Embracing the best-practices and setting the right example for remote meeting
culture will ensure that all meetings are productive.
READ THE FULL LEADERSHIP GUIDELINES FOR WORKING REMOTELY PUBLICATION
Working from home (WFH) comes with its own challenges, and is another skill that we all should endeavour to learn and master. This chapter shares some experience and insights into how we keep our teams talking and engaging as efficiently as possible in a remote world.
How to run productive remote meetings and eliminate the time overhead
Embracing the best-practices and setting the right example for remote meeting culture will ensure that all meetings are productive.
Make sure you are WFH-ready
In order to work from home, you first need to be prepared for work from home. Ensure you have the following prepped at your remote workstation:
• Decent battery life and backup power
• VPN access to your email, servers, tools and systems
• A stable internet connection (and mobile backup for emergencies)
• A functional audio-visual setup
• A comfortable workspace which is quiet enough for remote calls
Establish a remote operating procedure
We recommend that every team takes the time to define their remote operating procedure, which outlines the following:
• When teams meet and what they meet for
• Notifications and availability standards
• How to get help and from who
• How to hold each other accountable
• Who takes ownership of traditional team rituals and tasks
Choose the right communication medium
The hallway-conversations we're used to can't become diarised meetings. We've learned to prevent calendars being filled with excessive meetings by selecting the most appropriate communication tool for the purpose.
Remote meeting etiquette
We recognise team meetings are beneficial to keep everyone aligned but it’s easy to stray off topic. To help you keep your meetings productive and professional, here are some guidelines for virtual meeting etiquette:
How to prevent encroachment of your team's workday into personal time
WFH can blur the lines between work and home life, and so we need to establish a responsible daily routine to help the people in our teams continue to be productive in a sustainable way:
• Set working hours
o Decide on a clear start and end to your workday (and try to align this with the rest of your team)
o Down time is important. Take time off, even if you're not going away
• Take breaks
o Plan how many breaks you need and when you will take them
o Align breaks for sections of the team and schedule no meetings for then, e.g. have lunch between 12pm and 1pm
• Manage a to-do list
o Start each day by planning your feasible must-do tasks and get them done
o If you foresee that you won't meet a deadline, keep your team informed
• Set boundaries
o Put boundaries in place regarding when and how you deal with personal matters during the workday
o Set practical rules for team comms after hours and over weekends
Why you need to focus on supporting non-technical roles
The developers, technologists and tinkerers in our teams are usually content with working in isolation. On the other hand, the analysts, scrum masters, product owners, subject matter specialists and others in our teams who may be in less technical roles have a disproportionately harder time being as effective as they're used to.
Those who are comfortable in the remote work style should make the effort to proactively support and engage with the rest of the team who are in unfamiliar territory.
This means as IT teams, we need to be extra available and responsive. We need to be sharing frequent status updates, using the status indicator in our tools diligently, and responding quickly to queries with positive language.