Due to the Coronavirus crisis, millions of us are now working from home for the foreseeable future. In case you are not used to it, let me share some tips that work for my fully-remote team, with members spread across different time zones and geographies.
Communication is king
You will no longer have the option of talking to people across the room or the chance to go to the office kitchen to have a coffee with your colleagues, so make sure you allocate time to catch up with your team members collectively and individually.
Aside from meetings to work on specific projects, we have a scheduled regular meeting that takes place every Monday. We use it to discuss the week ahead and the different projects we are working on. It is not a casual catch-up without an agenda. To make sure you use the time wisely, submit bullet points on Friday and rotate among the team who hosts the Monday session.
Thanks to these meetings, not only do we stay up-to-date with what other team members are doing, but we also have the chance to spend some time all together, which is great for morale.
At the end of the week we submit a status report. We add the things we have been working on, so we have a clear regular overview of the progress of our activities. It takes a bit of time to produce the ‘weekly’, but you will realize it is an essential piece of communication.
Make also sure you catch up individually with all your team members regularly. If you find that you struggle to find some peace and quiet to do so, use your Outlook calendar and set up a short meeting. Use this time to find out how your colleagues are doing. This is especially important nowadays, when our society has been thrown into a state of uncertainty.
And, of course, do not forget to use your company’s official messaging tool to keep in touch with everyone to fuel the team’s cohesion.
Be a Spartan
The shield was the most important piece of a Spartan armor and it was not because it was essential for self-protection. It was the only piece that ensured the safety of the entire group. Be a good Spartan and ask your IT department to arrange access to a shared drive to share documents with your team and provide you with VPN access. Do not compromise your company’s information by using non-secure channels because you are in a hurry. As more people work from home and anxiety mounts, it is expected cyberattacks will increase.
Now that you are at home, you are not going to be able to seclude yourself in a meeting room making clear to everybody that you need some peace and quiet to work on a project. But don’t worry. You probably have technology that you can set up to indicate your team members that you should not be disturbed. If you don’t, be creative, create a schedule that works for everybody and share ‘me time’ with your team.