Many of our remote professionals have partial timezone overlap with their teams.
Some companies see this as a negative, whereas in reality this can be a positive.
Some of us have gotten used to spending 4+ hours per day on Zoom. It makes us feel productive to see our teammates on the other screen, and it becomes our default.
However, is this default productive or healthy?
Teams can actually be more productive when limiting meeting time, and working asynchronously. Here are some tips.
Asynchronous Work - Create definitions and examples:
Define what is asynchronous work for your team. This will include non-urgent suggestions, questions on non-critical tasks, requests for input in which you can wait up to 24 hours for a response. Create a list of sample communications for this and share with your team.
Asynchronization: Balancing Proactive & Coherent Communication
Encourage your team to be proactive in their communications so that items are brought up before they become urgent.
However, also encourage your team to think through their communication and make it clear. When they have multiple items that they are explaining over the course of a few hours, they can group these together and format them so that it is more easily readable for the rest of the team.
Synchronous Work Channel
Create an “Synchronous” channel in your workspace (Slack, MS Teams, etc). If something is urgent (major bug), put it in this channel and @ the person responsible. If it isn’t urgent, then put in other channel @‘ing the person, and they can check during their worktime. Make sure to limit the synchronous channel and to call out when items are added that aren’t urgent.
Buffers between Virtual meetings:
Add 5 minute buffers between virtual meetings (e.g. all meetings start at 5 minutes past the half hour, and meetings can’t go beyond the half hour limit) This will help people take a quick break for coffee, bathroom break, to take notes and send quick follow up email/note after call, etc.
Daily Goals channel:
Before the day, create a quick list of what you aim to accomplish and post to the group. Ask everyone to read the others to-dos, and to make any needed comments on these. This can save time aimlessly wandering before work, or inefficiently talking about to-dos during the day’s initial calls.
Assign 1-2 days in the week for meetings
Video call meetings can be important to align and prioritize tasks, brainstorm large goals, strategies and product roadmaps, etc.
Assign 1-2 days per week that you conduct these alignments in-depth.
Before these meetings, do some prep work to make sure that everyone is prepared and ready to use the time efficiently. After the meetings, use the buffer time, or the end of the day, to send follow-ups, to align on top priority items for the coming days, expected goals, etc.
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