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Remote Work Tips and Best Practices

Find tips and best practices for UC San Diego staff members who are telecommuting or working in a remote off-campus location.

Set Up Your Home Workspace

Best Practices for Remote Teams

The following guidelines are meant to help us continue to work well together in a remote work environment: 

  • Log on to MS Teams when you start your day, and update your status when you’re in a meeting or away from your desk for an extended period to let your team know when you will return. 
  • Set an expectation for expected response times via chat or email. 
  • For questions and brief conversations with your team that would spawn too long of an email chain but don't require a Zoom meeting, use a Teams chat dedicated to your project. 
  • When holding Zoom meetings, use the webcam feature whenever possible.  Human communication has a huge non-verbal component (body language, facial expressions, etc.) that can be lost when using audio only. 
  • For the core team on your projects, create a shared space only accessible to the core team (Google Docs, OneNote, Collab, shared drive) with each person's cell phone numbers and their preferred method of contact (phone call, email, chat, or other).  
  • Discuss with team members what the best way would be for you to "ping" them if you need something more urgently than waiting for a reply to email — that might be Zoom, Teams, text message, or a phone call.
  • Be sure to update your Outlook calendar with times you will not be available (e.g., if you have child care or other responsibilities that require you to be unavailable during set hours).
  • Don't be afraid to just pick up the phone and talk to your team — sometimes a 2-minute phone conversation can be far more effective than a half hour of going back and forth. When you're remote, making occasional 1:1 phone calls to your team is an important replacement for those "hallway conversations" we'd otherwise be having in the office. And “phone call” can mean Zoom or Teams call or whatever you prefer.
  • Have a standing morning Zoom “call” to touch base with everyone on what they are doing and what their day looks like. Schedule this for 30 minutes, but set expectations that it can end sooner.  Review top priorities and ask team members to go over issues they are working through. This is a great chance to see where one team member has time to help another team member who is overburdened. When you’re in the office, this is often visually clear, but not when telecommuting.
  • Use your fellow teammates as a resource. If you're having a problem with remote work, the odds are good that your teammates are experiencing similar frustrations, and can share advice.

An Example Telecommute Day

  • 8:30 a.m.:  Log onto computer and start email, Teams chat, etc. Check emails and chat for project updates
  • 8:45 a.m.: Join the Zoom meeting for the daily team status updates
  • Throughout the day:
    • Break out into 1:1 or smaller meetings for more detailed and targeted discussions that come from the status updates 
    • Collaborate on tasks/projects using Skype, Zoom, etc. 
    • Keep Outlook calendar updated with scheduled meetings and personal errands. 
  • Eat lunch and take breaks!
  • At the end of your work day, log your time as required by your department

Tech Tips for a Smoother Remote Work Experience

  • Install the Zoom plug-in to easily create meetings.
  • Disconnect from VPN when it’s not needed; this may help with the Zoom video and audio quality.
  • If you have back-to-back meetings throughout the day with your core team, use the same Zoom ID to save time jumping in and out of calls.
  • In your meeting invites, include the full Zoom invitation with the various options to join (at the minimum, the Zoom URL and dial-in phone number).
  • To save a mouse click, set your default Duo authentication preference.
  • Have Duo remember you for 7 days so you don't have to authenticate each and every time you log into a tool.
Need help? Contact your departmental technical support or the ITS Support, (858) 246-4357.