Like it or not, remote working can be exhausting. Many teams around the world are coping with this “new norm” in one way or another. Our team too have worked remotely for an extended period. Here, I’d like to share a few advices for all remote teams.
1. Good remote teams use proper tools, bad remote teams set expectations
When working remotely, it’s easy to get caught up in a vicious cycle of setting deadlines, demanding accountability, missing deadlines, and demanding more accountability. Setting deadlines is good when we know that we are all progressing together. When we are physically separated, trust decreases and it may lead to the suspicion of your co-worker slacking off. The good teams however are very good at using proper tools to track progress and understand the scope of each task. While deadlines still need to be set, it is paramount to let each other know that we are all working together to meet the deadlines. Having a proper project management tool can help team leaders understand how work is balanced and time is allocated, therefore making it sensible to push for productivity.
Communication: Slack, Team Project Management: Jira, Google Sheet, Smartsheet File Management: Google Drive, Dropbox Analytics: Acho
Sharing a real time database between team members is now easier than ever. Not only can you pass around data assets, you can annotate them with insights so visibility and transparency is maximized within the team.
2. Visibility is Accountability
Letting each other know that we are online is more important than you think! The first thing I do every morning is to check on everyone in our team. It’s the same as saying good morning when we walk into that office. I like to say “hey, everyone’s up?” in our group channel everyday to make sure the day starts. Whenever a message hits me, I make sure that I respond within seconds so my teammates know that I’m not away. If you are not a naturally responsive person, make sure that people know what you’re working on. Reporting progress in group channels once in a while helps a lot. Even though some small issue is not worth reporting, finding opportunities to communicate with your teammates can be less annoying than being completely silent.
- Be responsive
- Check on everyone when a day starts and ends
- Promptly report on progress and problems
3. Lead by example and keep morale high
Cheering people up is an art. When it comes to remote working, cheer leading becomes an important must-do. Going through an extensive period of remote working can be demoralizing when you don’t know what other teammates are up to. I find showing emotions through texts, phone calls and videoconferencing to be harder than in-person for obvious reasons. When we’re working remotely, emotions have less ways to travel within your team. A lack of emotions will distant each other even further. I recommend showing emotions through a number of ways
- Keep goals small, grounded, achievable, and celebrated
- Celebrate progress/milestones with excitement, and emojis
- Communicate visions via video and show emotions
That’s all for now. I will constantly update this article if I find something else. Hope this helps you and your team!