual here is a great resource. The content is climate change, but you can take the skills training and apply it to your work.
  • Mobilize America posted a smart list of some strategies that may be helpful for organizers.
  • This resource reminds us about behaviors to keep us grounded amidst turbulent times. Like not reading news that isn’t teaching you anything but is making you feel more worried. We hope these reminders will be useful and help you stay grounded.
  • From our good friends at M+R, some thoughts on organizing in the time of coronavirus.
  • Here is another resource about moving meetings to online. Visit the tools section for templates to make your online meetings interactive.
  • This tech handbook was crowdsourced and is full of links that may be helpful for technologists building things related to the coronavirus outbreak..

Fundraisers are facing unique challenges in this environment. Our development team gathered these helpful resources to help you keep communication with your donors moving forward.

Check back here as we update this post with more resources and tips. If you have resources you’d like to share please feel free to email us at info@equalityfederation.org.

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