Schedule a daily (or at least a weekly ) digital standup s. Preferably early in the week, where everyone indicates what his projects are. And tell each other what the possible blockages are. This is one of the Scrum principles . Have one of the team members facilitate, preferably not always the same, but rotate weekly or monthly. Keep it short (5–15 min) by using an alarm clock.
Immerse yourself as much as possible in the digital tools that facilitate remote work . Slack is where we meet as team members: an online platform for collaboration. You can follow recent messages from your teammates on Slack’s digital notice board, so there is never an excuse for not being aware. Advantage: you don’t have to catch up on each other less often, with or without emails.
And where necessary you can chat confidentially (see point 6). So Slack as a reference point for all communication, including easy uploads of all documents. I consider it a tempting cross between Whatsapp and Google docs (which is integrated with Slack, by the way).
TEAMSESSIES (COLLABORATIVE WORK)
So we are not talking about a simple video conference here. But about brainstorms, UX design sprints, innovation sessions, all parts of collaborative work where we ideally work face to face , but sometimes have to work remotely. Mural.co or Trello.com are examples of tools to visualize remote teamwork digitally. Hanno team members chose to focus on digital teamwork and are located in at least five different countries. One thing is certain, although it may not work perfectly (especially to the taste of especially older employees, which I also belong to), online collaborative work is something we cannot ignore .
This remains a challenge. Ultrasounds, poor connection, people who drop out, an incomplete image – you undoubtedly know it. It’s actually amazing that this still can’t be done flawlessly. In general, Skype for Business works well, but is expensive and is therefore not the solution for smaller companies, such as startups and self-employed people. Then there are the free apps like Google Hangouts , Skype, Facetime ( Facebook now has Workplace for collaborative work ). Here’s the motto: just use and practice a lot. The more you become familiar with it, the faster you can switch from e.g. Skype to Google Hangouts if something does not work properly.
An important means of ensuring that a team functions properly is regular feedback . The continuous checks and balances so that you can pull the brake in time if you don’t like something (Hockey coach Marc Lammers does not do feedback and talks about feed forward ). Not everyone is waiting for regular feedback. Emotionally charged (sometimes) and tricky , but the more regularly you do it, the easier it gets; also in my team. We routinely dragged ourselves (with red spots on the neck) through the many feedback moments, until it became second nature. And feedback is useful, just like in a real marriage, but of course we do it too little. For example, an online feedback tool is Matter .
Remote working team members will operate more often on their own, like me from Amsterdam. And I also felt isolated from the rest faster. And when there is already consultation, eg in video conferencing, I noticed that fewer social words are exchanged (as happens in real life when getting the coffee, etc.).
Therefore, arrange regular one-to-one sessions between team members – during these conversations , the intention is to have a brief talk about home, health and personal life. At Zapier they call it Pair Buddies .
At video conferences everyone tends to look at the screen . In any case, try to look into your camera every now and then to make visual contact. Eye contact makes a positive impact, you get more attention and your message is received better . Sit upright. Provide a calm background and enough light on your face. It is sometimes suggested to work with large hand gestures in large groups, but I am not really convinced of that.