For those of us who are lucky enough to be able to work from home, it’s important to realize that for most of us, this is the first time we are doing so. Here at Mondays, we’ve had our fair share of work from home days and experience with working remotely and have a couple of tricks up our sleeves to share.
- Re-establish a communication strategy.
Once one person is remote, it’s safe to consider your whole team as a remote team. Especially now, as we all transition into remote teams, it’s important to re-visit your team and company’s communication strategy. Although it might not seem like it needs a drastic change, there can be room for a lot of miscommunication when transitioning from in person to remote working.
It’s also important to check in with your managers and teammates and see how they’re coping with the new changes. Just as our environment changes, so does our motivation and productivity levels. It’s a good idea to voice what you need to be able to get things done in this new reality, ask for help when you need it, and be able to communicate when you need to cut down on your workload.
2. Remember, not all communication has to be a meeting.
Especially now, it’s easy for even our ‘water cooler run-ins’ to turn into Zoom meetings as we try to adjust into this new normal.
Virtual meetings also mean that it’s not as easy to turn around and ask the person next to you for help anymore- and more often than not, it might be harder to get in touch with someone as easily as before.
What’s important to realize is that, with this change in the way you communicate during work, there are also a lot of changes in each of your coworkers environments- such as unpredictable drama with the kids, having to balance your home duties with work, motivation levels etc.
Take a second look to evaluate which meetings actually have to be meetings and which can be emails, messages, or shared documents, and save yourself, or your coworkers the hassle of having to make sure all distractions are taken care of before every meeting.
For the meetings you do need to have: be sure to set a designated leader and specific objectives that you send out in advance so that your team can review it before the meeting starts. This helps make sure that everyone is on the same page and makes room for quick and effective sessions. As the designated leader of the meeting, it’s important to follow up with an email about the important takeaways and the team’s next steps.
3. Make company emergency kits.
Make sure important things are always documented. Emergency kits are digital environments where each member of the team can find key information they need in their everyday work. Now that it’s not as easy as turning around and asking someone around you, or walking up to the other side of the office where a different team sits, it’s important that your company can find things easily- especially if different teams are working on a project together.
It is also important to notify people of any changes such as if someone changes the locations of certain documents, or modifies something within them.
This not only will save you a lot of search time, but it’ll also make your more tedious projects a lot easier to work with.
4. Try new tools to collaborate.
Another important thing to incorporate is the use of collaborative tools. Even before most of us turned remote, there were many kinds of software that facilitated collaboration online. These are useful for ideation, saving documents, cross-functional team cooperation, and effective communication.
Our favorite collaborative tools to use right now:
- InVision Freehand- We use this for our white-boarding sessions. Freehand allows multiple users to work on the screen at the same time, updating in real life. This is basically your online whiteboard!
- Adobe XD- For teams creating wireframes online, we like to use AdobeXD for their cross-collaboration feature. By saving the document on the cloud, your whole team can access the file and making changes in real time.
- Figma- Similar to AdobeXD, designing becomes a whole lot easier when teams can work together on a document at once!
- Trello- This is great for saving files in a way that is easy to manage and interact with. The layout makes it easy to access and edit — for anyone on the team!
- Google Drive- Google drive never fails in keeping everything in one place for everyone to access! Especially useful for when sending big files across.
- Notion- This is a great teamwork tool to use. With multiple templates to choose from, Notion helps you stay organized and keep everything on one workspace.
5. Have frequent check-in’s and 1:1’s.
Frequent check ins are always important, whether you are remote or not. However, just as we change our communication system, it’s a good idea to re-visit how you check in with your coworkers and how you plan out your 1:1s. We believe that it’s important to not only schedule 1:1s between a member of the team and a manager, but also individual 1:1s within the members of the team, even if they are brief.
It’s important to remember that now people’s personal lives are a lot more intertwined with their work life as we see their kids on screen, their dog passing by in the background, and kitchens that double as modified work spaces. Make sure that you have empathy towards other people’s hardships and take these into consideration when checking in. Frequent check-ins don’t necessarily have to be every week- make sure to set a schedule that works for everyone and is efficient. Treat this as an open time to talk or set and check in on goals and intentions from previous meetings.
6. Make sure it’s not all work and no play.
Along with making sure that communication increases productivity and efficiency, it’s important to make sure work life balance is respected and enforced. With this change in environment, it might be harder to separate work from life and to connect with colleagues casually.
Try incorporating activities during the work day that keep your team happy and healthy. Some ideas are a virtual happy hour, built in time for stretching and exercise, virtual lunches to replace the hour you would spend having lunch in real life, and even game time with your team! As always, make sure these types of activities are optional given many people’s balancing responsibilities.
Working remotely can definitely surface many new challenges, but it’s also an opportunity to rethink the way your team works and what needs improvements. Issues are bound to come to the surface, and although some may be new, some may be underlying challenges that have been present all along. This is a great time to reestablish the foundation of communication and teamwork so we can emerge from this time stronger and happier!
Let us know if you have any recommendations that have worked to help your team communicate better during this time. You can leave comments on this post or email us at email@example.com.