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A Primer for Working Remotely

I’ve been managing fully remote and mixed on-shore off-scope teams for a decade now. Here are few best practices for teams who are suddenly at home working due to changing company policies for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, as well as for for any team wanting to foster a more remote culture in their workplace. This should get your team started:

Telecommunications Tools

Set up teleconferencing technology that your whole team has access to, and a messaging platform your can both direct message your colleagues, and hold group chats within. I recommend using Slack for messaging, and Zoom, or Google Hangouts for Video/Teleconferencing.

Conference Calls

Only schedule calls that are necessary, everything else can probably be discussed on slack in a channel or a DM thread. You will probably notice you send WAY less emails. When you do have calls, be efficient. All calls must have an agenda. Calls are only scheduled with the right people in them. If you are not necessary, you should not be on the invite. Working calls are also appropriate with small groups, just make sure you have only the necessary folks in attendance. Use the video conference features, especially if you are a team new to working remotely.

Focused Conversations

Use Slack (or other messaging app) to create project specific channels and team specific channels. This will help ensure you have focused spaces for focused conversation. Keep the operational talk in the proper operations channel and don’t clutter project channels with non-project business. This slows your project teams down by distracting them. Keep your team focused and moving quickly.

Team Availability

Have your team set their availability on their calendar. Working hours, hours off, hours away from the office (or keyboard). Then operate with the assumption that everyones calendar is up to date. This will allow teams to grab time when it is available, even if you are in different time zones, as well as know when they can try to reach you on slack or otherwise. Practice healthy work life boundaries by setting your snooze and do not disturb notification hours on Slack.

Daily Standup

Adopt a Daily Scrum Standup Meeting for your critical projects and initiatives. This is useful for client or customer projects as well as departmental initiatives (IT department, Marketing Department). This practice is a useful tool for all teams, even those that are not working to deliver AGILE software projects. How to do it: Every day at the same time in the morning your team gets on a 15-30 minute call (Project Team or Operational Team) to review status, updates and most importantly identify blockers quickly. Each member gives a ~1 minute update on what they did yesterday, what they will do today, and what blockers they have. Then you connect folks who can unblock this person for off-line follow up directly after the standup (on slack or on a 1x1 call with those people). This way no one is sit-in around waiting for other people who don’t know they are a blocker. Added bonus -your team will have efficiently had all group discussions early on, and will not spend all day chasing each other around to get answers while someone is out to lunch or in a another meeting etc…

Keep Your Culture

Set up a channel for ‘water-coolor talk’. This channel's purpose is for team members to engage like humans, share funny memes, and banter, share articles. This keeps your team communicating as humans outside of their professionalism, allows a space for humor, culture, and to stay in touch with each other.

Move for Your Health

Get up! Standup! Walk around! Go outside at least once a day for at least half an hour and if you can for longer than that. It's easy to stay in your house all day when you work from home. This isn't optimal for your mental or physical health. Do yourself a favor and mandate that a lunch break is AWAY from your desk. Yoga while conference calling, anyone?

Stay safe and WASH YOUR HANDS! ;) … oh, and sanitize your phone. :)

I hope you found this helpful. I'm happy to discuss your teams' specific needs or remote work challenges in more depth with you.

Here at Kunai we are a remote-first Product Development Company serving Fortune 100 Clients and Startups in Financial Services industry, and others in the US and internationally. We have offices in Oakland and NY. We know how to work with you remotely.

Contact us if you want to keep your projects moving forward. We can help. info@kun.ai

Article republished with permission, original article written and published on Linkedin, here.