When the pandemic started in 2020 it had a big impact on everyone’s day to day life. Suddenly most people started working from home, this applied to Wuzzon as well. During the pandemic we discovered that working from home has its benefits for some, which include working more efficiently, and having more free time since there is no need of commuting.That’s why Wuzzon decided to go fully remote, even when the pandemic ended.
However going fully remote with a business is not a small step and there are quite a few things to keep in mind. In this blog we share some tips on how to achieve the goal of building a high performing team all remotely.
In this blog we are going to discuss some of the tools and techniques you can use to work efficiently from home (or abroad). We are also going to discuss how you can set goals and how to make sure everyone is working on the same goals. Last but not least we will talk about maybe the biggest issue when working remotely, that is how to prevent loneliness and how you stay connected while not working physically together
Know your team
When working in a remote business the first thing you need to realize is that there are always different people and therefore personalities in a team. And this is good, if not you would not have great discussions and it would be quite boring to be honest. However, having different types of people in a team means they have different expectations and different values.
When working remotely it is important to know what type of people you have in your team and what their strengths are. It is important to let your people work on what they are good at. A good way to find out what type of people you have on your team is: Strengst finder. This book contains a survey that you can take. As a result of the survey you’ll get insight on what you should put most of your energy in.
“When you put most of your energy into developing your natural talents, growth will come naturally!”Tom Rath, 2007
When you know who is in your team you can focus on how to collaborate with your team members. Did you know that the #1 challenge for remote teams is collaboration. Remote collaboration is hard and it is the biggest challenge along with loneliness in your team. It is harder to have short updates. Conversations take longer since you can’t just tap someone on the shoulder.
Fortunately there are some very useful tools which make collaboration easier and more fun! A few examples are:
We are big fans of Miro. Miro is a free and easy to use tool for brainstorming where you can jump in a meeting and write your idea’s down. There are many different structures to organize those sessions and they have many template’s you can use.
Whimsical is an online tool where you can collaborate in real time. You can create flowcharts and share ideas
Figma is a collaboration design tool. You can see people’s mouse and comment on different aspects.
Those tools are helpful for working together at the same time. But there are more tools that would be are almost necessary when it comes to remote collaboration:
- slack. instant messaging.
- Zoom/teams/google meet.
- Dropbox. file management and asset sharing. The team can access them at any time.
- 1password. It is important to use security and password management. With this tool everyone can get access to the same passwords.
- Notion. Within our team notion is a handbook and our wiki. You can put a number of different documents. strategie, goals, and anything you want to learn from in Notion
- Asana. Asana is the tool we use for project management.
Meetings! How many and how?
An easy pitfall to have when starting to work remotely with your team is to have many meetings about many different topics… However, is this the best way? Think about it like this:
“When you have a meeting between five people for an hour, this costs you not just one but five hours.”Kevan Lee
I would like to discuss a good option to prevent you from a day full of meetings which is asynchronous communication. This means that the communication does not take place at the same time. This can be something as taking notes and using slack. It is simply said the opposite of synchronous communication, this is communication between two or more people at the same time, like a zoom meeting.
To work more asynchronous you can:
- Have fewer meetings. How many meetings could be replaced by a document?
- When you do have a meeting make sure to record or write down notes for the people not joining the meeting.
- Document everything!
share learnings. When you are learning things, share them with colleagues.
When you realize the above it is time to think about the meetings you do want to have. Meetings are of course important and valuable for those reasons:
- Updates from your team;
- Start the day efficient;
- Emotions: you want to feel positive, motivated and energized;
- Social contact;
- New ideas!
But how do you make sure you have a meeting that is efficient and that everyone likes?
- Come prepared;
- Schedule in advance, add information to the notes of the meeting;
- Be mindful of the time. Don’t just plan in an hour while it could also be done in 15 minutes;
- Limit the number of active participants;
- Be clear about the goal of the meeting.
For the team members it is important to keep seeing the bigger picture and goals you want to achieve with the company besides their daily tasks.
We at Wuzzon organize a get together once a month and once per quarter. This is of course for fun but also to set some goals and to discuss the future of the company.
When you set goals it is important to keep a few things in mind:
- Is the goal transparent and easily accessible?
- Do goals have clear outcomes and deadlines? (Is the goal SMART?)
- Is there accountability?
“Did you know that on average people need to hear a message seven times before they’ll consider taking action?”
Since people need to hear a message more often to take action it is important to keep communicating your goals! At Wuzzon we do have an update about our goals every Monday which helps to keep everyone on track. We also use a tool like Asana to measure the progress on those goals.
A happy team is a productive team!
We have given you some tips on how to organize your meetings, given you some tools to work effectively and shared some tips on how you can set up goals. However a team is the best at functioning when the people are happy. However what we’ve discovered during the pandemic is that remote work could also cause social isolation and therefore the mental state of your teammates.
“The number #1 problem workers experience during working remotely are burnouts and loneliness”.Kevan Lee
While some people love the flexibility of working from home, others struggle. Some people are working longer hours since you don’t experience the social talks between meetings and the chitchat’s at the coffee machine. Especially extraverts can struggle with this and it is hard to check on all the colleagues and their mental health. Therefore it is important to talk about it. One of the things about loneliness is acknowledging it.
Some tips to take care of your mental health:
- Make space for time away from work during the day (this can be as simple as taking a walk, lunch elsewhere or turning off notifications. When you find it hard you can also plan in it your calendar)
- Build bonds between your teammates and have chitchats during the day;
- Talk with your teammates about your own struggles about loneliness;
- Organize peer talks just for fun!
Co working places
Another solution to prevent loneliness is working at co working places. We’ve experienced that some people prefer working with colleagues or they just want to be away from their home. We give our teammates the opportunity to work at those places a few days in the week. Everyone is different and it is nice to give your colleagues an opportunity to work physically with others. At co working places you do also see some new faces since all different kinds of people are working there. This can also increase your creativity since you are at a different place. And there might be less distractions since there are no children, partner, roommate or a basket full of laundry that is staring at you!
Those are a few of the tips and tricks we have learned during the last year. Remember not all the tools and all the tips work for everyone. But it might help you start!