Community Discussion: Working Remote During COVID-19

Aubrie Przybysz
Marketing at Drafted

The World Health Organization has officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic and states like New York and Massachusetts have declared a state of emergency. This is impacting every company, especially those in cities seeing an uptick in confirmed cases.  So what is everyone doing to take their workforce home and begin working remote during COVID-19?

Working remote during COVID-19

Many companies are trying to navigate this somewhat uncharted territory. It’s not easy. Remote work trial runs have begun. That’s where an entire company works from home to figure out the kinks before officially going fully remote. From testing your VPN to setting up conference lines - it’s tough to keep your team productive when everyone is in transition mode.

Some companies already have a partially remote workforce, but others don’t have a remote or work from home policy. How do you go from being a fully present workforce to becoming remote in a matter of days?   

Let’s go remote together

Thankfully, other companies are already operating as fully remote organizations. We can lean on them to understand how they operate on a day-to-day basis while collectively achieving their company goals. 

The greatest workplace trend is suddenly becoming a necessity. To make this transition successful, remote and non-remote company leaders are coming together and sharing how they’re going to get this done. 

Bringing in the working remote experts

We’re bringing together a panel of experts to talk about what they’re doing right now. Leaders and talent executives will be joining us remotely from Boston, New York, and San Francisco to share their views on how to successfully work remotely during COVID-19. 

Why invent the wheel when you can share it? 

Meet Basel Fakhoury, CEO at UserInterviews. Basel runs a fully remote and distributed team. He is a well-known leader in the future of remote work. 

Introducing Mike Hebert, VP of People at EdX. Mike has led talent teams at Wayfair, Monster, and Localytics. He also runs the largest People Ops community in Boston. 

Basel and Mike are going to share their experiences in the subject of working remote and what they’re doing in response to COVID-19. You will also be given an opportunity to ask questions and get advice as it relates to your company.

Working Remote During COVID: Recap

Listen to the leaders of Drafted, Boston Talent Acquisition Talent Operations (BoTaTo), and other community members discuss best practices for shifting your company to working remote during COVID-19.

Working Remote During COVID-19 Conversation Highlights:

Tools for a Remote Team

  • Slack - create emojis that correspond to your company values so people can react with them. Create a wins channel for people to share victories big or small.
  • Donut  - An app to schedule a random 30 min meeting with someone on your team
  • HeyTaco! - Celebrate wins and give shout outs to coworkers that go above and beyond
  • Notion - For recording notes and keeping records of conversations
  • RemoteHQ - Collaborate beyond video chat with co-edit and co-browse capabilities
  • Zoom - For Conversation both internal and external
  • Google Docs - Creating and sharing files
  • Invision - Built in white boarding function allows for live sharing

Things to think about when you kick off working remote from Mike Hebert

  • Run a test (if you have time) - is you workforce able to function technically and non technically from home in mass?
  • Messaging as you bring the plane down safely towards WFH - Often (even if you don't have everything ironed out) comfort your staff that the leadership team takes this seriously and there IS a plan
  • People are in different stages of acceptance with the realities of what’s happened in the last 2 weeks. Some are still “it’s just the flu Bro” and others have rightfully recognized that a full shut down of professional sports, offices, schools proves otherwise, even if does end up being like the flu, symptomatically.
  • Comm mediums during shutdown - Slack - do you have the right channels setup?  Share pics from your home office and ask execs to be (somewhat) active or at least present in Slack areas. Use Email for more serious matters and create open "office hours" with an open webcam per employee decision.
  • Connectivity - Are homes outfitted for this - do your people have a bandwidth plan to support web conferencing AND entire family online? None of us are sure what this will do to our neighborhood networks. Are FIOS, Comcast built for this? Does Google have enough “ports” to allow all of these connections on Hangout? Be sure to trade phone numbers and create a back up plan.
  • Gathering outside the office - Can’t prohibit people, but you can encourage them to be safe. I did remind managers to be thoughtful of spearheading such out-of office gatherings. Potential pressures to participate for those not wanting to risk illness/spread.
  • Childcare/PTO rules as schools shutdown
  • Furniture and equipment - most aren’t setup for this so maybe it’s OK to take your monitor and keyboard home?
  • Other - Consider hourly workers such as front desk and admin roles. How will this impact your sales team and their quotas?

Resources to stay in the know during COVID-19:

Public resources for companies working remote during COVID-19:

We encourage you to stay up-to-date with what's happening around you by reading and adding your info to StayingHomeClub. This is a public resource of all the companies working remote during COVID-19 or events changed because of COVID-19.


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