Thought Leadership

The Remote Culture Shift: Tips for making the most out of your new remote work reality

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The Remote Culture Shift: Tips for getting the most out of your new remote reality

As news of the COVID-19 outbreak reshapes our reality, there’s no doubt that this is a challenging time for our companies and cultures therein. More than anything, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

For most of us, we still have a job to do and if you and your team weren’t already in a rhythm working from home, you are likely facing a new set of everyday obstacles. Over the last few weeks, we have conducted a number of surveys, remote culture webinars for HR executives, opened up our culture platform for a 90 day trial to those in need, and began development work around ideal remote culture profiles to find high risk employees or teams, and personalized feedback to improve your unique remote situation. More on that later.

Key Statistics, Benefits, and Challenges of Working Remotely

First, let’s jump into the reality of the situation with some key statistics and feedback we found from surveying 151 organizations:

  • 85% of organizations polled told us they are moving to a remote culture due to COVID-19

  • Only 16% of those said they have a tool that can help measure, manage, or hire for a remote culture

  • 26% struggle to maintain engagement and 40% have difficulty minimizing distractions and maintaining productivity

While there are many benefits of working remotely, such as:

  • No commuting stress

  • Focused work productivity with no office “face time”
  • Increased ability to manage home/life needs (e.g. repairmen, Dr appointments, being sick)

  • Increased time with family

There are also some challenges including:

  • Staying focused
  • Managing boundaries between work and family
  • Time management

  • Feelings of isolation

  • Figuring out how to best collaborate with your colleagues

Advice for Working Remotely

To note, Humantelligence has been a fully distributed (i.e. remote work only) company since its inception and we’ve been studying and measuring the impact of remote work on morale and productivity for the past five years. What follows is some of our advice.

Recorded Webinar: 

On Tuesday, March 24th, we hosted a webinar for over 200 HR executives looking for tips on how to better manage their shift to a remote culture and keep performance and engagement levels up.


  • Keep your morning routine as if you were going into the office – Get dressed, eat breakfast and go to your home office – this helps you feel active, engaged, and creates the feeling of starting your work day.

  • Stick to timed breaks for snacks, lunch, dinner, etc – Just like when you are at the office, keep working until you have a planned break – this will limit the opportunity for you to get distracted and keep you focused on work activities.
  • Don’t get distracted by chores around the house – With the time you save on the drive to work, you have plenty of time before and after work for household activities, don’t let them interrupt your work.

  • Avoid cabin fever – During a scheduled break, make time to take a break, leave the house, go for a coffee run, go food shopping, pick kids up, go for a run/walk. This will keep you energized while working.

  • Find a routine that works for you - Divide the day up into chunks. Some people may prefer the mornings to be about catching up on email, industry news and other low intensity tasks, and tear through the rough stuff after lunch. Some people may prefer the opposite.

  • Turn off or avoid social media!

Workspace Set up

  • Set up a proper work environment – Find a separated space and one where you WANT to spend time. Your workspace should have a desk, a chair and good lighting help you engage like you are in the office and encourage you to avoid distractions.

  • Look into purchasing a green screen - If on video conferences (highly recommended to keep in human contact and to improve communications – 60% of communication is non-verbal), a green screen is a great way to separate your workspace and eliminate the distraction of people walking behind you. Some computer cameras have built in green screen technology (mostly newer Macs) that do not require a physical green screen.
  • Close doors to eliminate distracting noises – Pets, family members (kids) can at times create noisy distractions for both you and your colleagues. If possible, having a door to close to create space and a noise barrier will greatly improve your work experience.

  • Educate family members about your workspace and not to disturb you whilst you are working – Create a signal for your family so they know when you are on a call or heads down trying to get an assignment completed.


  • Desk and chair – Sitting on your couch, standing at a counter, and not having a proper work space all lead to being uncomfortable and becoming easily distracted.

  • Video Conference software – Staying in touch with your colleagues is imperative, not just for productivity but for your mental health – video conferencing helps bridge the physical distance and keep you connected, additionally it keeps you focused on the discussion and limits your ability to walk around and/or multi-task.

  • Headset/microphone – Whether on a call or video, proper sound is imperative.

  • Collaboration software – This is essential to working remote…this software that enables group chats, notifications when messages are posted and video and conference calling – without this teams can be disconnected and email can become the primary method of communicating, which is inefficient.

  • Green screen – Again, these screens help separate your workspace from the rest of the house limiting distractions – as an added benefit some video software works with a green screen to project any image as your background – an office, the beach, your backyard – great conversation starters and also a way to simulate a change of scenery. When talking we external stakeholders, we recommend using something clean and professional with your branding. Here is one of our favorites:

Remote Boardroom Background

Collaboration/Stay Connected

  • Hold virtual stand up meetings – When working in a team a once or twice a day (early morning and mid-afternoon) stand-up meeting (limited to 10-15 minutes) is a great way to coordinate activities, update each other on progress and address issues. 

  • Set up virtual 1-1 meetings with your staff – This is not intended to check up on staff and micro – manage – instead ask how you can help, if there are obstacles, and how are they doing. As a manager you should know their workload and be able to gauge if they are working…if they feel you are checking up on them it reduces engagement.

Try Humantelligence Free for Your Remote Workforce

In addition to the above tips, Humantelligence’s platform can also be used to help organizations and individuals adjust to this new way of working. HT’s self-assessment behavioral science tool measures behaviors, motivators and ideal work styles and provides personalized tips for communicating, motivating and influencing each person based on the results. By applying this to your workforce you can identify potential remote working trouble spots and help employees adjust and be successful while living in with the new reality. Here’s how:

  • As a manager identify workers that might struggle working remotely.

  • Leverage the results of the assessment to find employees who are likely to have difficulty working remotely. 

  • Build data driven strategies to keep workers engaged while working remotely.

  • Develop an action plan to help at risk employees work more effectively while remote.

  • Use the HT Assessment to gauge Culture.

  • Use HT’s 12-minute assessment to measure your organization’s culture at the individual, team and firm level.

Oh, and remember how we mentioned some new remote culture features coming out soon? Here is a sneak peak…

New functionality will be available April 2nd, 2020 and will come standard in the 90 day trial. Request a demo or sign up for a trial to learn more.

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