You don’t want people and work to suffer in a remote setup. It is crucial for a distributed team to set communication channels and patterns for sharing information. Similarly, it’s very important to satisfy the very human need of belonging to a community. How should you as a teammate help achieve this?
In the home office practice, you need to work out various compromises with your own family members, your manager and your teammates. Scheduled online meetings are more frequent than the physical in the office, the communication seems to be more frequent, but in reality, its content is often limited to task distribution and monitoring.
The teammates, however, have much less one-on-one interaction than in the office, where we can just ask questions almost any time. Due to the decentralized information, teammates might even do the same task without recognizing it.
Share The Routines With Your Teammates
Once you have designed your daily routines (check the article 7 rules for home office success), share them with your teammates and ask about theirs. The team should know when its members are available for questions or small discussions. It is also worth to define the communication channel, where you are most likely available in case of urgency (eg. phone, SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp). Agree on this keeping in mind the recommendations for personal home office effectiveness as well.
Seek And Provide Information
Information for home office workers is frequently decentralized; on daily and weekly meetings the manager probably distributes the tasks or the team members get what they will work on; then there might be one on one meetings with the manager of the team, but rarely between teammates. Just like in the normal office set-up, have a chat: seek and ask questions, know what your teammates are working on! One way to improve information sharing is if YOU INITIATE – call your teammates one by one, tell them what you think they should know and ask them. Introduce the call with “It’s more difficult for me to keep aligned now. I would like to try this to help us be more efficient together. What do you think?” That way, you might open up even a bit reluctant teammate.
Focus On The Clarity
When we are far apart, communication channels narrow, we communicate more in writing. Therefore, at the same time, the risk of misunderstanding increases, even with the best of intentions in mind. Instead of several rounds of emails, do not hesitate to call your teammates and discuss the issue on the phone or video chat and avoid the escalation of the problem.
A good rule of thumb is: if the issue has generated two emails already, make the third one a call. Try it!
Have A Virtual Coffee
In the office, do you have coffee with your colleagues and just chat about football, the latest fashion or weekend plans? We think you do. It’s helpful to keep these socialising events. Do them online! Make them a standard part of the daily routines! Keeping social also out of work makes sense for longer home office stretch, it’s one of our 7 Rules for Home Office Success, you can read more here.
Reach Out For The Introverts and Extroverts alike
There might be members of the team who are more reluctant to initiate conversations: give them a call, ask how they are progressing and support them in their work, make them feel they belong!
On the other hand, the more extroverted team members staying long at home might need a bit more attention to be able to talk and socialise. Don’t forget them, give them ample space to engage.
Do you have that routine that you stop for a drink or two in the bar close to the office on Friday evening? Well, go on with it, organize an online outing! It is important that we let the steam off, that we ventilate, that we feel that we belong together even if cannot meet in person. In DEVELOR we’ve already experienced remote movie watching, wine tasting, cooking, even team breakfast. It’s worth it!
TAKE EFFORT AND BECOME STRONG REMOTE TEAM
Although we all do it, it is not self-explanatory. Many people experience great difficulties in actually following the myriad of rules about working from home. The devil is hidden in the implementation – carefully selecting, committing and taking steps to better home office working. We will be glad to accompany you or your people on this journey using our Efficiency at Home training programme, which is customised for remote delivery.