As it has been 18 months since COVID disrupted our working lives, we’ve now had time to reflect on what type of remote work principles REALLY impacts a healthy organization and culture, strong communication, good work/life balance.
Below is a list of principles that were influenced by countless resources, including Harvard Business Review articles such as this and this, and other Remote Playbook’s such as GitLab’s Remote Playbook.
We would like to share 6 Key Remote Work Principles that we are implementing within our own team which has led to over 350% revenue growth within just the past 12 months.
Principle 1: Make time for one another: Those small moments of small talk at the beginning of meetings, the running jokes in the watercooler, and company events bind us together. You’re effectively investing in relationships, and they’re worth investing in.
- Have a 15 minute random breaktime weekly or bi-weekly.
- Have a virtual lunch weekly or biweekly
- Encourage some small talk in the beginning of group meetings
Principle 2: Plan your day: Stacks of books and articles espouse two practices: 1) prioritize your work each morning to ensure you’re focused on the important items first 2) plan your day to ensure you have time to focus, and limit distractions. I’ve worked with developers who have gone to work at Microsoft, Google, and NASA. They all did this well.
- Create a high-priority to-do list for 5 minutes at the beginning of each day
- If you are in Scrum / Agile, share your High-Priority items with your team
- Have a workspace where you can feel comfortable and limit distractions
Principle 3: Seeing is believing: For all the benefits of not having to drive to work, have clothes dry cleaned, or own anything but a black t-shirt (talking about myself here), it has been difficult to get people to turn on cameras. So much of what I read indicates that this one act has a significant impact on the ongoing engagement and morale of remote workers. Starting October 1st camera’s need to be on all the time, short of an extenuating circumstance.
- Make a company policy for turning on cameras
- If the wifi doesn’t allow for it, work with the employees to make sure that they buy and maintain the highest quality internet available to them
Principle 4: Keep your work visual and transparent when possible: Let’s be visual and transparent about the work we’re doing. It helps your peers and managers stay aware of progress that would have been more readily available in the office. If you’re already using Jira, Zendesk, Trello, etc., then that is great. It’s not about what particular tool you are using, it is about finding a tool, and implementing it well and thoroughly throughout the team so that it becomes second-nature.
- Find the right tools / communications, and document / upkeep your to do list, high-priority list, items covered, ETA’s, etc.
Principle 5: Use Team’s channels within your Teams: You’ve lost the opportunity to turn around and have a conversation with three or four team members at a moments notice. Yet we have channels underneath the FAME team available for just that. A few other BU’s use them effectively. Arguing about whether Star Trek or Star Wars is better, asking for help on a difficult implementation issue, or even making others aware of an angry client. Having the chat there available as your team members free up is an effective medium of communication.
- Create Teams channels for each of your teams
- Create channels for key feedback - #systembugs, #clientfeedback, etc.
- Define what is #sync and #async communications, and make sure that you adhere to them
- Create understanding (especially among developers) to check and respond to Teams in the morning, late morning, afternoon, and before COB
Principle 6: Document the culture.
If you do not have a living, evolving company handbook, start one now. Consider each aspect of your company culture that is unwritten or implied, and document them. In a fully remote setting, there are no daily in-person interactions where cues are absorbed. It’s vital to over-communicate in detailing values that company culture is built upon.
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