Ideas to Help Your People Work Remotely

By: Tim Vlamis
March 18, 2020

Dan makes an excellent point during our recent O’Reilly course on Enterprise Data Visualization

Training, support, and guidance work wonders in helping people feel productive and connected. These are extraordinary times we’re living through and finding positive ways to engage can really help your teams. We’ve long had a “blended team” at Vlamis Software Solutions with some of our employees working remotely and others working at the home office. We’ve also worked in and led remote teams with our clients for years. Here are some observations we’d like to share.

Remote training improves morale and productivity.

Acquiring new skills and new knowledge makes people feel positive and makes them more productive at the same time. Now is a good time to schedule remote training classes and give your people something to look forward to. Last month Dan and I delivered a course titled Enterprise Data Visualization: Executive Dashboards and Managerial Displays for O’Reilly Media. The response was fantastic. Part of the reason it went so well is that we set up a studio in one of our conference rooms with panning cameras. We were able to show camera views, slide shows, and live demos at the same time. We also took real-time questions from the attendees and were able to respond to them in the flow of the session. While “turning on the camera” is not always comfortable (I’m not a big fan of my own picture), it does help people feel connected. Also, responding in real-time to questions and comments promotes engagement, and that helps people learn.

Scheduled mentoring sessions keep the ball rolling.

People want help with tough technical challenges, but sometimes are reluctant to reach out.  It can be easier to ask for help when a session is already on the calendar. We’ve refined our mentoring program over the years by working with clients in various industries and situations. Here’s what we’ve found works:

  • We send out an email on a scheduled basis (Tuesdays work well) asking three questions:

    • What issues have you newly encountered?

    • What progress have you made on “___”?  (List topics that were covered in the last session.)

      What else would you like to review on this week’s call?

  • We collect responses from the team members and create an agenda for the scheduled call.

  • We have a one-hour call on the agenda items (Thursdays work well) and identify any new issues

Many clients have users with a mix of skills; BI and Analytics developers are often more technical than managers and team leaders. Scheduled sessions provide a forum where any user can ask questions without fear of being judged. It’s amazing how seemingly simple tricks and tips can cascade through a team and make people much more productive. One of the keys is the schedule. The other is supportive and positive help.

Give me a call or send me an email to if you want to chat about any of this. Stay positive and be mindful!


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