Remote work is getting mainstream amid the coronavirus pandemic. If you haven’t been working remotely until now here are some tips that I try to apply, hopefully it will help you adapt easier.
I will try to keep this simple and not go into hardcore practices from famous remote teams. Their practices are very good, if you have the time to adopt and build inside your team’s culture, but might create tension in cases where a non-remote team is all of the sudden forced to work remote.
Asynchronous work is the default for remote and is a very good one. It allows you and your colleagues to stay focused on your tasks without losing precious time multi-tasking. Embrace it.
Write a clear and complete message before you send it over to your colleague(s), do not break it into pieces. No matter if you are using chat or email.
A clear and complete message will make you think over the problem seriously instead of jumping to rushed conclusions. It will also set the tone for others in the conversion to give back a similar reply.
If you break your message in 3 or more different separate ones a colleague can answer without analyzing too much the problem, before you finished presenting your case.
This way you start veering off course and the productivity of the entire conversation goes down.
Find a quiet room inside the house, if you have kids this will be tough.
You’re no longer in the same office with your colleagues, do not expect an immediate reply from them. If its urgent give them a call.
Take a break at least every 2h, you would be surprised how easily you can get drawn into work when there is nobody else in “the office“. This can drain your battery pretty fast.
Set reminders in your phone, take a break for cofee, reading, etc…
If you need to talk to other colleagues create a calendar event and invite them. There you can also include a conferece call link.
Be mindful with their time, if you are free now it does not mean they are too. A calendar invite allows everybody to prepare for the call and also make other plans for the rest of their day.
Use the “Suggestions” and “Comments” features when analyzing documents shared by your colleagues.
This will keep all the relevant feedback in the same document. Anybody can see them no matter when they will read the document.
If you use chat to discuss over a document, somebody not working that day can easily miss all your comments.
Email is king. If you want to make sure everyone gets your message email it. You can repeat it over chat, but again, if someone if missing for a few days, (s)he probably will not see it.
Get used to writing, you’ll be doing this a lot. DON’T avoid it by trying to make a quick-call for every minor subject.
If you’re a night owl it’s ok. If you prefer working on the weekend, that is ok too.
Just make sure your colleagues don’t feel the pressure (especially if you are their manager) to answer ASAP. Schedule your messages.
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