ISC and CIRNAC - Remote work starter guide

In light of current events, many employees are being asked to participate in remote work and use alternative tools for the first time. Please find some helpful tips below!

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Tips and guidelines



  1. Have a structured daily check-in with your employees to set the agenda and provide the required feedback and resources through a series of one-on-one calls or a team call depending on the collaborative nature of your team’s work.
  2. Communicate regularly to:
    • counteract any sense of loneliness and isolation;
    • promote a sense of belonging to the team and department; and
    • promote information sharing and productivity.

    This includes structuring basic social interactions between employees (e.g. leaving some time at the beginning of a meeting for non-work-related items, organizing virtual social events, etc.).
  3. Encourage employees to communicate amongst each other, discuss priorities, exchange on challenges, provide support in their respective roles, etc.
  4. Take advantage of communication tools to encourage and maintain engagement, collaboration and communication, and establish norms for the use of these different tools (frequency, means, and ideal timing) to ensure effective and efficient interactions.


  1. Create clear and realistic expectations for your employees' and your own work.
  2. Focus on the outcomes rather than on the activities.


  1. Ensure that your team has the tools that they need.
  2. Many people are socially distancing or are in isolation with their families, including young children. Remember that this may limit their capacity to fully participate. Be flexible, understanding and supportive.


  1. Employees providing non-critical services are instructed to stay home and, if able to do so, work remotely and access the network only from 8-10pm (EDT) until further notice. Employees delivering critical services are asked to work offline, if possible, during this window.
  2. You may want to access the network at prescribed times to update emails, retrieve documents that you need and, where possible, save them locally so you can use them offline, and save documents to the system so others can access them. Otherwise, please look to use personal email accounts and other tools for non-classified materials.
  3. If you have a Government-issued mobile (laptop or tablet) device at your disposal, access the network via GCSRA when possible. Instructions on how to connect to the network will be provided in a future update of this guide.
  4. Do not remove computer equipment from your office unless your manager has approved and sent an email to the National Service Desk.
  5. Before using any external systems or tools, be sure to consider the classification of the material you are using. If it is protected or secret, do not share! You can use your personal email/tools for unclassified information while respecting the Policy on Information Management.
  6. Be sure to confirm that everyone has access to the technology required to participate with the tools you are using (e.g. connectivity, microphone, video camera, etc.).
  7. Online collaboration provides an opportunity to check in on the people you are collaborating with during this challenging time.
  8. Working from home can be isolating. Remember to exercise and go outside regularly if possible, and maintain a routine including regular office hours where possible

Experiment, collaborate and get creative!
This is an opportunity to test and share new approaches that may inform your work after the advisory to sociallydistance is over.

Tools and resources

Digital collaboration tools

These are some free tools that work across platforms (Windows, Mac, mobile, etc.) that can be used to enable unclassified team collaboration through video-calling, voice-calling, instant messaging, and non-confidential document sharing!


  • Videochat or conference call with up to 50 people at once
  • Share your screen so others can see what you are doing
  • Instant message to individuals or groups
  • Share documents easily
  • Support to get started:


  • Message teammates via "channels" that can be separated according to projects and priorities
  • Messaging channels are searchable
  • Easily share documents
  • 1:1 voice and video calls
  • Support to get started:


Making a multi-way call

iPhone (up to 5 people)

  1. Phone the first person.
  2. While on a call, tap "Add Call", make another call, then tap "Merge Calls".
  3. Repeat to add more people to the conference.

During the conference call, you can also:

  • Add an incoming caller on the same line:
    Tap "Hold Call" + "Answer", then tap "Merge Calls".
  • Drop one person: tap next to a person, then tap "End".

Android (up to 5 people)

  1. Phone the first person.
  2. After the call connects touch the "Add Call" icon.
  3. After touching that icon, or a similar icon depending on the Android phone, the first person is put on hold.
  4. Dial the second person.
  5. Inform the party that the call is about to be merged.
  6. Touch the "Merge" or "Merge Calls" icon. The two calls are now joined.
  7. Repeat to add more people to the conference.
  8. Touch the "End Call" icon to end the conference call.

Employee assistance program

  • 24-hour crisis and referral centre;
  • Confidential, bilingual services;
  • Crisis counselling available (e-counselling and telephone counselling available);
  • Offering services at no cost to the individual seeking assistance.

To contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP): 1-800-268-7708 ou 1-800-567-5803 (TTY - for people with hearing impairments).


For real-time updates Employee Notification System National employee emergency info-line (1-877-320-2243)

Stay safe

Stay safe and follow public health authorities' directives.

Practice hand hygiene regularly and use cough and sneeze etiquette at all times.

Notify your supervisor and stay home if you become sick.

Track best practices

Do you have suggestions on how others can improve their remote work experiences or leverage opportunities?

Has your experience in remote working enabled you to collaborate more effectively?

Please share your tips and stories by emailing

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