Working Well Remotely – We are All in this Together

Written by Josephine Palermo Doctor of Culture and Co-Creator Higher Spaces

woman working from home in her kitchen

We had a great conversation today about working well remotely at our Lunch and Learn Session. It was great to hear from everybody and to share ideas. This topic is particularly relevant because the work environment has shifted to home. Children are being home-schooled, and partners and families are all using the same physical space. And additionally, we are navigating new virtual spaces.

This leaves us asking questions about how to keep motivated, focussed and productive whilst managing family and home life?

How you can stay well? How can you keep your team, or your extended network or clients, motivated as well? We discussed our challenges and offered some solutions.

Challenges we are facing


Setting boundaries between work and home

I asked the group to describe the number one challenge of working remotely. A few things came up that people resonated with. The first one was boundary setting, and how to best move in and out of bounded spaces, between work and home. How do you ‘finish’ work and transition into a family routine after the work day’s over. A great suggestion offered was going for a walk, and walking the dog to provide a space between work and home in our daily routine.

Lack of social interaction

Another challenge raised was that we are currently not able to have face to face meetings. If you have previously established connections by going out and meeting your clients and colleagues, how do you replicate that virtually? How do you still build rapport and show support and care if you’re not having those face to face meetings? On the other side of that, there’s a lot of meetings going on. Everybody’s in meetings all day due to the need to connect with others. In a virtual space, this tends to take place more deliberately. You make appointments for ‘virtual coffees’ and try to replicate the brief social interactions we would normally have in front of the coffee machine. This requires more time, and we need to recognise that right now, this does equate to WORK. So our understandings of productivity need to incorporate these actions as well. They produce desired outcomes of maintaining and strengthening connections with others.

Maintaining productivity

The other issue that people find challenging is maintaining productivity, and focus, particularly when there’s a lot of distractions of family and the home. For some people, this is also about prioritising our energy and particularly maximising our sense of wellbeing. Looking after yourself, particularly if you’re working from home, and looking after everybody else, is important. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on YOU last.

Understanding what motivates us and others most

We can increase productivity and engagement by aligning them with our motivational needs and those of our team and clients. It’s not enough to set goals for ourselves and others. We have all had experiences of doing this and yet not achieving our commitments. Why? Because the goals we set may be the wrong type of goals. Not everyone is motivated by the same things. We need to first start with an understanding of which motivational need we are most driven by, and then create goals that align with that need. Ask yourself which of these motivational needs are more important. Do you need autonomy, a sense of belonging to a common purpose with others, or the need to achieve mastery over a skill or knowledge base? What about your team? Do you know which of these needs are most important to them? Answers to these questions help us set goals for productivity and engagement that are more likely to be successful in helping us work well remotely.

Set goals for your daily and weekly routines that align with the motivational need that are most important to you to increase motivation and action.

To hear the discussion and solutions view the recording of the session. A handout is also available. On the last page you’ll find a worksheet that helps you structure your weekly / daily rituals for working remotely well If you need help please reach out to the Higher Spaces team.


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