I have been working remotely for seven years and studied telehealth throughout my PhD program. During this time I have experienced the positives and negatives of remote work. In the first few years I felt very isolated and cut off from the rest of the company. However, I did enjoy the flexibility remote work offered me. So, I set out to identify resources to decrease the feeling of isolation and make working remotely more enjoyable.
A little over two years ago K-Now was founded, which is 100% remote. At K-Now there is not a brick and mortar establishment and all of the employees work from their home and provide support through telehealth, in clinics, in schools, and in homes. In starting K-Now a main goal was to ensure none of the team members ever felt the same isolation as I did. Instead the goal was to encompass positive characteristics of an in person working environment such as collaboration, communication, connectivity, support and consistency in the environment.
I am going to say we were successful and I am happy to share ten key components in having a positive remote work environment.
- Daily Check Ins– We do not go more than 24 hours between team member check ins. Check ins include the executive team checking in with each other and individuals on the leadership team and the leadership team checking in with our interns and leads. And because we truly believe in “data or it didn’t happen” we keep a log of who has checked in with who.
- Weekly Meetings– We schedule weekly meetings with different team member configurations such as:
- Clinical Leadership
- Clinical Interns
- All team
- Monthly newsletter/email– At the beginning of each month we send out an email that includes company updates, reminders, important dates, and encouragement.
- Send out Packages- We do not have a set interval in which we send out packages, but we send out packages to team members that include swag, snacks, and treats.
- Social Events– We create social events such as the Merry Meet Up quarterly and coordinate conference attendance so no one is attending a conference solo.
- Office Hours– We have set office hours weekly. During this time a team member opens a virtual meeting room and keeps that room open for the duration of office hours. During that time team members can come and go as they want.
- Availability– There is an executive team member available at all times. It is important for the team members to know they are supported and not on an island, so we always have an executive team member available to answer their questions and provide support as needed.
- Employee Shout Outs– Each month we identify at least one positive for each team member. These are shared in our monthly newsletter/emails. We do not individually call out one person because we want to ensure every team member knows how valuable they are.
- Live Work– Sometimes we just jump on meetings with each other and work. During this time we do not always have to meet or talk, but it is a tool to use when you need that extra support or accountability.
- Preferred and Flex Scheduling– Finally, we utilize both preferred and flex scheduling. We encourage our team members to practice work/life balance and empower them to develop a schedule (within our client needs) that fits their lifestyle.