COVID-19: Recommendations & Best Practices For Remote Work

Mar 13, 2020 · 5 min read
COVID-19 is testing our preparedness to go fully, officially remote

Although we’ve always supported remote work, the Coronavirus pandemic has tested our preparedness. While fortunately the number of COVID-19 cases in Portugal, where we are headquartered, remains relatively low compared to other impacted countries, we made the decision to go fully remote on Wednesday (March 11).

On that day, we circulated our recommendations and best practices for remote work internally and externally on social media. We also share them below to help other be safe, healthy and productive.

Going Remote: Recommendations & Best Practices

Tips to avoid boredom, routine and unhealthy habits:

  • Leave the house, stretch your legs: Without disregard to government recommendations and instruction and provided that you keep safe from gatherings and other groups, going for a walk to get some sun will help make you happier and clear your mind;
  • Walking 1:1s: We all love walking 1:1s, and this is a great opportunity to keep doing them, but instead of walking side by side with your teammate, you can do it over a phone call;
  • Work-life balance: Working at home can make you more productive, but do not forget to set limits for yourself. Know when to finish work and start enjoying your day, even if you do not leave the same physical space.
  • Home office: Set up a small office at home, preferably in a place where you usually do not use to relax and use it just to work. This way you can have a clear distinction between your workspace and mindset, and your own time.
  • Virtual coffees: Even if you don’t have a random coffee planned for today or this week, try to connect with your teammates outside of work topics. We are social creatures who need social interactions to be happy. Take this as an opportunity to engage with people you usually wouldn’t.
  • Do not overuse pajama days: Although it feels great to work in your pajamas sometimes, using normal clothes as if you were going to the office, helps to change the mindset from being at home chilling to work mode.
  • Communicate proactively: We won’t be able to engage with each other on our work interactions in person, so regardless of the tool we use to communicate make sure you keep doing that, proactively, remotely. Be part of what glues us as a company.

The company standard for communication is Slack, which helps us keep in touch across all of our locations.

Moreover, it’s important to understand some guidelines to ensure that everyone is using Slack in the same way! If you’re new to Slack, check out their great tutorials section here.

Communication Channels

  • Channel Life Cycle: Anyone can create a channel.

Guidelines to add a new channel:

  • Set a topic that states the purpose of the channel;
  • Invite all relevant parties.

Closing guidelines:

  • Channel must be archived after used;
  • If a channel is inactive for 3 months or more, anyone is entitled to archive it after informing the channel creator.

Other Guidelines:

  • Public channels: We use public Slack channels for digital communication. This saves time in filling others in on statuses of projects and keeps with our goal of having an open culture. We do not allow private slack channels, as we believe in a culture of transparency.
  • Avoid using @channel or @here unless really necessary: “really necessary” meaning everyone in that channel should be immediately aware of something.
  • Direct messages: Good for discussing things 1–1 when a face-to-face conversation isn’t possible. Keep in mind though, that anything that others could benefit from reading should go into a public channel.
  • Group discussions: Should be done in a public Channel. Unless, when discussing private information: Salaries and Performance. When doing it privately you’re putting into jeopardy the fact that this information could be relevant to more people outside of the discussion group. So default to the public channels for group discussions.

Channels you cannot miss:

  • #updates: Where all company updates are shared;
  • #general: Where we have important company-wide discussions;
  • #leadership: Our transparent Leadership channel;
  • #b: For random non-work related topics;
  • Department channels: Join department related channels if you are interested in keeping up with updates from those teams.
  • #kudos: To give praise to our teammates.

Slack Status:

  • Holidays/sick time: If you’re going to be out of the office for the day, it’s best to set your Slack status accordingly so that other team members can be aware;
  • In a meeting: to make your teammates aware that you might take longer to respond.

Not applicable right now, but relevant for the future:

  • Remote: If you’re usually in the office but are working remote for the day, it’s best to set your Slack status accordingly;
  • Commuting: If you are going to the office, but available to discuss topics on slack if needed;

Healthy Slack Practices:

  • Working hours/Snooze: As a remote-friendly global company, keep in mind that other team members’ working hours may differ from yours. It’s best to snooze notifications outside of working hours to maintain a healthy work/life balance. When pinging someone after hours, it’s best to respect the snoozed notifications unless very urgent (product down, etc).
  • Acknowledging messages: It’s important for everyone to feel heard. So, when someone writes on a channel, even if you don’t have anything to add, acknowledge the message with an emoji. This way we can create a feeling of “hearing each other”. And even though you feel you might not be the most relevant person to answer a question/request, feel free to help instead of assuming someone else will.
  • Responding to Slack messages: The goal is to respond to all non-urgent Slack notifications the same day you receive them (if you’re in the office). Urgent notifications must be responded ASAP.
  • Customer channels: Remember not to share any confidential information or discuss inappropriate topics.
  • @here: If you are in a channel, you should respond to things addressed to your channel (if relevant to you) without being @here or @channel notified.
  • Broadcast: When in a remote setting like ours, broadcast. If you have a call and some discussion/conclusions were made, feel free to share these on a relevant Slack channel.
  • If overwhelmed: By your notifications, consider paring down the Slack channels you are in (you can always open one to see what’s going on) or putting some on Mute so you can stay updated without being notified. You can see this Slack article for more ideas on reducing noise:

Hope this list helps, we’ve included some other resources below. Above all, stay safe and healthy.

Other Resources


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