Many who previously were never able to, never had the opportunity to or never considered it, are getting used to working remotely from their main office, away from their team.
The adjustment to working remote is not a simple switch that gets flipped et voila it all works perfectly. Like working in an office, working remotely is a change in culture as now all the behaviours you would use when working side-by-side with someone are now going to be replaced with a new set of behaviours multiplied across your entire team.
Not only is one of you working remote, you are all working remote.
With any team culture, there is no rule book to follow or plan to implement to get you through it all in one fell swoop. It takes time to establish and just as you did with your on-site culture, it takes patience as everyone finds their footing in what they are doing and how they are going to do it.
Assuming you have the team setup and running, here are a few tips/tricks you can do to make sure things are going smoothly;
- Check in with everyone – yes we all have work to do, but that communication is key to ensuring that everyone is still part of the team and still working together.
- Use Video (where possible) – for big meetings, I’d say no to video as the streams and bandwidth would easily add up. But for one-on-one or three to four people meetings, turn on the video so everyone sees you and encourage others to stay the same. It’s good to smile and laugh with someone.
- Ignore the Presence Icons – I can’t take credit for this, but the guys at Basecamp make a great argument for not holding people to what their presence state says. We all go to the bathroom, we all have things that popup, if someone is marked away for a long period of time, trust them and leave it at that. It doesn’t matter what state they are in (and these tools do get it wrong).
And have fun with it, your whole team is most likely wondering how long this is going to last and no one has the answer. But what you can do is make it fun in many small, different ways. Something as simple as changing your status note to something goofy or shaving your beard, won’t get people excited and relaxed.