Login to MyACC
ACC Members

Not a Member?

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

Join ACC

Teresa Cleary, our ACC Australia New South Wales Vice President, and General Counsel & Company Secretary (Global) of Elixinol Global Limited shares her experience with managing a remote and agile team, how she ‘checks in’ with the health and wellbeing of her staff and her thoughts on keeping up employee culture. 

Previous to COVID-19, did you already manage a remote, agile team? If so, for how long and can you please share a little more about your team’s structure and the secret to managing this type of team? 

Yes, I have worked with a remote team since I commenced my role six months ago. In particular, I have been working closely with our in-house Regulatory Advisor in the US and in the UK. Additionally, around eighty percent of my internal commercial clients are based in the US, EU and the UK so I work with a broader remote and agile team every day. It has been a learning curve on how to manage the time differences but we have a good rhythm and people are understanding that they might not always get an immediate response by email. What has been really important is to set up regular video conference catch-ups and to have an agenda to ensure we canvass all the matters and issues we need to cover without getting side-tracked on other matters. 
Did your company have processes and procedures in place already, that enable staff to work remotely for an extended period or have you realised there were a few components missing? 

Yes, as an international organisation with its Corporate Head office based in Sydney, staff have been working remotely since the company’s IPO. In particular, the staff in the Corporate head office in Sydney have been regularly travelling to work in our overseas offices when work needs demand it. Although not a perfect process, when I joined the organisation everyone seemed very comfortable with using video conferencing and communication across the globe is just like communicating with another office down the road. We also have 24/7 global IT support which is very helpful on the occasion we experience IT challenges. 
Knowing your team could be working remotely for an extended period, what protocols, (if any), are in place to ensure the wellbeing of your team?

In addition to our formal remote working and HR policies, we have commenced global staff communications dedicated to COVID-19 updates and health and wellbeing initiatives. A recent example includes staff comms with links to free meditation apps, exercise suggestions and useful resources from organisations such as “R U OK” and ‘Beyond Blue”. We are also in the process of launching a new international “buddy system” where we are pairing up staff from different countries to stay in touch with each other and provide additional support during this challenging time. On a more local level, the Sydney team has initiated a weekly “virtual morning tea” and “virtual Friday afternoon drinks” where we are meeting up via video conferencing.
What concerns you (if anything) about not being part of an office community for an extended period of time? 

Although I am a very social person who also loves to travel, I am also a person that likes being at home and am comfortable being on my own so I am not too concerned about being out of an office community for an extended period. I actually find myself to be more productive as I am not as distracted as I can get when in an office full of people I like to chat with. I am however conscious that those ‘water cooler’ chats in the office are incredibly useful and not available to me long term so I know that I have to make a real effort to continue to talk and (virtually) meet with people whilst working remotely for an extended period of time.
Which parts of your role have you found difficult to do remotely? 

Not having a sit-down-stand-up desk! I am finding I am sitting for longer periods than I normally do so I need to be more conscious to get up from desk at home and walk around. It is also easier to work longer hours when you are at home so I am actively trying to switch off after hours to get that much needed break from work. 
What is one tip to share that you’ve learned about managing a remote team through the first couple of weeks of this crisis?

That remote working is not that foreign to people! It is the year 2020 and many people have worked with remote working arrangements for a long time, even if it has just been team members working one day a week from home. As such, I have learnt that most people are comfortable with remote working and will call out if they need help or support when they need it, just as they would in an office environment.   

If you want to read about how other ACC members around the globe are managing this change, click here for the ACC Docket article.

Each newsletter edition we will share how one of our members are managing their remote working teams. If you think your team has some great tips to share please let us know by emailing us at


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work properly; others help us improve the user experience.

By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. For more information, read our cookies policy and our privacy policy.