With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases globally, the need for remote working has become more pressing than ever. And since Mikaels Labs has collectively over 100 years of experience in remote working and remote collaboration, we’ve decided to write a practical blog post about some of the best work methods, communication strategies, and tools to use when working remotely.
Here are some ways in which you can make remote working a smooth process:
Use the Best Video Call Tools
“Can you hear me?”
“I can’t hear you!”
Communication is one of the biggest challenges in remote work, and low-quality video conference tools don’t make it any easier. The solution to this is simple. Opt for tools that boost high-quality and hassle-free online meeting experience such as, Google Hangouts (best-free tool) or Zoom (best-paid tool).
Setup Meeting Rhythms
When working remotely, it’s important to touch base with the team on a regular basis. The format and goal of the meeting should be clearly defined to all participants in advance to avoid wasting time. A common format to follow for update meetings, for example, is the 3Ps format (Progress, Problems, and Priorities). Although this can also be done through written communication, doing this over video call creates a sense of connectivity and boosts team spirit.
Communication is the Key
In remote working, communication plays a vital role in progressing at an optimum pace as a team. Every member of the team needs to understand the channels of communication and when to use them. If something is urgent and important, there is no point in sending an email and waiting for the response. Instead, it’s wiser to pick up the phone and give the relevant person a call right away. If an important matter needs input from more than one person, using a group chat is the way to go. These possible scenarios need to be discussed in the initial phases with all the team members to avoid unnecessary delays and miscommunication.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
The importance of documented plans in remote working cannot be emphasized enough. The team needs to have a clearly drawn roadmap of the work they are collaborating on, with fine details either figured out in the initial phases or collaboratively documented as the work progresses. Failure to document discussions, plans, requirements, and decisions made during work, can cause drastic consequences for the deliverables and for team morale.
Tools to Collaborate
Google docs, invision, GitHub, Trello. Whatever tools you choose, make sure they have real-time collaboration features and notifications. It’s fairly common to miss out on updates when you’re not sitting in the same room as your team members. It’s also recommended to go through a test-run for making sure notifications and real-time updates are configured properly for everyone. That “Do not disturb” feature turned on by default can be quite disturbing at crucial times.
Protocols for Unavailability
As you don’t have visual confirmation of everyone in your team, it’s very important to be informed about the unavailability of your team members. If someone is going for a longer break or is feeling under the weather, you should have protocols in place so that all relevant people get this information beforehand. Usually, a group channel dedicated for this purpose can be enough to keep everyone in the loop about the unavailability of the team members.