Remote work can be a challenge for collaborative teams. These strategies will help everyone stay connected and on the same page.
Vibrant, collaborative office spaces are ideal for modern workers. But with the onset and persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, countless companies have been forced to shutter their physical headquarters — either temporarily or permanently — in favor of remote setups.
Pantheon is no exception. Over the past few months, our teams have adjusted to this new normal while working to maintain our connectivity, productivity, and commitment to quality.
As someone who leads an agile team, I’ve found this transition to be particularly challenging. My team relies on its ability to communicate frequently and collaborate closely — doing so in a virtual environment has required us to change some patterns.
Before the pandemic, it was easy to touch base regularly at the office. We could hold impromptu meetings at our desks and speak with our colleagues for a quick sync without scheduling them ahead of time. Plus, we would frequently run into each other in the hallway, hang out in the break room, or enjoy lunch together. These daily interactions didn’t just provide formal and informal conversation venues — they were essential parts of building team and inter-departmental camaraderie.
Now that we’re entirely remote, we’ve had to change our approach. We do all of our communication via technology, and we have thankfully hit our stride after a brief adjustment period. As your agile team makes a similar transition, keep these four tips in mind:
Don’t disrupt the org chart. Try to keep your teams and workgroups intact as you transition to a remote environment. Shifting from a traditional office to a home office is disruptive enough; employees don’t need the added stress of an organizational restructure.
The rapport your team members have with one another will help carry them through the change. The more experience they have working together, the stronger they will function as a unit — and the better they will communicate while adjusting to their new circumstances.
Touch base regularly. Conduct regular check-ins with teams and individual employees to ensure everyone is engaged and aligned. My team uses a combination of virtual meetings and Slack to keep our communication strong. For example, one working group on our team conducts a daily stand-up meeting where members provide updates on what they did yesterday, their priorities for today, and any blockers they may be facing.
Outside of meetings, we primarily use Slack to communicate. We’ve managed to keep things focused and organized by creating channels dedicated to specific projects and topics.
Schedule mindfully. You might feel tempted to bring the whole team into every virtual meeting to compensate for your lack of in-person communication. However, this wouldn’t be the best use of your team’s time, and you might inadvertently — and unnecessarily — distract people from their work.
Instead, be intentional about who you invite to virtual meetings and when you schedule them. Creating a clear agenda before every meeting helps me ensure I’m inviting people who actually need to be there and who will contribute to the conversation.
Create paper trails. As teams become more spread out with remote workforces, it can be a challenge to find a time when everyone is available to connect. Fortunately, one of the advantages of remote work is that you can create a digital paper trail of your meetings and conversations. This makes it easy for team members to get caught up if they miss a meeting.
At Pantheon, we often record our virtual meetings, distribute detailed notes afterward, and then follow up with employees on Slack or Asana with any next steps.
Agile teams depend on communication and collaboration. Though the give-and-take of in-person interactions provides a lot of value, technology and thoughtful workflows can help teams bridge the gap while they work remotely.
Are you looking for more in-depth insights on how to adopt an agile mindset? Click through to read our e-book “The Ultimate Guide to Agile in Digital Marketing” to learn more.
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