As a community, we are navigating uncharted waters together. During this period of social distancing, we are all quickly adapting to working remotely. This situation calls on us to connect in new ways, as employees, as learners, and as humans. It is especially important to do so in ways that reaffirm our community values of innovation, flexibility, compassion, and evidence-based action.

  1. Stay connected. Use technology and platforms like Teams and Zoom to bridge the physical distance between you and your colleagues. To help you stay connected, ITS has a checklist for working from home. Remember to use Carleton-specific platforms and avoid ones that are not secured by ITS. You can learn more about this through the Mobile Technology Policy.
  2. Develop new ways of working together and stay flexible. Working remotely is a change and having a clear set of shared expectations is critical for navigating change. Take the time to discuss preferred communication channels, how you will use Teams, how to share documents, and appropriate timeframes for email or phone responses. Try to remember that changing how we do things requires flexibility and compassion, for ourselves and others.
  3. Reach out to colleagues. Keep lines of communication open within your team and use the agreed upon technologies. Consider setting up regular team meeting to start the week together. Be clear about the best way to reach you and be respectful of how your colleagues have asked you to contact them.
  4. Set up a workspace– quiet and yours. Have a dedicated, deliberate workspace and minimize distraction where possible. Doing so will help you maintain boundaries between work and home. As you set up your workspace, consider how you will store and manage confidential data, including securing it away from other members of your household. If you have questions about how best to do so, you can refer to the Corporate Records and Archives Policy.
  5. Develop new habits. As you would when working in the office, establish routines and habits that support you to be productive and have a sense of stability. Discuss your work priorities and schedule with your manager and/or colleagues as appropriate. Be available when you say you will be, update them on schedule changes, and stop working at the end of your scheduled day.
  6. Be patient and compassionate. When you are relying on new ways of communicating, it is easy to misunderstand or misinterpret information, emails, or written communications. Trust and patience are critical elements to working remotely. Offer the same trust to your colleagues that you would want them to offer you and help maintain that trust by checking in for clarification.
  7. Communicate your needs.We are all managing multiple priorities and learning about our own limits and needs. If something is impacting your ability to complete your work or be productive, speak to your colleagues and/or manager about it so they can support you.
  8. Plan ahead. Together with your colleagues, brainstorm potential challenges that may arise with new ways of working and plan how you will manage them. You might find using new technologies challenging, exciting, or both! Use resources available to you for free through Carleton’s LinkedIn Learning license to support you through this time. You can watch instructional videos on how to use various technologies or complete courses on topics such as time management, building resilience, and effective communications.
  9. Social isolation is one of the largest challenges with working remotely. Feelings of social isolation might be especially heightened by the social distancing protocols in place as we all do our part to flatten the curve. Include social time at the start of virtual meetings and daily check-ins to help decrease feelings of isolation. Similarly, look for opportunities to collaborate with colleagues on projects or book “coffee” chats – and remember to include quieter team members so you can continue to build relationships with all of your colleagues.
  10. Take care of your mental health. Schedule self-care into your daily routine and remember that it’s ok to prioritize your mental health. Call a friend, go for a walk outside, or listen to music. If you need additional supports, remember that you have access to free 24/7 confidential services offered by Carleton’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). You can access these by phone, at 1-877-725-5676, or online through the portal. You can get more information by contacting Human Resources at or checking out the workplace mental health page.