Work From Home: A How To

Work from home. Chances are you wouldn’t have to look hard to find someone you know who wants to work from home, is working from home, or used to work from home.

After COVID-19 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.

Owl Labs

My Experiences

Having been at two different institutions, with two separate teams, I can attest that the flexibility to work from home with some regularity mattered to the teams I’ve been connected with.

Some of the reasons I’ve heard about why include:

  • More productive
  • Cost savings
  • Flexibility
  • Can work from anywhere

Getting it Right

Many employers also seem to be considering more work from home options, too. Having helped implement two different work from home policies, the hardest part is working through the nuance of work from home with a team. It can mean different things to different people.

Balancing everyone’s own vision of being at home, while ensuring productivity, all while being equitable. Well, that’s not easy. In fact, to me — that has been the most difficult part to navigate in the idea of working from home, even if only partially .

A Few Tips

Having been involved in this process more than once, I have three tips that I think are helpful for leaders and teams to consider when working out the work from home logistics.


Announce in Public. Plan in private.


Be Candid About Hills. Expect the Same.


Get Creative About Checking In.

Announce in Public. Plan in Private.

The team needs to hear that work from home is up for consideration as a group. That’s the best way to make sure everyone hears the same message about what is being considered. Once that is done, I asked team members to schedule individual time with me to talk more about their specific situation.

That’s important for two reasons. First, team members had to take the initiative to schedule time, so it helped me know who was serious about the prospect of working from home some. Second, it allowed me to understand each employee’s needs and what success looked like for them in a work from home environment.

Be Candid About Hills. Expect the Same.

In the private meetings with team members, I shared my dealbreakers on the plan. I wanted the full team in the office on our meeting day. That was a hill for me. It mattered. I was up front about that.

I encouraged team members to share things that were incredibly important to them as well. Those responses ranged from: certain days remote, to numbers of days remote, to certain types of projects remote.

Those candid conversations allowed us to talk through how we could best achieve both our goals. It was challenging for me and the teams I’ve worked with to be that forward. Neither of us wanted to appear ungrateful or unsupportive. However, we both had to be direct, blunt, and candid to fully understand what the other needed in this new norm of being able to work from home some.

Get Creative About Checking In.

Finally, I charged the team leaders to find ways to monitor the work being done virtually, without creating processes that were cumbersome, clunky, or took up too much time.

They rose to the challenge.

In both teams I’ve worked with, the team leaders developed strategies to monitor the work. Some of the strategies included:

  • A chat check in each morning
  • Sharing top priorities for the day
  • Using the away feature in chat for lunch
  • Using the internal project system to note work happening

There are no right or wrong answers. Accountability can look completely different for your team. However, I wanted to engage the team in determining this to ensure we put processes in place that worked for them.

Adjust As Needed

The final thing I reminded our teams were it’s okay if it isn’t perfect. Let’s try and then assess. If it doesn’t work, we can keep refining it. But we have to be candid about what works. And what doesn’t. If we can do that, it will help us all end with a work from home plan that works for the institution and the employees.

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