The following is a template for creating your own letter to colleagues and supervisors about your proposal for working remotely. It’s a tactical approach to handling the basics of your workspace, impacts on your workload and availability. It includes best practices for productivity, collaboration and connection that come from years of experience from remote workers around the world. You could also ‘flip’ this letter if you are a decision-maker on remote work to give people guidelines on what they should expect and do.
Instructions and ‘fill in the blanks’ are provided in brackets. Of course, remove or edit whatever you’d like in your own version. Feel free to copy it into your own individual/team communications and adapt it.
I’m beginning to work from home, like many people, and I want to share my plan for how I am going to maintain connection, collaboration and productivity. I found a sample ‘note to your team’ for setting up a remote work strategy at digitalfluency.guide/rethinking-remote and used it to prompt my own note to you.
First of all, I’ll be maintaining a structured work environment and work schedule to keep focused in these new circumstances. I’ll be working from [time] to [time] on [days]. Outside of that schedule, you can reach me best via [method of contact]. If you have communicated with me on a work channel like e-mail, and need me to check it outside of office hours, just send me a heads-up via [method of contact] to check my e-mail; this will help us all avoid fragmenting our time and provide for work/life balance while keeping work time productive.
Some basics and context about my current setup at home:
I have the following needs/requests regarding my home workspace [delete any which do not apply, and indicate if it is a need or request]:
My workload will be affected by working from home in the following ways [use all that apply]:
The longest I can sustain [most of] my work is [provide timeline] without going into our usual work locations or having an equivalent. However, the longest I can sustain working on [specific, particularly-affected areas of work] remotely is [provide timeline]. This can be extended by [provide strategy which would enable working remotely longer, such as redefining your scope of your responsibilities or recalibrating client expectations, and how long that would help].
In addition to the more obvious impacts described above, we will need to discuss how to minimize the impact of remote work and current circumstances on [describe all that apply and provide specifics — consider things like major events, business development, benefits, planned projects that haven’t started yet, and, of course, budgets].
As I notice additional impacts, I will be in communication about them and request that you take a moment to consider if there are any which I might have missed.
Every week, I will provide an update on my work plan for the week covering what I’ve done recently, what I will do this week, where I need support, decisions I will make, decisions I need others to make or need guidance on, and where I can offer support. [Every day I will provide a smaller version of this update]. These updates will come via [conference call, e-mail, chat/messenger, group text]. I would really appreciate seeing your plans/updates as well.
I will work online using [Google Drive, Officer 365, Sharepoint, Slack, etc.] My primary mode of communication will be via [e-mail, messenger, phone call, text, etc]. [When we’re e-mailing, to make sure we’re all up to date, please cc: me more often than usual so I know what’s going on in other discussions.]
I suggest we shift or add to our regular meetings. [In particular, I think we would benefit from a weekly/daily ‘stand-up’ meeting to synchronize our workplans for the day.] Here are some specifics: [list schedule changes, and additions/removals of meetings, especially team meetings]
I suggest we [provide any other suggestions, such as upgrading to ‘groupware’ like Slack, Google Drive, Office 365 or SharePoint].