How do I work remotely?

Why does remote work is important for future

Covid-19 crisis put everyone in the world to move slow. This is realy important milestone in everyone’s journey to step back and realize what we did to the world. The ecosystem is changing, humans are inside the house and animals and birds are adapting to their environment. Amidst this crisis when all routines are changing and people are struggling to accommodate the changes in their work routine, it is important to keep empathy as the source of our actions and interactions.

There are people who have never worked in remote setup and then thre are those who are quite comfortable with remote setup (like me). In my experience, there are some tips we all can follow and add into our routing to provide more comfor to our teams as well as make sure we are adhering to proejct timelines and quality deliverables.

  1. Keep positivity in the team! It as the first point because of this panic situation, it is important to keep a positive outlook and look at the bright side of the future. Seeing all the news, it becomes easy to get sucked in chaos and tension. Remind your team of the strengths and good things going on within the project/company.

  2. Video-first culture! Almost all countries are on lockdown and lucky are people who can still work from home. But instead not meeting your peers and friends daily can make it difficult for teams to focus. Keep the human touch and start enabling video calls. It might take some time for everyone to settle and get comfortable in making video calls at home, but make sure the goal is this.

There are 2 benefits to this:

  • Teams focus better over video calls and attention span is better than audio.
  • Non-verbal gestures and sentiments can help you understand the team’s health and support them better.
  1. Be considerate of the physical surroundings! Most of the people are not alone when working from home in the current situation as lockdown has forced everyone to stay in the house. In this case, you don’t know if your team member is sharing their room with their children or spouse and whether they have the luxury to keep it independent completely. Do not highlight the disturbances and be considerate that the disturbances might be due to physical constraints. Having said that, do talk to your peer if it hinders the performance or the call but be empathetic to understand the situation.

  2. Be patient and let the team take time to adjust! Not everyone is used to working remotely and we all know the changing environment takes a toll on concentration and interest. Let your team take time to adjust to the changes, set up their home office environment and involve fully with the project. This is expected. By supporting them during this crisis, you will have a lifetime of trust and it goes a long way in working together.

  3. Be extra specific in daily tasks! As I mentioned earlier, not everyone will have the luxury to isolate their work from the home environment or responsibilities so expect there will be multi-tasking. People cannot avoid it fully right now. Be extra specific in your daily job priorities and tasks that are supposed to be done for a particular day. Establish the culture of being clear on what we are going to achieve “today” even if it is a little less. As a manager, your job is to support your teams in working with high potential and keeping it healthy at the same time.

  4. End of the day check-in! This is a suggestion that might work for some teams and might not for others. Many teams do not include an “End of the day check-in” when working together because there are tools that can enable it as well as colocating makes it easier to work together. But for initial days of remote working, I would suggest setting up check-in at the end of the day and keep it short. Every hour when the news is changing (some new cases reported, talks about recession, etc), it is hard for many to concentrate and keep their focus. End of the day check-in will enable your team to stay on the path and also for you to keep optimizing the goals better. But again remember at the same time it is equally important to make sure your team is aligned with you on this. Some teams wouldn’t need that and it could be a hindrance.

  5. 1–1 with your team members to provide any additional support! Be aware that not everyone is going to be vocal about their problems and struggles. Try making time for each member to catch up one-on-one and let them know that you are here to help in any way you can. Assuming all team members are handling the situation in one way would be a mistake. Be wary of their time too, if not a quick call, a quick message to check-in with them or let them know they can reach out to you anytime.

  6. Mistakes will happen, expect that! This is an important reminder. Amidst all the panic situation, do not expect your team members are going to be at their best performance. Of course, your goal is the same and your job is to enable them to be at their best but expect that mistakes will happen. Be ready to foresee and help the team to recover these mistakes quickly. The same goes for you, expect you are going to make mistakes, especially if you are new to remote working with your team. Keep your focus on improvements and you should sail through.

  7. Stakeholder engagement needs extra attention! Apart from team engagement, the other side of the commitment is with stakeholders. Stakeholder communication would need extra push right now, so think about and setup processes that keep your stakeholders informed. Maybe you need to double on the status update meetings or increase the frequency of the reports. Talk to your stakeholders on how best you and they can work on communication during this time. Again, keep in mind they may have similar concerns about business, timelines, and teams that need assurance/clarity from you as a project manager.

  8. Revise the tools/ add additional tools for remote working! This is a common one that might be on everyone’s agenda already. Look through different tools in the market which can help you boost the performance in a remote working setup. You can experiment with some tools to know what works best for you and your team. Again, be considerate of time and cost here.

  9. Keep meetings productive and short! One of the important gems that I can recall is making sure your meetings are productive. Having many meetings can kill everyone’s time. So try to keep them short and on the agenda. There are many tips on this if you google and read about it. Read through. This comes from my experience, but I would be happy to know what are other best practices that you or your teams are accomodating with remote working in this situation. Remember, this is a time of learning and testing our own limits. Let’s all work together and learn from each other.

Happy Working!

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