Recently, I’ve been out of the office a fair amount. And while I miss the office, sometimes there’s just nothing to do about it (see: being sick).
This week, I’ve been working remotely in New York. At the time of writing, I’ve already had a conversation with a client in Germany and been in touch with two individuals from the team. So far, I’m not doing too badly for working out of my grandparents’ dining room.
So how do we make sure we’re working together as effectively as possible?
- Daily Scrums: Each day, we decide who is pairing off and how. Usually two heads are better than one, and if a component of a project is very large, we’re able to get it done twice as fast. Sometimes all of us work on various components of the same project, and this is great for making sure that everything is getting covered at once. Other days, we need to divide and conquer on two or three clients in one go.
- Daily sprints: Once we determine how the work is being divided for the day, we sprint in teams or alone. If I’m working with someone we’ll open up a Google doc and start writing our doc from there or chat about it on the phone or call each other via Skype on an as-needed basis.
- End of day phone calls: What got done at the end of the day? What are tomorrow’s priorities? These are all really crucial questions that get answered before we go home for the day. It helps us understand where we stand on various projects, and what’s taking longer or didn’t take long at all.
- Skype and Google Hangouts: we have a group chat in Skype that serves as our primary means of general communication. Got a team question? Need someone to proof your blog post? The gang’s all there.
- Email: it’s hard to get the right tone through email. How do you explain your needs kindly yet firmly to the person you’re trying to delegate to? It’s definitely a balancing act, but it can be done!
- Redbooth: We recently switched to this project management tool after Do.com shut down. We can assign tasks, sub-tasks and create conversations and notes relevant to the projects at hand with due dates and add the appropriate resources within the comments of the tasks. We even track our time in there which shows us how efficient we’re being.
It can be tough to get things done when everyone is scattered. But sometimes the space gives us new perspectives that we can bring back to the office and the collective table. I’ve worked in remote teams where we report via email each day what was done and what we have to do next, but I prefer our way, it’s much more connected and saves so much more time when we work together regardless of our distance!