The Coronavirus outbreak forced many working teams to adapt to a new working routine. Some might argue that remote teams are not easy to manage but, they can be just as efficient as a team that is located in the same office. Face to face communication is not easy to replace but using the right tools can definitely help in increasing the productivity and minimizing the feeling of loneliness remote workers might have. The phpList team has always been working remotely and despite the challenges we have faced, we keep doing so. Many companies have already shared great tips that facilitate this new way of working but there are a few hints from our daily working routine that we would suggest to teams forced switching to this setup lately.
Virtual real-time communication cannot replace the direct interaction you would have if sitting in the same office space but can help effective collaboration between colleagues working on the same project. More often than not, frequent communication helps reducing the stress levels but it needs to be less formally organized meetings or you will need a dedicate person to do just that: arrange meetings. Different time-zones might be a barrier for real-time communication but for teams based on the same continent it should be much easier. When working from home working hours for each team member will vary so, make sure you communicate that properly and stick to communications in those hours.
Even for teams already comfortable with remote working these times are hard because the mindset changes. It’s more difficult to stay focused with what’s happening around the world and motivation might run low. We need to be understanding and supportive to one-another in order to keep up with our daily tasks.
Choose your preferred telecommunication tool that offers voice/video calls and screen-sharing, and minimize the distance between you and the rest of the team.
In tandem with calls, having a collaboration tool that allows you to create different spaces for each team (such are Mattermost and Rocketchat) can help the team stay inline and get answers faster. Also, this is a great documentation place if you want to go back in time and check the progress and shared information or files. Additionally, private messaging prevents distraction for the rest of the team.
Instead of expecting from your colleagues to share files with you all the time, the team can have their own file-sharing tool (such are Nextcloud and ownCloud) and distribute or provide access to certain digital media. That way it is ensured that all team members have access to the resources they need for their job, everyone is updated and unnecessary distractions are avoided.
Pre-set your goals
Having a clear plan on what you will be working on in the upcoming days/ weeks helps everyone plan their individual activities accordingly. Remote teams love working asyncasynchronously and therefore having in mind what is expected from them but most important when is that expected, makes the team never stay behind in time to deliver their tasks.
As mentioned above, we strongly believe that replacing face-to-face conversations and the synergy effect it creates is challenging but thankfully we have many tech tools that help us minimize distances between us and help us feel part of team. If this is a new working routine for your team it might be tough to get used to it, but you might also discover you actually like it this way. In the meantime, make sure you stay mindful of avoiding long working hours, poor posture in your home set-up and negative thoughts 🙂
This virus will fade soon and humanity will start healing. In the meantime: Stay home, stay safe!