Follow Google’s lead: Tips for managing remote workers
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

While Google was among the largest (and earliest) enterprises to extend work-from-home (WFH) into summer 2021 in response to the pandemic, remote work has long been a topic of interest for the tech giant, whose suite of solutions supports remote collaboration in nearly all industries.

Almost a year before the global pandemic forced social distancing measures on employers, Google surveyed more than 5,000 of their own workers to get a better understanding of how to support a remote workforce, as enterprise decentralization was already trending upward in spring 2019.

Google compiled the findings into a Distributed Work Playbook designed to help managers within the company better navigate what Google had already predicted would be a “new normal” for their business and many others. Considering that Google possesses some of the richest data sets on the planet, it’s a safe bet that theirs is a good lead to follow in navigating the challenges facing enterprises today.

So what were some of the biggest findings that enterprise managers can take to heart when it comes to running a successful remote team?

Prioritize team meetings

Team meetings “are often some of the only interactions you’ll have with your team when working apart so schedule them, prioritize them even if there isn’t anything urgent, and be socially present,” the Playbook reads.

That means that even in the dog days of summer when some members may be on vacation or workloads seem light, be consistent with holding tight to your regular schedules to help bring some normalcy to these strange times.

Be personal and engaged

We all are now familiar with the concept of Zoom (or “Hangouts” or “Meet”, as Google may have it) fatigue, but we can’t let it get the best of us when we’re collaborating with our teams. We all take on bad habits when we’re hopping between meetings that may not require us to turn on our camera or unmute for long stretches. Try not to bring those with you to your team meetings. Google recommends:

  • making sure your camera is on so others can see you,
  • keeping your microphone off mute when practical,
  • giving both verbal and non-verbal cues, such as a head nod, an “mmhmm,” or even a “yeah, good idea,” and
  • keeping phones face down and maintaining eye contact (unless you’re taking notes).

Make video and voice performance a priority

Perhaps the biggest hindrance to the success of virtual team meetings is when the platforms folks leverage to actually see and hear their teammates aren’t delivering quality voice or video.

It’s hard enough to recover a meeting when the first 15 minutes involve just getting everyone successfully signed on. But if teams are accessing these tools from residential locations that aren’t equipped with enough bandwidth to support video in the first place, even holding these meetups becomes a non-starter.

That’s when managers will start turning to their enterprise IT for help.

Whether in the office or WFH, IT is still on the hook for ensuring quality performance of business-critical apps that drive the business. In a WFH world where enterprise teams don’t own or control the “last mile” ISP connections supporting access to remote users, IT requires solutions that can give them visibility into these environments beyond the enterprise edge. From there, they can get a better handle on what’s happening and where problems arise, helping get a jump on issue resolution before performance issues trickle across the business.


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Filed Under: Performance Monitoring, Industry Insights

Tags: DEM , digital experience monitoring , wfh , remote workforce , remote worker , work from home , remote office , remote work , network monitoring , network performance monitoring , enterprise network , enterprise WAN , enterprise IT , Google